Tuesday, 7 April 2020

No flour … pouff …




Indecision, indecision … I’ve changed my mind re posts so often that it’s not becoming me!


I found this in a health food shop - gluten free - 
from Doves Farm, Hungerford, Berkshire
Shortages of flour … I use very little, but ‘tis a store cupboard ‘nice necessity’ – no children, no husband … no need to bake, but managed to get some – it is self-raising, but that’s fine for the moment … I use it for sauces …



This looked a fun book -
I don't own it ... but the
descriptions made me laugh

Lots of cake baking being done, or bread being made – by others … no eggs either at some places – I’m glad I’m in a decent sized town with lots going on when it happens, a chance to walk by the sea … but civilised enough to have most things in the shop – and just about be able to walk right in …




A gaudy Simnel cake c/o Wiki - Doves Farm has
different images; for anyone who likes to bake
they have some interesting Easter recipes ...
Simnel cake, Easter biscuits and Hot Cross Buns
I do love the idea of Simnel cake – traditional at this time of year … it’s now a rich fruit cake, but in medieval ages the high-calorie simnel cake was useful to the domestic servant’s own family’s nutrition when they had their Mothering Sunday off to visit home …




Bread making in the 15th century

Its name dates back to Roman times … Latin simila means “fine flour” … but over time its exact history has been lost … though there is a reference in 1226 AD to “bread made with simnel” … so even back in the days – fine flour was being sought out.




Fate - by Alphonse Mucha (1880-1939)
We can manage … we will get by … we are luckier than most in the world … and we never know when our time is up … or how – we need to take care and share …





All the best for World Health Day …




Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

48 comments:

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
...no flour to be had here, no matter how I try! Am making my existing stock last the best I can, but definitely have to bake something yummy for Easter... YAM xx

Inger said...

I didn't know it was World Health Day. Since I'm so upset today about those who ignore the mandates from our health experts to shelter in place and instead are out and about without a care in the world, it's sort of ironic.

Instead of being upset about it, I will say again that I'm so in awe of those on the front lines, fighting this virus.

Baking is such a peaceful thing to do. I hope you and others around the world will be able to find all that's needed for a lovely home baked loaf of bread. Stay well, my friend.

Elephant's Child said...

Flour and yeast are in short supply here too.
And still we are relatively lucky and my heart goes out to people the world over.
Simmel cake has popped into my consciousness twice in two days. Thank you for a little about its history. I like marzipan - but am not tempted.
Stay well, stay safe.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

We have two bags full of flour and a box of egg replacer - I can bake anything. I've never heard the word simmel before though.

Anabel Marsh said...

Can’t get flour here either. We have a bread maker and usually churn out a loaf every few days. I hope our stocks last until the shortage is over.

Chatty Crone said...

So it is world health day today - I did not know that.
Luckily I had just bought a bag of flour so I haven't looked for it.
I have never heard of a Simnel cake - very unusual - does it taste good?
sandie

Marja said...

I agree We are much luckier than others in the world and yes we never know when our time is up That's not up to us.
How wonderful that you live close to the beach. Must be wonderful to have a little walk.
I never heard of Simnel cake before but understand that it is an Easter cake?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think we have flour.
World Health Day. Ironic, huh?

Liz A. said...

I'm hearing of flour shortages, too. I had bought some a while back, and I rarely use it, so I have some on hand. I'm also good on eggs. Our local market had everything I needed (except toilet paper) when I went last week.

diedre Knight said...

"Mothering Sunday" is such a lovely term.
I hope to make a box cake tomorrow that doesn't resemble dry terrain after an earthquake. Wish me luck?

Joanne said...

okay on flour and eggs, and frankly most goods in my local store. Full selection of meats, fruits, etc. Paper product aisle is still decimated. I've baked some brownies and also a cobbler. We are trying to NOT over eat sweets, but it's comfort food. I need to decide on something for Easter Sunday. Not that we are entertaining...but it's Easter. Must nibble on some chocolate ears or something. Glad you are doing okay in your town and able to get to shops,etc.
I think the World's Health could use a booster shot of something. We must hang tough. Take care!

Jz said...

You know, despite being in the same boat, somehow "no children, no husband … no need to bake" is not a thought I've ever given space to. I'm more like, "no children, no husband … no need to share!"
:-D
Glad you're hanging in there.

Botanist said...

Flour is one of those things that is hard to spot on the shelves some days. Not a complete absence, but there has definitely been a run on it. As for gluten free, we keep a small amount in the larder for Ali, to make pastry occasionally. But I've found it to be fantastic for sauces. I guess it's the lack of gluten, but it's so much easier to get a smooth lump-free sauce than with regular flour.

Hels said...

This Wednesday evening is the start of Passover, an 8 day holiday. We can eat all sorts of yummy food but no bread, no rice and no products from flour. Delicious cakes can be made from eggs, chocolate, eggs, coconut, butter, sugar, fruit and nuts.

I wish you and your readers a healthy and peaceful Passover or Easter :)

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I can't obtain any flour either - which is probably just as well as my weight always increases in line with the amount of baking I do! Anyway we're supposed to still be in Lent, though you wouldn't believe it to see the supermarket queues. It also occurs to me that we'd been told that people had already stockpiled huge amounts in case of shortages because of Brexit. Take care.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Yam – seems like lots of cakes being baked – this lot will last me for a while. If I have something sweet for Easter: looks like I might need to buy it …

@ Inger – yes I wouldn’t have known – but the Queen issued a message for it – for the health workers and for Boris. Some people have been incredibly stupid haven’t they … but I can understand … though totally disapprove of it. Health workers must be worried … as they work to keep us safe if we’re ill.

I used to love baking as a kid but have done so little since I became an adult … love the smell of bread, but it doesn’t like me much … so I avoid it as much as I can.

@ EC – yes yeast is in short supply too. I agree we must be grateful for our situations in life … regardless - for what we feel about not being able to get eggs, flour etc

Simnel cakes are positively delicious and I’d love to have one – but way too much for one person! I love marzipan that’s what would tempt me …

@ Diane – that’s great … your hubby will have his Easter cake. Simnel cakes have come back into our consciousness in the last 100 years … I suspect because we can get the ingredients more easily … and bake the cake more easily too …

@ Anabel – oh I love the smell of bread making … but don’t make it – my mother used to … hope your stocks last …

@ Sandie – yes it was World Health Day … sadly probably lost in the morass of other information. Glad you’ve got your flour. Simnel cakes are absolutely delicious – but you really have to love marzipan – so yes if you do.

@ Marja – yes we are so lucky living in our parts of the world … and as you say we never know when our time is up. Yes – it is a lovely area to live – though the beach is shingle (which protects the land from the tidal wave motion) … but it’s good to see the sea so easily.

Simnel cakes were rich cakes – originally boiled … easier in the middle ages … and taken home by the domestic servants to their family – giving them a boost of nutrition and a treat, not otherwise possible in their lives.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Alex – that’s great you’ve got flour; I know – it is ironic that it was World Health Day yesterday … we just never know what’s going to happen …

@ Liz – that’s good you bought some flour a while ago … I usually have some – but had used it up. Similarly eggs – I’ve a few at the moment. That’s good you’ve got a good local market … for your usual supplies …

@ Diedre – our Mothering Sunday is tied in to the Christian calendar – hence the domestic servants having a day off and taking a simnel (or similar) cake home with them. Oh yes I do hope your cake making goes well – I know mine would definitely not work! Good luck.

@ Joanne – glad you’ve got eggs and flours and great if your local store has everything … sounds a good little shop. I haven’t bought anything sweet … but do crave it! Strange about World Health Day being just when we could do with a booster … as you say. All well here …

@ Jz – I guess that’s something I think about quite often – but I tend not to eat things that others will guzzle … and yes I’m still here and safe …

@ Ian – I’ve looked but … baking goods be few and far between. That’s interesting about the sauces being easier using the gluten free flour – I’ll be using it next time … and I don’t make pastry!

@ Hels – I gather that today is the start of Passover … I didn’t realise the restriction of not eating any flour based products. Decades ago … I went to a Passover with a Russian family and to their home afterwards – it was amazing … I just wish I’d been a bit more aware of their life … I remember it though.

Thank you for your healthy and peaceful wishes to the readers here … appreciate that thought .

@ John – yes if I bought cakes, or even made them – which I don’t do … and ate bread, I need to starve myself for the rest of the summer – not something I really want to do. We are still meant to be in Lent … and yes one wonders what everyone is doing with all the food … not selling on I hope! Brexit’s gone off the radar for the moment …

Thanks everyone and as Hels says … wishing you all a healthy and peaceful Passover and Easter … Hilary

Dan said...

As long as we find what we need, I’m ok. The stores here are out of one thing today, different things in three days. We’re getting by fine. Take care, Hilary.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Hello Hilary: We are all having to do the best we can during these trying times, and I suppose that in the total scheme of things not being able to find a few items on the grocery shelves is not so serious. I actually bought flour recently, and there were just two bags left, and I took one of them. At least one was left for the next shopper. I suppose we are all wondering how long this enforced confinement is going to last, and I am also not sure that life will ever be quite the same again. I hope that intimacy with close friends doesn't suffer. We will have to wait and see. Stay well, Hilary.

Mason Canyon said...

Flour is in short supply here as well. We've been doing Keto for a number of months now so we do little baking and only with almond or coconut flour (both of which are also in short supply). Hopefully things will begin to calm down before long and items will be on the shelves again. Take care.

Keith's Ramblings said...

Mary Berry has probably been panic buying and bought the lot! I'm baking like crazy too. No idea why! Fortunately, Aldi has plenty of flour so it's not been a problem for me. Now, where's my simnel cake recipe?

DMS said...

I wish you good health! I always learn new bits when I am visiting your blog. I can also see how people may find baking relaxing during this stressful time. I personally love being home and in my yard and haven't left in a month (working from home now). I would enjoy being by the sea to go for some nice walks. Around here- the outdoor areas are swamped with hikers, walkers, and people in general (they've even had to close parks because so many people not social distancing- the trails and parks have been more packed than ever).

Stay safe!
~Jess

Jo said...

No idea if flour is in short supply as I have a lot of it and only use it for sauces or flouring chicken, etc. I haven't made bread in many a long year. I have heard yeast is in short supply. Everyone baking their own bread.

Glad you are doing OK Hilary.

Patsy said...

We've been very luck with regards food shortages. We usually do a monthly supermarket shop and did that just before the panic buying started. By the time we'd run out of things, although I had to queue for a long time, I was able to get everything we needed, and most of what I wanted. Here's hoping that the virus is under control long before we've eaten through our current supplies.

Jacqui Murray said...

We are being diligent about using what we have at home, not wasting. It actually feels good!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Dan – yes … me too – I really can quite easily get by – the few extras give me choices … otherwise I get on with it …

@ David – I’ve bought one of two – and even left some loo rolls when I saw them – I didn’t need any! Yes … how long will it last – we can’t be incarcerated for that long I hope! Life will never be the same again … and will sadly be uncertain for many … and terrible for many …

@ Mason – it seems everyone is making cakes, or baking bread – I’m eating normally … and could have bought some coconut flour – but didn’t really want/fancy that. I hope supplies will get back to normal … but re trade I worry about that …

@ Keith – oh yes … I’d forgotten about Mary and her supplies. Are you baking – gosh I’d have to eat it … and that could be a real challenge later on. I’m nowhere near an Aldi or Lidl – so that solves that problem. If you make simnel cake – you’d better bring me some over!! – that’s an order, not a guideline!!

@ Jess – thank you … in good health so far. Excellent you are working from home and able to spend so much time there … sadly I don’t have a garden … but that’s the way things have turned out.

Down along the seaside – there are a few people … but the weather is glorious at the moment – but I ‘march’ along and get my walk in … though trying different routes each time. We’re closing parks here … but it must be so difficult for people in high-rise flats/apartments … just so glad that’s not me.

@ Jo – that’s good you’ve got a supply of flour … bananas seem to be your problem! I don’t make bread … but yes I think we’re short of yeast too – thankfully doesn’t bother me … and all well here …

@ Patsy – that’s good … I’d manage to get myself into gear early and had one last run out before the lock down. I’ve been into the local smaller shops in town and got what I needed – realising I can go in and out when I feel the need. I too do hope we can get through this as soon as possible …

@ Jacqui – well done … I hate wasting food – which doesn’t happen with this post war baby!

Thanks for all your comments – so glad everyone seems to be well – take care and all the best - Hilary

bazza said...

Is it really World Health Day? How very ironic!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s enormously escapist Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Lisa said...

Flour is in short supply here too. I have enough for us to make it through, I hope. If I start making bread, we'll run out, but might have to do that soon. I feel bad for folks having to stay home alone all the time. At least we have books and TV... The cake looks sweet and tasty!

Sandra Cox said...

As always, interesting post.
I'm unfamiliar with Simnel cakes. That one is awfully pretty. Looks like fat pancakes.
Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Pradeep Nair said...

Mercifully, there is no shortage of flour here. In fact, most of the essentials are available.
We use wheat flour to make what we call in India 'roti' or 'chapati' which is a sort of a thin pancake, circular in shape.
It's the main dish for lunch and/or dinner in all of India. It can be really problematic if it runs short here.

Rhodesia said...

Flour is a major shortage here in France. Everyone seems to be complaining so it is not only me. I managed to get flour for brioche 3 weeks ago and there was only 2 of those on the shelf. N stopped yesterday and he said there was still no flour!. Happy Easter, stay safe Diane

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I used to bake when I had young children but not any more

Susan B said...

Thank you Hilary for sharing. Happy you are well and safe, enjoying the sea. Hope you are having the fine weather, we are basking in here.
Interesting about the Roman flour and the cake, which I don’t think I have ever tasted. My mother is busy making hot-crossed buns this week, and I’ll be making a strawberry and cream sponge on Monday for my birthday ... just finished off the lemon cake and pancake batter, after Easter, it will be time for Another blackberry and apple 🥧 pie. Take care, stay safe. Keep writing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bazza – it really was … one of those strange but true days …

@ Lisa – the millers are working overtime, as are our traders – just everyone is baking more … understandable in keeping the family occupied. Oh I know – aren’t we lucky we have books, radio, tv and other things to stimulate us … I’m managing albeit alone …

@ Sandra - - thank you; simnel cakes are pretty special ones … but provided lots of goodies that were in short supply in the medieval worker’s homes –giving them a treat when their child returned with one from their domestic duties in the big house …

@ Pradeep – thank you for reminding us about chapati and roti being staples for your families … and that they’re made from wheat flour. We’ve developed different flours from other grains and nuts … and I was surprised to learn I could buy coconut flour … I’m not a baker! I do hope your supplies of flour don’t run out …

@ Diane – I think many ‘western’ nations seem to be experiencing flour shortages – must be family’s cooking their cakes, and making bread … I must look when I next go to a shop and see if it’s on the shelf.

@ Jo-Anne – yes I could bake, but just never do … so that ‘skill’ is long lost

@ Susan – good to see you and yes enjoying the sea – with the same weather as you … at least for a few more days.
The simnel cake is special and uses lots of marzipan. Gosh your mother is doing well – and how wonderful … and then your birthday cake – sounds delicious – both do!! I hope I remember, but if I don’t – happy birthday for Monday. I’d put our blackberry and apple dishes into the Autumn phase – but again always delicious …

All the best everyone … wishing you and yours safe at this time - Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

Luckily I'd gotten a few kg of flour -- but my main trouble is that I'm running low on baking soda, and no one seems to have any! I finally looked it up on Wikipedia; most baking soda comes from the States, so maybe we're starting to see a shortage? I'll need to find recipes that don't require baking soda or baking powder!

Sue Bursztynski said...

I’ve stocked up on flour, whenever I could get some. I have a few sachet# of yeast for bread making - I made a loaf of rye bread recently, delicious, but it took me a while to find the caraway seeds I wanted for the top.

Never had husband or kids, but that has never stopped me baking. I guess it’s a matter of what you enjoy.

The beaches here are closed to people sitting around, but you are allowed to walk for exercise and I do. I’m sorry you can’t do more - I know how much you enjoy going to see things and have a nice meal out afterwards. Th3 tim3 will come when you can do it all again.

retirementreflections said...

Once again you've shared great gems here. We are luckier than most in the world. We do need to take care and share. Hope all is well for you.

Deborah Weber said...

I'd not heard of Simnel cakes before, but clearly they were both practical and lovely. Always a great combination. I like almond paste, and although I don't have any, I do have slivered almonds on hand. I'm planning on making Blitz Kuchen, a buttery dough, covered with meringue and cinnamon and almonds this weekend. It was my grandmother's recipe.

I'm glad you're managing to get what you need mostly, and able to get out for your walks.

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

There is a flour shortage here as well. I got very lucky though. Before this whole thing broke out, I had done a major stock up, just like I do every few months, so on my last shopping trip, all the shelves were full. Not so now. But they are slowly being restocked.
Enjoy the rest of your week,
Andrea

D.G. Kaye said...

Beautiful post Hilary. And you are sounding well, keeping a busy bee. I can imagine many are eating more than they are used too, lol. As a writer I'm used to spending most of my days at home, thus not changing my eating routine. Stay safe! :) xx

Vallypee said...

I’ve never thought this much about flour before, Hilary, but I enjoyed this post. I have an old packet somewhere in my cupboard, but I too am not a baker and only use it for sauces, and those just occasionally too. I don’t think I’ve ever had simnel cake although I’ve heard of it. By the way I enjoyed your last post on Eastbourne. I know I went there as a child but it’s not a town I know at all. It looks rather lovely. Sad about the hotel buildings. Are they rebuilding them?

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I didn't know it was World Health Day a few days ago. With so many nurses and doctors putting their own health at risk to fight this pandemic, they deserve more than one day to acknowledge their sacrifices. Our grocery shelves still have a lot of empty spots, and it's eerie to see so many things that ARE there being rationed... one to a customer... but it gives us a teeny tiny taste of what it was like for our parents during WWII. This, too, will pass. Take care, Hilary, and Happy Easter! Cheers1

Yolanda Renée said...

I can't bake, I have no staples to do so, but for a good reason. If I baked it, I'd have to eat it. I can't do that anymore! World Health Day, oops, not a good time this year. Gosh I hope all this passes soon, the cure is found and things can get back to a new and healthier normal.

Happy Easter, Hilary!

Thank so much for your continued support, but especially for your friendship!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deniz – well done and you’ll be baking for the kids rather often I’d have thought. It’s funny (strange!) – we never used bicarb or baking powder (which has 30 % of bicarb in it) … self-raising flour was available after WW2 … which included bicarb and salt in it (ready mixed). Good luck with finding some …

@ Sue – if one cooks with it then I guess we’d all need stocks of flour and yeast – it’s just something I’ve never used much of. But glad you’ve got plenty by the sound of it. Caraway seeds – love them … reminds me of my father when we had caraway shortbread …

I can at least get out to see the sea and the Downs are there providing a backdrop for me as I take my daily walk. Yes I’m missing my days out and exercising my brain – but there’s other ways … and glad you’re taking your chance to get out and walk …

@ Donna – you are luckier – Vancouver Island is wonderful … but Eastbourne isn’t bad!

@ Deborah – Yes simnel cakes have an interesting history – and I’d love a slice of one this year. Your Blitz Kuchen sounds delicious … and how wonderful you’ve got some of your grandmother’s recipes … I’d love to have some of my mother’s … I never saw any from my grandmother – but actually she had a cook … so probably explains why!!

@ Andrea – I gather flour seems to be in short supply in the western world. Well done – I’m glad you got that large shop in before the ‘curtain’ came down. I would hope that the shelves are not being stripped out – now that Easter’s here … but people seem to be hoarding more and more – one does wonder why.

@ Debby – thanks, yes I’ve always got things going on – even in seclusion here. I suspect the food issue could be a problem – I must cut some of my intake too – and get back to a lesser need.

@ Val – I have to admit I hadn’t thought much about flour – especially as I don’t bake … I’m like you – just that my small packet ran out this week – luckily I found some self-raising which’ll do for now – and will last me quite a while.

Glad you’ve heard of simnel cake – very English with some religious aspects … though I know you haven’t spent that much time here – once you’d gone off to South Africa, and then the Netherlands – you remembered the name.
Delighted you enjoyed the post on Eastbourne … we used to go to Bexhill as kids – my father’s grandmother briefly lived there. It’s a good place to live – it has space … thankfully …
Re the hotel they intended to restore its façade and rebuild it – but with things now … who knows what will happen and then: when?

@ Susan – yes it’s a United Nations designated day … it was only on hearing the Queen’s message that I realised it was a designated day …
I’m sure there will be many more acknowledgements and memorials to the health workers and all essential helpers … so many of them deserve so many thanks …
Are things in your neck of the world still rationing items – perhaps we are – but I only shop locally so haven’t seen that … the shelves are partly empty too.
I know things over here in WW2 were pretty drastic – we were lucky that we had a garden to grow vegetables and fruit in, as well as rear chickens, ducks – til they were killed by the fox!; and for a few years we reared pigs … a different way of life …

Take care one and all – look after yourselves, family and friends – all the best Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Renee - you slipped in ... I could bake, but don't ... no-one to enjoy it ... and I don't want to eat it - like you ... as it is I need to cut back. Yes it was incongruous having World Health Day this week.

Gosh - me too hope it passes soon - I just suspect it won't be for a while ... and who knows what life will be like once we think about a 'normal life' ...

Pleasure to be sharing your new book and the promotions - and to have been there in the past ...

Take care and let's hope things ease up soon ... all the best and Happy Easter - Hilary

M. Denise C. said...

Wow, Hilary. I have never heard of simnel cake or flour. Thank you once again. Glad you are in a place where you can walk by the sea. I am sure that is therapeutic! Ok, take care, Denise

Lynda Dietz said...

I'm glad you're in a decent place right now. We have a lot of shortages of basic stuff, but we're still able to get fresh fruit and vegetables, so I'm okay with not being able to bake as much, even though I'd like to have some bread right now. Carbs are comfort food!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Denise - it's an ancient name ... an English tradition. Interestingly I'll be doing a follow up shortly. Seeing the sea is lovely ... sadly a pebble beach ... but a seaside town is wonderful ... take care.

@ Lynda - yes ... being 'one' helps - easier to mix and make do and I got prepared ... as I saw things happening. I don't do bread or carbs (much!) ... as long as I have milk for my coffee - I'm happy! But also lots of fruit and veg - and they seem to be ok ...

Thanks so much - hope you're both coping ... all the best - Hilary