This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 1…Flours and Sugars…

Welcome to my kitchen where anything goes…I made a few changes last week and didn’t that go well?

Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…

We all need a well-stocked store cupboard…Of things we use and maybe just a few we don’t use so often but keep and store well…

It takes time (and) money to build up a store cupboard so I am breaking down into easy stages…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Don’t they always though…haha


You are reading a recipe and come across something you have never heard of or know it is ridiculously expensive and doesn’t store well…It is well worth the time learning what you can substitute for an ingredient and often it doesn’t alter the taste at all …I will do a post on substitutes at a later date…But always do your research don’t let one ingredient put you off making a recipe…

Staples range from flour, sugar, canned goods, oils, rice, pasta, dried herbs, stock cubes(bouillon)...Today I am starting with flours and sugars…


store cupboard flour

Photo credit: kev_walsh on / CC BY-NC-SA

A kitchen essential which is used in both sweet and savoury dishes…from baking cakes and pastries, pasta making, thickening gravy and making sauces…

The flour milling industry is one of the oldest manufacturing processes in the world…But with the changes and additions to flour and bread-making, some of it is akin to eating tasteless cardboard. Home baking is on the rise again…

Before I list the different flours and sugars I will add that I use unbleached flours and also check the origin of the flours I buy but for the purpose of a list of food basics, I am just mentioning uses not origins etc…The post would be too long and that isn’t the purpose of this post…

Cornflour/Cornstarch…Is a very fine white flour used to thicken sauces/gravies and also used to stabilise egg-based mixtures to stop it curdling.

Wheat Flours…Most recipes call for plain( all-purpose) flour. For recipes which call for a raising agent… self-raising flour has added raising agents. Wholemeal flour is available as both plain and self-raising. Flour labelled as a strong bread flour has more gluten and is suitable for making bread.

Gluten-free flours…For those with a diagnosed allergy to gluten which is found in wheat and other grains …Gluten-free flour is available from most supermarkets and health food stores.

Rice Flour…Rice flour (also rice powder) is a form of flour made from finely milled rice. It is distinct from rice starch, which is usually produced by steeping rice in lye. Rice flour is a common substitute for wheat flour. It is also used as a thickening agent in recipes that are refrigerated or frozen since it inhibits liquid separation.

Rice flour is used a lot here where I live to make the lightest of sponges which are also gluten-free…it is also what I use as a thickening agent instead of cornflour.

Raising Agents…Baking powder can be added to plain flour to give a lighter texture to cakes and biscuits( cookies). The powder works as it reacts to the liquids and heat during the cooking process which produces carbon dioxide bubbles which in turn makes the mixture rise.

Baking Soda is also a leavening agent BUT they are used for different purposes…The differences

Sugars…Refined and raw sugars are used to sweeten and flavour many different dishes…cakes, bakes, pastries, cookies, desserts and even savoury just a little sugar brings out the sweetness of the tomato.

Brown sugar…Dark, unrefined sugars have a rich caramel flavour. There are quite a few different types of brown sugar…Light and dark muscovado (brown) sugar and dark molasses sugar. The rule of thumb is the darker the sugar the more intense the flavour. Palm sugar is my sugar of choice here and quite recently I came across banana flower sugar.

Castor sugar/superfine sugar…Is a fine-grained white sugar which is used in baking cakes and biscuits( cookies)

Demerara/raw sugar… A large crystalized sugar with a rich, slightly honeyish flavour. It is great for adding texture to cookies( biscuits) and coffee.

Granulated sugar…This refined white sugar has large crystals. It is used for sweetening drinks and everyday cooking, it can also be used as a crunchy cookie or cake topping…lovely mixed with lemon or orange juice and poured on top of a warm cake…It gives a lovely citrus crunch. It can also be used in a crumble topping for extra texture.

Icing/Confectioners sugar…The finest of all refined sugars this sugar has a powdery texture and is ideal for dusting cakes, confectionery, desserts and cookies(biscuits) such a sim0le effective decoration especially if feathered or a stencil is used. It is also used for making icing for caked or sweetening flavoured creams…

If you are setting up your store cupboard from scratch I would first decide on a suitable dry, dark cupboard and make sure you have adequate containers.

Source some favourite recipes and write your list…Before you go out and buy a great deal on flour or sugar check the shelf life there is no good buying cheap money saving packets by the kilo if you don’t bake cakes often …Start small and monitor how it goes…what do you the most of? we all use more of certain food staples than others so don’t stuck with something you hardly ever use…

For example, I use more rice flour and raw sugar than I do icing sugar…SO I buy small because it is so humid here it goes hard and lumpy.

Although it is lovely to have a well-stocked pantry( store) cupboard it is not exactly fun reading is it and I always like to inject a little fun into my posts…This short clip made me laugh out loud it was so funny…Not a show I have watched I just chanced upon the clip…I hope you find it as funny as I did…


Thank you for joining me in  my kitchen I hope you have some fun xx

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

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Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a lovely weekend  xx

14 thoughts on “This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 1…Flours and Sugars…

  1. lievelee

    Hmmm… Just on my way back to Vietnam and I am wondering what my store cupboard there will consist of. Much more basic than the list you have compiled here. I have taken your advice on board though and filled my suitcase with at least some spices plus other food items to allow some variation: bulghur wheat and giant couscous, red lentils, puy lentils… Rice and noodles become a tad tedious after a while. Luckily, there is no lack of variation on the green vegetable side…


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2…My weekly roundup…Fuss Free flavours, Travel and recipes | Retired? No one told me!

  3. rosered1952

    Good advice Carol, I always try to keep my pantry filled. I was wondering if your products are organic. The packaging looks like it came from an organic store. I tried to buy organic a few years ago but became too expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I do weigh up the cost, Rose…Sometimes I buy organic but if it is very expensive and I don’t use it too often then I buy norma but I do always buy unbleached flour which isn’t always that much more expensive..I think anything in moderation can’t do too much harm it is when we eat it day in day out and in large amounts it can be problematic 🙂


  4. Norah

    You’ve got a good list of basics there, Carol. I must admit that I don’t do a lot of baking any more, so don’t have much in my pantry. I’m also shocked at the very old use-by dates on items in my pantry and fridge each time I do a cleanout. I think I do it evey year or so, but when some things date back to last century (not really) it’s hard to believe I do. 🙂
    Thoroughly enjoyed the video. I’m inclined to agree.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I loved the video she is not someone I watch it just came up on my timeline and it made me laugh…I loved the tsp and tbsp…I know that feeling Norah but I am getting better especially now I make much more I use my herbs and spices quite quickly which is good…Have a great weekend 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person


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