January 29, 2024

A bag of flour can fill your bellies

People are always asking me what are my priority ingredients when building a prepper pantry. If I could only have 5 ingredients to feed myself, for me, one of them would be a bag of flour. It would enable me to make dishes with whatever I could find, grow or forage.  I always think how hard it must be to feed people if they are gluten free. During the times when I struggled to feed my single parent family, flour helped me to fill our bellies without the children realising how little food we had.

There are so many things that I have made over the years when times were hard with just a few extra ingredients from the garden, or odd things in the cupboard and a bag of flour.  Here are some examples.  All these taste better if you can add a pinch of salt to them as well.

  1. Flatbreads -flour and water, or yoghurt and water.  We have used these when we could not afford bread.  They are lovely warm with jam on, or to have with a vegetable curry and to pad out other meals if you have no other carbs
  2. Dumplings- flour and water with herbs mixed in (fried or steamed).  I would often put these on top of a slow cooked meal made from ingredients from the garden.
  3. Filled dumplings- as above but filled with curry or other left overs.  These are nice air fried and served with ratatouille or some kind of sauce
  4. Pancakes- flour, eggs and milk. These can be filled for savoury or sweet dishes.  Left over bolognaise is great inside them, or spicy vegetables.
  5. Batter -flour and sparkling water. I would make a kind of chicken nugget with batter and have even battered potato cakes.
  6. Pasta- flour and water for a basic pasta, but you can add egg yolks.
  7. Gnocchi- flour, potato and egg yolk
  8. Vegetable fritters – grated vegetables, flour and water
  9. Vegetable pancakes – grated vegetables, flour, egg
  10. Pakora- grated veg and sliced onion, flour, spices and water
  11. Pizza base -yoghurt and flour or flour and water.
  12. Chinese pancakes- flour, yoghurt, water, spring onions, salt, and cook in sesame oil
  13. Pastry – add fat or oil and water. Can be used for tarts, quiches, pies or pasties
  14. Samosas – flour, ghee and water and just add vegetables and spices for filling.
  15. Naan – flour, yoghurt, oil and baking powder, warm water
  16. White sauces – add a small amount of butter and add milk.  You can then add vegetables to the sauce to make a pie or make a cheese sauce for mac and cheese etc.
  17. Sourdough -flour and water
  18. (flour and water also makes a great glue for children’s sticking activities).

Some weeks we only had flour, salt, a few eggs, tomato puree, sugar, milk, lard, cheese, cooking oil, herbs, vegetables and fruit in the garden, but we were able to survive a week or so until pay day, as long as we had a bag of flour.  Our meals were varied, tasty and creative.  What creative things do you make with a bag of flour?

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  1. Ali January 29, 2024 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    I was gluten free (and dairy free) for many years on a tight budget. I could tolerate oats so would buy a 1.5kg bag of porridge oats. I’d blitz them in my Nutribullet to make a fine powder (you can sieve it to make it finer) and used that instead of flour in many of the ideas you suggest. Oat flour behaves more like wholewheat flour but with practice I could make decent pancakes, wraps, pizza bases etc. Like most frugal things you have to get creative but that’s part of the fun for me! :-)

    • ToniG January 29, 2024 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      True. I have used dock seeds to make flour and dehydrated courgettes, which I guess will be gluten free. I want to try making it from acorns this year, as our ancestors did. Oats have always been more expensive than flour but are just as useful as they can be made into a substitute for milk. You are right making being frugal a challenge and fun, and being creative stops it feeling like you are poor when times are hard. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Katie Naden January 30, 2024 at 6:56 am - Reply

    Wow Toni that’s an amazing list of recipes & ideas .I’ve a stash of flours stored in our freezer I want to make bread but haven’t prioritised it for a while as we seem to get lots of bread via food club so when this source dries up will give it a go . X

    • Karen January 30, 2024 at 7:07 am - Reply

      Very true this is how I was brought up mum not running to the shop as there was no spare money we had what was in cupboards,she ended up a good with her own recipes,never out of cookbook,I’m going back to this way going to make some dumplings to start to go with my veggie casserole thanks for post.we need this in today’s world x

      • ToniG January 31, 2024 at 1:58 pm - Reply

        No worries. Yes I think that we have all got to used to just be able to buy all the food we need, but with prices increasing, and what is happening around the world, I think that it is a good idea to practice making meals with just what we have in order to reduce our food bills. Thanks for the feedback

    • ToniG January 31, 2024 at 1:59 pm - Reply

      Great idea. Home made bread is better for you as it has no UPF as well, and you can add whatever you want to it to make it special and different. Thanks for the feedback x

  3. Tracey January 30, 2024 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Love this post and all these ideas. Your posts are always so informative- thank you 🙏 x

    • ToniG January 31, 2024 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      That is really kind of you to say, thank you

  4. Nelliegrace February 1, 2024 at 2:24 am - Reply

    We were brought up on wartime recipes where pastry, and sauces, and thickened gravy were used to eke out the small ration of meat and cheese. There was not much bacon or egg in the bacon and egg pie, or much cheese in the cheese sauce on toast. I remember Spam fritters for school dinner. We had various sponge puddings with custard, or milk puddings to fill us up.
    Dumplings padded out a stew, and pancake batter turned a few thin sausages into toad in the hole. Cornish pasties were mainly potato and onion. We thought pancakes were a special treat, but were one of the most frugal meals, just flour, powdered milk, an egg and water, cooked in lard. We had them with a sprinkle of sugar and some homemade orange squash.
    We ate a lot of bread, bread and milk for breakfast, fried bread, bread and dripping, toast and jam, bread and butter pudding, but then it was good bread.
    Scones were a staple, plain scones made with lard, or richer scones with a bit of dried fruit. Stale scones could be split and toasted.

    DH makes all of our bread, a small loaf in the breadmaker, using white or wholemeal flour or half and half. It is good bread from basic ingredients, and if it goes a bit stale we know how to use it up with none wasted.
    I make a Bara brith most weeks, an economical cake with the dried fruit soaked in tea, just one egg, and no butter used.

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