Almond, polenta and oats are the home cook’s best kitchen friends when plain and self-raising flour are hard to find

For those of us summoned to our kitchens by lockdown, baking has become a welcome pastime with rewarding results. Now, I don’t consider myself much of a baker, but my scales have never been busier than in recent weeks. I have made no fewer than five double batches of Alison Roman’s tiny salty chocolatey cookies, Anna Jones’ rhubarb biscuits, Milli Taylor’s now famed brown butter banana bread, Rosie Birkett’s rhubarb and white chocolate blondies, Rachel Roddy’s almond tart, and her ricotta and lemon cake.

It’s been a journey of ups (see above) and downs, which range from the physical aspect – although no one’s seeing me below the shoulders, so whatevs – to the various shortages: first eggs, now flour, which has rendered all of the above impossible. What to do without a free-flowing supply of plain or self-raising? Well, plenty of things actually; in ingredients such as ground almonds, polenta, oats and coconut, the baker not only finds an effective stand-in for flour, but a distinct flavour profile and a whole new world of textures. Broaden your kitchen horizons with this baker’s dozen of flourless fancies from our archive.

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