Living off less than £2.10 each day for food and drink while raising awareness of UK food poverty.
This week I am taking the Food Cycle Breadline Challenge to help raise awareness of UK food poverty and raise money for Food Cycle’s food hubs located around the country. They take surplus food, spare kitchens and volunteers and make healthy, nutritious, three course meals for those who need them.
Today… I suffered from caffeine withdrawal.
7:30am: Wake up. The first thought that goes through my head (after pondering the really weird dreams I was just having – I was pouring caustic materials down the sink drain trying to get rid of the little demon monster living down there ??!!) was….. no coffee! For the first time in at least 12 years I am not starting my morning with 1 to 3 cups of coffee. I admit, I’m a little apprehensive of the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, but, there was no money in the budget for coffee. I chose to get fresh garlic and ginger to flavour my dishes instead.
8:10 Packing the children’s lunchboxes and feeling grateful that I am not doing this with the food I’ve bought for this challenge this week.
8:34 The hot water isn’t that bad, to be honest! Claire over at Foodie Quine just suggested I put in a little sliver of my fresh ginger. A fab idea!
9:00 Just back from the school run and made a loaf of brown bread with no salt and no sugar (none in the budget). We’ll see how it turns out. Used the flour I sprinkled on the table to knead the bread to flour the baking tray (usually I throw it out and use fresh flour to sprinkle on the tray).
10:30 Breakfast after morning exercise program (I’m trying to lose some extra weight). Porridge made with skimmed milk and water with defrosted fruit salad and sultanas on top. Feeling filled up after this nice tasty breakfast which came in at just under 35p. Yep, I can do this.
11:50 I desperately want a cup of hot coffee.
12:15 The most gorgeously risen brown bread loaf has just come out of the oven. How will it taste?
1:00 Testing out Jack Monroe’s budget minestrone soup recipe with a few adaptations: I’m using vegetable stock instead of chicken, and 40 grams of fresh kale instead of frozen spinach. No mixed herbs (not in budget) so I threw in a handful of parsley from the garden.
The soup is fantastic! A proper hearty bowlful too. I was skeptical at using rinsed budget baked beans like Jack suggests and initially sought to replace them with tinned cannelini, but the budget baked beans were half the price of the other beans. It works really well! My ingredients priced up a penny less per portion than Jack’s, 18p per bowl. The remaining three portions will be frozen for later in the week. [Edit – I froze one portion for myself and my husband scoffed the other two when he came home from work – he loved it!]
TIP: Keep an eye out in the fresh herb section of the supermarket – sometimes you can get them for super cheap when they’re out of date. I bought a parsley plant in a pot several years ago, used up all the parsley off the top and plonked the roots in my garden and it keeps growing back every year. It’s a massive plant now and even in late November I can still pick it fresh. I bought 7 bags of coriander reduced to 1p earlier this year, washed them and stored them in the freezer. When I need some for a recipe I open the plastic tub in the freezer and grab a handful.
13:45 I am really, really tired. I had enough sleep last night so I think it might be the lack of caffeine. Struggling to concentrate on my work as well.. but I must plod on instead of taking a nap!
15:10 Pounding headache starting despite drinking plenty of water. Hot water with a slice of fresh ginger root alleviated it somewhat.
16:30 Really struggling to concentrate on my work. Desperately need a coffee. Can’t I just have one cup of that really lovely filter blend I was sent to review? Also – very hungry.
17:00 Dinner – A generous helping of smoked peppered mackerel fried rice with veg. I wanted to put more veg in it and realized that if I did I wouldn’t have enough vegetables to last me the week. I made a double batch so I can reheat the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. It’s not the prettiest meal in the world but it tasted fine and certainly filled a gap. You know, it’s not nice enough to share the recipe for but I priced it up at £1.04 per portion.
18:30 Feeling really foggy brained and nearly caved in and swapped a garlic clove for one of my husband’s tea bags, but realised that would be cheating and opted for another cup of hot water with a slice of ginger in it. I can’t emphasize how much I am struggling with this caffeine withdrawal. Why oh why didn’t I buy that 50p Tesco instant coffee?! Ate 30 grams of raisins instead (5p).
Do you know where I could have been tonight?
I could have been being wined and dined among Dublin’s finest restaurateurs. I was invited to attend an all expenses paid foodie event in Ireland tonight. I’m Canadian. I need my passport to get to Ireland, my UK driving license just wouldn’t do. My passport expired a week before we got married this year and I let it, as I was planning to renew it in my new married name. Canadian passports are expensive (around £300 if I recall correctly) so after the expense of the wedding I just left it for now, as we weren’t planning on leaving the country any time soon. Kicking myself about that much?
Ach well. If I’d made it to Dublin I wouldn’t be doing this Breadline Challenge with Food Cycle and raising money for their vital work. £80 already guys, thank you so very much!!
So, today I spent £1.68 in total on food and drink for myself. I felt full enough and was no more hungry than I normally am just before dinner. I struggled not to tuck into my daughter’s leftover chocolate birthday cake from her big party on Saturday past, and the fresh fruit in the fridge looked really, really tempting.
Lack of coffee was by far the biggest thing for me today. I really struggled with that and after I hit publish on this blog post I’m going to curl up on the couch in my pjs and watch tv. I’m mentally and physically drained.
Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary with match, pound for pound, up to £200 the amount raised for Food Cycle via my Virgin Money Giving Page to donate to the Shetland Food Bank for their Christmas Food Parcels. Around 60 Shetland families will be supported by these food parcels this festive season.
About Food Cycle:
£50 will help them serve healthy, nutritious three course meals for 100 people. Follow @FoodCycle on Twitter using the hashtag #BreadlineChallenge to keep up to date.
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