The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Building up our pantries. 7

Last week Helen posted that in hard times, the times we are depending on our pantries and our supplies, we probably need some nurturing and comfort. Whatever circumstances that have come about something has gone wrong and that is why we are relying on our stockpile. Having supplies to see you through is a big comfort of course but having things that your family like and are nurturing is such a good thing. Adding little treats and luxuries, comfort food and drinks, is going to make things much better if you can possibly manage it.

Thinking about this and reading all your ideas I had added to my storage list. My additions include Golden Syrup, Sticky Balsamic, Coffee Essence, Vanilla Concentrate, Condensed Milk, special tins of tea, a tin of caramels, chocolate, sun dried tomatoes, tinned custard powder, tinned hot chocolate. So far... I am sure I will come up with more. Thank you for all the replies to Helen's question. This helped me lots!

I have progress to report in the cellar! I have food on my shelves! There have been two good things... one was a better fortnight for us and some savings and the other some great specials I found.
I also decided with every saving I make to use some of it for something for the cellar or pantry.

My bathroom cabinet is really large. That is big enough to keep spare shampoo and quite a few things. So I am building that up also. I added toothpaste, soap and hand wash to that.

Here is a pic to show my progress from my original cold, dark, empty and scary cellar!

It truly is amazing how things add up when you just add something every time you can.

Following on from Helen I thought ok I am storing up foods that keep and we like and I am adding things that will really add flavour as well as some treats. Now what meals can I actually make form all these components?

So far I have a list I am keeping of things that can be made entirely from what is stored. I think we can include whats in the garden and if you have chickens you could include eggs. But rather than just a random collection of things to think what meals could I make up from this collection? Thinking this way we might realise we need to add this or that and we would have a complete meal. I have my regular kitchen pantry and by then end of the year hopefully a well stocked cellar.

Then I always seem to have plenty of a fair variety of herbs. I have two towers I made like this one... this was when this one was first planted, or early on...

I made them out of recycled pots (that means I found most of them on the side of the road!) and these are near the back door. This is how they look now...

They are jungles of herbs, some chilli and capsicums,  and I pick so many!  I pick bunches for the girls and to give away as gifts. And I add fresh herbs to everything. I will always keep them going as they really are lovely adding flavour, colour and a burst of vitamins and minerals to everything. In a crisis they would be wonderful to be able to add to stored foods.

Anyway, from what I have so far I could make custard (from powdered milk and custard powder)
with plum pudding (tinned Christmas pudding) or tinned fruit.
I could make tuna casserole/mornay.... (powdered milk, tins tuna, corn, chicken noodle soup...)
which I could serve over pasta or rice. Or corn fritters.

I could make simple pasta and tomato sauce with fresh herbs,  pancakes  and served with any of several homemade jams. Scones, simple fruit cobbler using tinned fruit and a cake batter.

We like soup and even tinned tomato soup is nice so I would be quite happy with that. I could add fresh herbs to tinned soups to make them healthier.
I actually like baked beans and would find them a good meal.
I could make damper (simple bread).

So now to add to my list!

Doing something toward this week by week is really working. We are still in January and I have got this far so by December I think I am going to be amazed!

If you would like some wonderful reading on the subject Patsi's blog A Working Pantry is a wonderful resource. She has started a series I am following.  I am loving it already. Start here here to read the introduction. Thank you Patsi for making this free for everyone. I feel as if I am building up my pantry with a great friend beside me. She posts Wednesdays and so today will be part three I think. (which I am looking forward to).

While I've been adding things to my cellar shelves and writing this there is a great storm approaching the east coast of America. I have been watching updates. This is a situation people have had a warning, they know its coming and have time to prepare. Knowing what needs doing and getting it done before the storm comes in. I saw photos of empty supermarket shelves already.  After that cars need to be off the road and people need to be safe indoors. By the time I post this it will be well underway. I hope everyone is alright, there are millions people are in the way of that storm! In fact here are more people affected by the storm than there are in the whole of Australia. Like twice that many. My mind boggles. I saw pictures of the biggest supermarket I have ever seen in Boston and everything from the fridges and freezers was gone! Empty. It really makes you think!

What meals can you make from your pantry when a storm comes in and you can't get to the shops? Or when there is another reason that you cannot shop? I would love to learn some new ideas to add to my list.

As Helen said when a blizzard comes in or someone is out of work those are the times that a comforting or warming meal would be especially restoring and encouraging. A little planning is what we are doing!

I am hoping everyone has a staple pantry/emergency meal like my trusty tuna mornay and between us we will come up with a good list! Many thanks in advance...

It is lovely to make progress and to work on this together. Little bits add up! And there are small opportunities that crop up. I just got a $10 Woolworths gift card. If I use that on some good specials I can add more to my cellar!

I hope you are having a good week! xxx


  1. Your pantry is starting to look great Annabel, I bet you are well pleased with your pantry project. I love your herb garden, it looks fantastic. I do have some herbs in pots, and I should plant more.

    I find the recipes in Cath’s Cheapskates book very helpful, same with the Simple Savings book. Over the years I have collected up quite a few books (from op shops and eBay) about living in hard times or low income, so hopefully I will be prepared. The Tightwad Gazette is a fantastic book for this type of thing; it contains heaps of helpful advice. Another book I sourced was Hard times Handbook (Keith and Irene Smith) and Hard Times Kitchen book with recipes. There are so many frugal blogs that share cheap recipes too. Jack Monroe, Frugal Queen, Life after money, Our New Life in the Country to name a few. I have a list on the sidebar of my blog, and when I find another good site, I add it for easy reference.

    I have been thinking a lot about this lately. One of our friends was recently laid off (Arrium job losses). He is very distressed as he has no idea what to do next while he is between jobs. He is in credit debt and has no savings. On top of that he has broken up with his girlfriend since losing his job. I think it is a good idea to be prepared in case of job loss. I am a bit worried that this may happen to us, as they laid some workers off last year. I am glad we have food in storage for if it does happen. Our debts are minimal, with only a small mortgage left to pay, and we have food in a well stocked pantry. I have fruit and veggies growing and chickens for eggs and roosters for meat. Eggs can be a life saver. I keep a lot of dry food by way of beans, chickpeas, soup mixes etc. These can replace meat if it is unavailable. I would like to keep more flour etc on hand, and have been told it can be kept in a freezer so the pantry moth can’t infest it. If desperate for meat there are always feral goats and rabbits around here that are good to eat. Fishing is another source of food, so long as you catch something lol!

    I am enjoying these posts, they get my brain ticking.

    God Bless,
    Tania xoxo

    1. Tania it is true... job loss can happen anytime. It is quite a worry. There are so many reasons being a bit prepared is a good idea!
      I agree the old style books with basic cooking re the most economical. I love the old Green and Gold cookbook! (thats ancient)
      I got so many ideas today from a friend who has been a country pub cook, run a cafe and worked in catering... she showed me her pantry! Oh my goodness! Plus she has an european background and had different ideas. I will work these into next weeks post.
      You have such a good garden and you are right, we can fish and if in the country hunt.
      It is a great idea to follow the blogs that are helpful. I am going to go check if The Working Pantry has her next post up as that was looking very good.
      Thank you for all your thoughts Tania I really appreciate

  2. Annabel, what you have achieved there is truly inspiring! It gives you such peace of mind to know you can provide for your family with your own stores, doesn't it? I love your herb towers too, and I can see I'll be borrowing that idea for sure! One of our favourite pantry meals is a salad made from a tin of four bean mix, a tin of corn kernels, a tin of tuna slices in chilli oil, some dried onion flakes and garlic granules, and whatever fresh herbs we have on hand. We dress this with balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and wholegrain mustard combined in a jar, and honestly it's just the loveliest meal. Obviously you'd increase the ingredients if you were feeding more than three (we are only three at home now), and the addition of salad leaves if you happen to grow them, makes it extra fresh and special. I love the $5 reward that Coles offer from time to time as well. $5 buys herbs and spices, sugar and flour, tinned fruit and custard powder, or juice and cordial. As you say, those little opportunities to add to our pantries really add up. Wonderful post!

    1. Mimi thank you for this recipe. We would both love that and it is healthy as well.
      I am telling everyone I visited a friend today who is a very good cook. She also has a european background, In her case Austrian. Her pantry and her idea of pantry meals has given me so much info! Amazing cooks and amazing heritage food wise, you would have a lot in common with Hilde!
      Well I have learned a lot today! Thank you so much for the recipe and thoughts on this. xxx

  3. Very interesting post Annabel. As I'm on enforced bedpost (you may get up to the toilet and quick shower" stated the arthropod yesterday) for around 4 weeks, I have plenty of time to read. This topic interests me a lot; a few years ago I lived from a pantry; well I had three. I loved it. I had the normal double pantry in the kitchen and I had a large understairs cupboard and a brick cellar. I was always rotating stock and checking it all out and the lovely lists i could keep (love list making) and it all worked well. Particularly as I put 20 dollars into each weeks grocery shop for stockpiling.

    One thing I think you might not have considered is how you will cook your foods; there is the possibility that whatever the occasion that occurs and that we need to use our stores, we may not have power. For example, that major US storm, they will no doubt lose power. We see that time and time again in natural disasters. So what I did and still have is a stash of fuel and a cooker. Now where I am we have firewood never to run out, but I still have my little methylated spirits stove. I have cooked full meals on this; it takes time but I know i can boil water and cook things. I think you are doing very well with your supplies. Other things you could consider are things like loo paper; and some extra disinfectant, gloves, maybe a box of masks (never know I guess if bird flue/sars type things come). I'm not sure if you are in a city or not. I could rabbit on about this all day as i love this topic, but will stop there. Look forward to your posts.

    1. Please do rabbit on more Fiona as I love it! And you have experience in this.
      We have a gas cooker and keep spare gas and also a small wood fire place as our back up ways to cook.
      I think the medical supplies, masks etc is a very good idea.
      We are in the city. But if things were really dire we could go to the family farm. At least there would be unlimited meat... (its a beef and sheep farm).
      Four weeks in bed! Well settle in and read and enjoy ... the Prudent Homemakers pantry... have a look at that!
      It is a good subject and one we need to think lots about! I had an afternoon with a friend. She has been a caterer, country pub cook and cafe owner and cook. Boy oh boy she gave me so many ideas and showed me her pantry! Will find somewhere to squeeze this information in...
      Was a lovely day! Hope you are doing well...Thank you for your thoughts on this. xxxx

  4. Your pantry looks great.
    I love your idea of adding [comforting/sweet supplies also.- I agree, when hard time are upon would be so nice to have a little extra.]Thank you for sharing this idea..

    1. Thank you Judy, I saw a friend today who said she always keeps pop corn as that lasts so long and is very handy. She showed me her pantry too and I have come away with lots of new ideas!
      Thank you so much for commenting! xx

  5. The comfort foods is something we have been trying to add to our larder. That little bit of chocolate, cocoa powder and baking chocolate (mmm...brownies) can help people feel safe in a less than optimum situation, especially the little ones! Thanks for all the timely advice!

    1. Kathy I agree that especially for children comforting favourite things would be good. It would make a big difference.
      I have found some new ideas to add today... my friend who is a wonderful cook showed me her pantry. Wow! I'll have to add her ides next week, I wrote a list while at her house!
      I think the chocolate and cocoa powder is a great idea and could be food or drinks too.
      Thank you for your thoughts on

  6. Annabel thank you for a wonderful post! Mimi that salad recipe sounds simply fabulous and so easy! I googled pantry meals and there are a lot of sites to go and look at. Most of them include ingredients found in the fridge and freezer. Unless it was a power failure, you would be able to access and use the things in your fridge and freezer.
    Considering that, it would broaden the meals we could make significantly. Mostly living out of our pantry is either a health or a work situation. However, I also am on the lookout for recipes that just use pantry ingredients!
    I was thinking of making homemade soups. They are nourishing and comforting and you can use a variety of beans, dried legumes, canned vegetables as well as stocks.
    Also recently I copied a " Biscuit Recipe" . Here in Australia we would call it Scones.
    4 cups of Plain Flour, 3 Tablespoons of Baking Powder, 2 teaspoons of Salt. Mix together.
    Add 4 Tablespoons of Canola Oil and 1 1/2-1 3/4 cups of milk.
    Cook for 15 minutes 220 degrees Celsius. Brush with melted butter and return to oven for 5 more minutes.
    I think I copied this from Laura at Harvest Lane Cottage.
    I made them and they are good. Best eaten straight from the oven, but a great recipe using only store cupboard ingredients.
    Lovely ideas ladies! Love Helen xxx

    1. Helen I am thinking the same things... I think there could be times when there are a few days where things in the fridge/freezer are still there to use and then after that its the garden and pantry only. To me that would apply when either power is lost or income just runs out.... either way you have some things in the fridge and some time to use them. Then they are gone.
      So yes I feel I need ideas for pantry only meals.
      Today I visited my friend Hilde. I think not everyone will read all the comments and see this so I will re add the information next week or soon.
      Hilde is a wonderful cook. She has a european family and she has been a cook for a country pub and catering and owned her own cafe and cooked everything. So apart from being a good cook she is a good manager and economical with things.
      I asked her today about her pantry and what she makes just from the pantry. She was having a no shop week and living from a few things in her fridge and pantry just now anyway!
      We sat and she talked and I took notes! Literally I was writing things out flat out!
      Later she showed me her pantry. It was a revelation. She keeps a lot of things I dont keep. I need to do a blog post on it but heres a start...

      She keeps an enormous number of flavour base packet mixes. Things like sauces, curry bases, chilli bases, all kinds of things. A million little packets and dry soup packets too. (they take up less room than canned)

      She keeps gravies and she buys IKEA gravy packets that are instant gravy you just heat and pour!
      Hilde has gnocchi in cyrovac packs that keeps a long time.
      Same with all different kinds of asian noodles.
      She keeps tins of asian vegies.... corn spears, mixed asian vegies...Trident chinese mix vegies.
      Boxes of polenta.
      Dried tortellini.
      Garlic chips.
      Other ships... I think she said spring onion...
      Bacon bits.
      Pork crackling.
      (these are used as sprinkles on things)
      Hoisin noodles.
      Also she keeps in the fridge salami, chorizo... they last a long long time.
      Naan bread that is packed to keep a long time. (cryovac packs)
      A million herbs.
      Spice mixes.
      Sauces, chilli, soy and everything you can think of. They all keep a long time.

      She keeps tins of beer. With a tin of beer she can quickly make wonderful bread that turns out every time! If anyone wants the recipe I will post it.She makes savoury versions of this with also creamed corn and herbs and spices in it. Plus it toasted up beautifully.

      So she can make chinese vegies with a sauce to go with like sweet and sour (from a flavour base) over chinese noodles...
      or a vegetable curry with Naan bread
      Minestrone. Homemake bread.
      All kinds of rice dishes.
      Plus she has tins of fruit, long life cream, custard...
      or one of about a million meals basically.

      Overall Hilde's selection of different kinds of noodles, tins of vegies. flavour bases and long life breads etc make a huge variety of things.
      She seems to know lots of really good things that if you add this or that it transforms something from ordinary to wonderful!

      Who knew you could buy gravy at IKEA that she says is so good to keep on hand. She is a really good cook so if she says this it must be good!
      After this I will be looking at many things I have never bought before... like jars of garlic, tikka masala paste, garlic chips... a myriad of things!
      Oh the possibilities.
      Asking others is so good as we only know what we know! We tend to buy many things over and over and not know many others exist.
      And the ways to use them. She makes up polenta then bakes it in a tray and cuts it into wedges and fries them with cheese on top....
      (to give you an idea)
      I have had such a wonderful afternoon!
      And then we went op shopping and I found three beautiful things and Hilde found a perfect dress for $4.

      I recently worked out "Biscuits" are scones to us. But I see "Biscuits and Gravy" and if there is a US lady I would love to know what this is and when you would serve biscuits and gravy.
      Sorry for such a long reply! xx

    2. Oh so many ideas to run with Annabel, what a wonderful treat for you to have such a lovely afternoon with Hilde, and to learn so much new information :)


    3. Oh my this was a wonderful post and the comment strand is so much I need to keep notes! Biscuits and gravy in the US is COMFORT FOOD EXTRAORDINAIRE! The biscuits are flour based and depending on where you live (a southerner, Midwesterner, etc) may have different ways to make them but they are generally flour, lard or oil, water and some salt....baked into fluffy yummy-ness, then covered in a country type gravy. White gravy with pepper and sausage crumbles in it would be pretty standard. Some slice the biscuit open, slather with butter then add gravy, some put an egg in between the biscuit and gravy, huge possibilities. Stick to your ribs yummy comfort food. And completely pantry friendly, you could have no meat or dried sausage crumbles in pantry storage. I hope this helps :)

    4. Colette thank you. Here biscuits are scones and usually served with jam and cream. I totally love them and make them a lot. Sometimes they have dates or sultanas added or pumpkin so they are yellow. I love them any way. But this biscuits and gravy I havent heard of here. BUT people do dumplings over the top of a casserole which I am thinking is a similar thing and they soak up the juices and gravy! Now I am understanding! This is yummy and also makes meat dishes go further. Thank you for this! xx

  7. good to spend an afternoon with a friend, better yet one that can give you food for thought. Thanks for your reply Annabel, and not minding my rabbiting. One thing you should also consider is any medication you or Andy may be on. I was doing this but have fallen out of the habit due to a few moves etc. Anyway you can purchase extra medication and start a stockpile. From then on, you never open the packet you buy from the chemist, that gets put to the back of the pile. For example, keep them stocked on a shelf like the chemist does; new one to the back, you can build up a supply that can be up to a year ahead or longer, just make sure that you don't get too ahead of yourself. For example you suddenly find yourself with fourteen boxes of a medication that you use one per month of (so a 14 month supply), but the expiry date comes up prior to the end of that supply.
    This can be a very useful strategy if you fear something bad is going to happen in life; or it can be a good way when you find that your budgeting is working really well and you have a few extra dollars.
    Brilliant for you that you can 'escape' to the farm with it's never ending supply of meat.

    1. Fiona you are a blessing to me! As it turns out... Andy has a stainless steel heart valve and is on blood thinners. He has monitoring to determine his dose which varies. I always worry about running out of these. Normally we would not run out. But if the supply chain went down (like there were fuel shortages) or something it could happen. But I didnt really know I could get ahead with scripts as they really only give you the scripts you need. I think I could do it gradually though and build up a bit of a buffer...
      then do as you say keep them in order to be using them so use by dates are beaten.
      Also I use ventolin. I would hate to run out. I can cough all night without it. If I could build up some spares I would be really pleased.
      This idea will no doubt be very good for others as many of us have mediations or have someone in the family that does.
      If you have time check out the reply I just typed to Helen above re my day with Hilde. I have had a good day of information! Thank you for this. Having a stockpile of food for us would be not so good without a stockpile of

  8. Dear Annabel,

    Thank you so much for sharing your excellent information from your day with your friend. I look forward to a potential future post for more information!

    Such an excellent idea to put your savings from here and there on the building of your pantry/cellar! We've experienced such a savings on gas here that I am doing that very thing as well with those savings. Just a few months ago, it was 67.00 to fill my tank. Right now it's 35.00 which is amazing, so instead of letting that money get absorbed into the budget (which very easily can happen), I am immediately putting the savings towards other budget goals. It's very satisfying, isn't it?

    Your cellar doesn't look so cold, dark, or scary any longer! It looks cheerful and full of possibilities! far as pantry meals. One of my favorite things to make is hummus. You can pair it with vegetables, (raw or cooked), lettuce, crackers, etc. Very versatile. The base recipe I use is credited to the South Beach Diet.

    1 15 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
    2 tbsp lemon juice
    1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)** varying prices depending on where you buy**
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
    2 tsp ground cumin
    1/8 tsp ground red pepper
    1/2 tsp salt
    chopped fresh parsley (optional, but YUMMMM)
    Drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid & set liquid aside
    Combine the beans, lemon juice, tahini, onion, garlic, oil, cumin, pepper, and salt in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth, adding the reserved liquid if needed to thin the puree a bit until desired consistency (like a thick dip) Add some chopped fresh parsley and refrigerate for about 4 hours before serving.

    You can change this so many ways. Roasted red bell peppers (canned pantry item), sun dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, olives, etc. It is hearty and satisfying paired with so many different items. I always add extra olive oil to mine.

    My kid's favorite: crepes.
    2 cups flour
    2 eggs
    milk (until consistency is runny enough to pour out into hot pan)
    1 tsp vanilla, or a splash more
    **batter cannot be too thick or too thin lol

    **Sorry, I only know this from watching my mom when I was little, so I don't have an exact recipe. But do yourself the hugest favor and don't leave out the vanilla :)

    melt butter (or oil of your choosing) into a med-high pan
    pour in some batter with one hand, while moving pan around in other hand until batter reaches all sides of the pan, forming a thin pancake
    flip when edges are lifting
    remove from pan when it's obviously cooked through

    **if you've never made these, you might ruin a few. There is a bit of a learning curve. Give yourself permission to mess a few up, you will not be sorry with your efforts!!

    one of my kid's favorite ways to enjoy is melted butter with a sprinkle of powdered or brown husband loves it with almond paste as well. Roll up, and cut into slices. A sprinkle of powdered sugar makes it pretty.
    also: any canned/preserved fruits, jams, jellies, cherries, pie fillings, etc...
    butter, squeezed lemon and powdered sugar
    canned meats

    In other words, can be savory or sweet.

    So much good information here. I've seriously started keeping suggestions in my notebook! Thank you everyone for everything you share. I feel as though I've found a precious group who are all helping me to build up my home.

    sidenote: Annabel, have you shared your trusty tuna mornay here?

    ~love to all~

    1. Colette hummus is wonderful stuff! I didnt think of making that from scratch from the pantry. Thank you for this recipe I am copying it out.
      Also we love pancakes and there are so many uses and variations. My Mum makes pancakes and uses them instead of lasagne sheets in lasagne or pasta dishes which sounds funny until you try it as it is so delicious!
      My tuna mornay from the pantry recipe...
      1 large can tuna,
      1 can corn kernels,
      a packet of chicken noodles soup mix,
      breadcrumbs, milk, cornflour..

      In a saucepan pur half a cup of water and your soup mix and stir, add milk to cover and heat and stir as this dissolves and thickens. Keep adding milk to cover ingredients as you add them... add the drained tuna and drained corn. Simmer. As it comes to boil add a cup of milk mixed with cornflour to thicken it. Pour into a casserole dish and cover with breadcrumbs and grated cheese. Then bake until the crust is golden and lovely. Thats it. It is totally yummy and easy. Sometimes I serve it in vol au vent cases, looks nice or ramekins too.
      Wendy on My Abundant Life (on sidebar) posted hers this week which is different and looks really good so have a look and try that also. Very handy pantry meal. And also Mum used to make thin pancakes and wrap mornay inside them. Then line them up in a dish, sprinkle grated cheese over the top and bake. We all would then have a pancake filled with mornay. We loved it. (for savoury crepes the sugar was left out).
      I am glad you are enjoying savings on fuel as we are. Ours was about $1.50 a litre now is $1. It is a huge saving! For me when I make a saving its then ten and twenty dollar notes I try and add back into my purse towards my pantry. Then look for really good specials with this and stretch it! But this is adding up!
      Another thing on the list Hilde gave me was whole grain crackers. As they can be used in place of bread ie with hummus, and as the crunch factor with lots of things.
      Today I am going to the supermarket to see what the shelf life is on many of these things.And adding tahini to my list!
      Thank you for these recipes and ideas! This has been a post with so many wonderful comments and ideas!
      Also if you have time read A Working Pantries post 3 in her series. Amazing. I was taking notes again.
      Many thanks Colette! xxx

  9. Annabel you have your own supermarket in that cellar! I think your herb tower is a great idea and I intend to make my own later on. Tinned tomato soup is one of my comfort foods and my husband enjoys baked beans. Thank you for putting me onto Patsi’s blog, it is another great resource. I have been learning so much from the both of you. And I just remembered I need to buy some additional gas cartridges for the camp cooker that we keep in case the power goes out. I have only one gas cartridge left. Tuna mornay has been my go to meal when I have forgotten to defrost meat for dinner. And I am going to try Mimi’s tuna recipe next time I forget to take meat from the freezer.

    My husband bought the green and gold cookbook a few years ago Annabel, it is very good. I must confess that my husband’s interest in cooking only developed after we got together, not because I am a bad cook but because in his words I am a “mess artist” and I “use every dish in the house” when I am cooking. Please do post the “beer” bread recipe. Reading about the biscuits/scones and gravy reminds me of when I was younger my sister used to ask me to make Yorkshire pudding and gravy which she would eat by itself – I like it as an accompaniment to roast beef.

    1. Sherri I wonder if Yorkshire pudding is the British version of biscuits and gravy, although the texture is different it is a bit the same and stretches meat and gravy!
      Ok here is Hilde's Beer bread.
      3 !/4 cups SR flour.
      1 tin of beer.
      Mix together until no lumps with a wooden spoon.
      You can add... herbs, garlic, spices, whatever you like.
      Cook in a large loaf tin.
      When you do this you can add half the dough and in the middle add a layer of creamed corn or cheese if you want.
      Otherwise add it all, form a loaf.
      Bake until golden and sounds hollow or skewer comes out.
      It is rough on top and beautiful and crunchy.
      It slices well and toasts beautifully. Hilde sprinkles paprika or herbs over the top before cooking.
      Her family of boys line up for this and order it for parties and things too!
      It is a bit of a miracle, it doesnt need time to rise just in it goes!

      Let me know how it goes! I am going to try it as it sounds fabulous!

      Thank you Sherri we have had a good week of progress! xxx

  10. Annabel another thing that can be made from basics is Soda Bread, it is often found mentioned by Irish Cooks.
    Check with your chemist about your ventolin - in some States you can get it over the counter without a prescription, also check and see what other medications you can get this way if you want to build up a stock pile.
    We have a small first aid kit and not a lot of extra things in the bathroom cabinet - DH will buy them, if given a chance but I found I was throwing a lot away because it was hardly used and it had gone out of date - you can often pick up duel purpose items from the chemist OR a health food shop.
    I always have salt on hand so never stock saline for washing wounds etc - just make it up myself when needed.
    I can remember my mother doing a massive buy up before they moved from the City to the Country - she had so much that she was still using it all after they moved back to the City again after they had been there a couple of years.
    She also had a massive stock of medications - went in and religously picked up medications for both her and dad - problem was that often the medications were changed after a couple of months and she had this huge stock that ended up being handed back in and the chemist had to get rid of it.
    Do not forget a stash of cash because if the power goes down the ATM's do not work and a lot of shops will close down as well.
    We use to have a cheap shop that stocked things like the chinese vegetables in tins and cheap tins of fruit but they went bust and no one else is doing the same. I have a few tins 'in case' in the pantry, which is a small cupboard, it took me ages to get use to it after having walk in pantries in our previous 2 houses.
    Hopefully that will change in the next couple of years and I will have the kitchen the way I want it then I can stock up on non perishable items.
    I use to check out the Christmas Hamper places (like Chrisco) for ideas on what to stock up on - tins of potatos was something that I hadn't thought of also you can use things like cous cous or noodles that just need boiling water or stock poured over them to create the base of something edible.
    Always good to have a test run before you need to use them so that you can just throw together something that really works.


    1. Dear Lynette thank you! I think tins of baby potatoes are a great idea! They could be added to many things! I am discovering there are a lot more things in tins that I ever dreamed or thought about.
      Hilde who showed me her pantry yesterday has taken over a large floor to ceiling laundry cupboard as her pantry. It is also filled in such a way that she has more in there than I think anyone else could manage! It is a good idea for anyone without an obvious pantry or big enough cupboards. It sounds like you will get yours though as you want it later on.
      I agree tried and tested things are what we should rely on. I am going to try and build up more pantry meals by testing them out as I go then if they are good keeping those ingredients. Also I agree it is vital to have cash. I have heard of so many times when ATMs are down and people are stuck! That is a real trap. And so easy to happen for many reasons.
      Thank you so much for your comment! xxx

  11. Hi Annabel, your stockpile is looking great. I'm sure it's a comfort to you to have it there.

    I've stockpiled for so many years that I can't even remember starting it. When Darren and I both lost our jobs in 2005, the first thing I did was count up how many pieces of meat I had in the freezer. I had over 50 so I knew we'd be ok for over two months. It took Darren two weeks to get another job then another week for his pay to go through. During that time we only bought milk, bread and a few fruit and vegies.

    1. Thank goodness you did stockpile Wendy and got through that time alright. You remind me of the Proverbs woman who is not afraid of the future. Well done! I know you would then have had to work to build your stockpile back up again as well. You inspire me very much. xxx

  12. Hi Annabel, The beer bread recipe from Hilde is what we use to make pizza bases. It will make 3 if rolled out well. We use a stubby and if a mouthful is missing it still works OK :)

    1. Thank you Barb! That is a fantastic tip. I didnt even think of it. I wonder if Hlide uses it for pizzas? I will let her know what you said.
      I wont ask how you know its ok with a mouthful missing! lol That sounds fair.

  13. Helen I forgot to include another IKEA food. Hilde buys heavy grain crisp breads...they are like a sayo biscuit except very grainy. She uses these in all kinds of things and says they are wonderful. And they keep ages.

  14. Hi Annabel
    Great to see your pantry starting up.
    This week and at the end of last week I went to Coles and bought the specials there so I have 14 bottles of 1 litre double concentrate cordial, not an essential but the girls like it and when I was very sick I could tolerate sips of it. It was less than half price. I also bought sanitary pads for DD17 saving $1.80 per packet (I got 6) .

    I did a Costco run and bought a lot there I am aiming for 6 months of supplies to begin with and extending to 12 months when possible. My end aim is to be in the position of bulk buying in January for the year for non food items. At Costco I got toilet paper, paper towels and tissues these last two I don't class as essentials but I do use them (DD17 has a phobia about using handkerchiefs). I also started with 6 cans of corn kernels, 6 cans of pineapple, 10 pounds of rolled oats (in the freezer but once frozen for a week or so can be kept in an airtight container) 1.5 kilo of Devondale butter (In the freezer), 150 metres of foil wrap and 150 metres of cling wrap, 12 litres of long life skim milk and tomorrow DD17's long life lactose free milk goes on sale so I will get some of that as well, curry powder, crackers, pretzels (we eat pretzels with corn relish dip every single family function so the kilo I bought will last this year), wet dog food, wet cat food and kitty litter (at least six months worth for under $8 ).

    I bought dried onion flakes about four years ago in bulk and it is still good and going strong along with dried Italian herbs. I also have some bread mixes which were cheaper than buying flour when I bought them as they were changing the packaging I will use these up and replace them with flour. Next on my list to collect is Milo (it is lactose free), flours, oil (I am down to my last litre), jam tin spaghetti and a few tin beans. I do have dried bean mixes but not a lot. I am low on meat so that is the next goal for this coming week to at least get a month's worth. I do have a fair amount of tin tuna and a friend told me dried potato flakes are good for bulking out meals like tuna patties etc so I think I may try them and see how I go. I do have some water but not enough. I already have 5 kilos of rice and a good amount of dried pasta. I am thinking some Passata is good to have so will look for some soon.

    I might just suggest that when stocking up besides looking at medication (I have three months worth stockpiled and six month's worth of DD17's medication) that Paracetemol and Aspirin are good to have and both can be used well past their best before date. I do have three lots of anti biotics in stock as well. The other thing that is great and useful when you cannot access medication over the counter is Tea Tree Oil (a natural antiseptic) and Black Strap Molasses. Here in Australia we are blessed to have a good natural supply of black strap molasses. Please google it's uses they are numerous but I used it for severe Eczema. You take it orally two tablespoons a night and when all other remedies from the chemist and doctor failed it came through. Betadine is good to have (not if you are allergic to shell fish then use iodine). I also have 15 crepe bandages.These can be used and then rewashed. They are good for wounds but also for swelling and first aid emergencies such as spider and snake bites.

    I too will begin to look at meals that can be made out of the pantry. I do have an endless supply of firewood nearby and we have a fire brazier for cooking on. Thank you for the great ideas.

    1. Mel what a stock up you have had! That is wonderful. I am very interested in Costco and must talk about it more with you.
      I am also waiting for Adelaide to have Aldi. When we do I will get Helen to write about it as she cut her overall groceries in half with Aldi! Amazing!
      Thank you for the info on Blackstrap Molasses. I googled it. I am impressed and will get some. Also my niece has eczema and Chloe is prone too it when under stress or run down.

      I totally agree about regular pain killers and first aid items. The extra bandages are a very good idea. I might try and build up my supplies. I do buy Betadine and also Medi Pulv..? I really like that.
      You reminded me of dehydrated onion and what a good thing that is! I bough bags from Giganni Bros.? Hindmarsh and it was so handy to add to stews etc especially when there was too much liquid as it soaked that up as it re hydrated. Wonderful stuff!
      Your week of stocking up was really good. I must ask where you keep your bulk supplies? One day I think we need a send in pantry and storage photos challenge!
      Have a good day tomorrow for the last day of the week. You have been very productive and have given me things to add to my list. xxxx

  15. I don't have a pantry at the moment so I have some shelves in the laundry and the top of my built in wardrobe is full of items and I have bulk washing powder under my bed. I have a spot where the pantry will go I am just needing some funds to make it happen. I bought my dried onions at the same place. Dried mushrooms are good as well they keep for years and when hydrated by placing them in boiling water for a few minutes the water is then full of anti oxidants and great to throw in a stew or soup. Dried mushrooms I have also had before for years and if kept dry they are fine to use. Time for me to buy some more.


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