Day 5 – Final day of Live Below the Line -97p

02 May

What a week!

It has been humbling to see how many people have offered to feed me.  Thank you all for your kind thoughts and willingness to be generous.  I’m sure if I had taken up their offers I would have eaten better this week than normal.  However, the rules of the ‘Live Below the Line’ challenge say you can’t accept donated food so I struggled on.  However, I’d like to encourage all those who offered me food to use the money that they would have spent on that to sponsor me, so that those who are really hungry benefit (see link below).

I’m starting to get better at knowing what I can cook at a small cost now and am making the most of my reduced vegetables.

Today I started off with a filling bowl of porridge (see Day 1’s recipe) costing 16p. This has been by far the best breakfast in terms of both cost and filling me up.


Lunch was a repeat of yesterday’s dinner of Vegetable Fried Rice.  However, I went round to a friends and we shared the portion (although I’m sure I had more than she did) so I guess I ate 20p worth.

That gave me 64p for dinner wow!! Just shows how when you share you are blessed! I felt almost rich….

I decided to make the most of the cheap veg I had bought yesterday, reduced in Coop, and make an adaptation of mashed swede (9p).

  • Half a swede, chopped (4p)
  • Half an onion, sliced (1p)
  • 2/3 tbs of oil (2p)
  • Pinch of cumin seeds,1/2 tsp of coriander powder, 1/2 tsp of garam masala powder and salt to taste. (2p)


Boil the swede until soft, drain and mash.

Heat the oil, add the cumin seeds, when they crackle add the onion and fry for a minute.

Add the coriander powder and then stir in the mashed swede, mixing it with the onions.

Add a pinch of garam masala and salt to taste.

This was served with a portion of rice (11p) and some Channa Dal (14p).

  • 70 grams of Channa Dal (7p)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water of water with a pinch of turmeric (1p)
  • 1/2 a small onion (1p)
  • 1tsp of cumin seeds (1p)
  • 1 clove of garlic, squashed and sliced (2p)
  • 2/3 tbsp of oil (2p)
  • Salt to taste


Put the channa dal, water, salt and turmeric in a pressure cooker and boil for for 20 mins or until soft. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker then soak the dal overnight and then boil in a saucepan until soft.)

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the cumin seeds; when they crackle add the onion and garlic, fry until crisp then add to the dal and mix well.



That gave me a huge plate of food for just 34p!  I’m getting the hang of this now 😉 and still had an amazing 30p left!!  At last, I could have the can of coke that I had been longing for all week out of the multipack I bought last Saturday, it worked out at 27p per can and tasted great.  You certainly appreciate things when you have not had them for a while.  And still 3p left!!

This week has made me think a lot about diet, how expensive it is to eat healthily and how essential it is to be able to cook with basic ingredients.  When I think of the obesity problem in the UK among the poor its often because the cheap food in our supermarkets is not the food that is good for us.  After all, I could have spent my pound on a large pack of doughnuts or a pack of 4 mars bars.  But eating healthily on a budget took lots of forethought and planning, as well as cooking skill.  Fruit and veg are expensive!

If the government want to really focus on the health of the poor then my recommendation would be that all children are taught in school not just how to cook, but how to cook healthy meals and a balanced diet on a budget.  ‘Living on a budget’ cookery lessons could be provided free of charge to all those who are on benefits or on a low income to help them maximise the use of their meager funds.

Next year I’m going to challenge all my colleagues at The Leprosy Mission to join me on this challenge (so gang, beware!).  In the meantime, I’d like to finish this series of blogs by saying a big thank you to all of you who have sponsored me.

thanks2If you have not got round to it yet then don’t forget to log on to to support the lifesaving work of ChildHope or donate to another charity that works with the poorest of the poor, such as All We Can or The Leprosy Mission

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Posted by on May 2, 2014 in cooking


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