Living Below the Line – Day 5

Posted: May 3, 2014 in food, poverty
Tags: , , , ,


Final day, thank goodness! And with the sun shining brightly, my mood was lifted for the final 24 hours of the #BelowTheLine challenge – although the thought of having to miss out on the monthly Boilershop Steamer event is rather depressing…

No matter, who needs pulled pork, lamb shwarma and charcoal grilled monkfish, when there’s a potato, half a carrot and some week old mushrooms to be eaten? Ready, Steady, Cook has got nothing on this!

Potato and Parsnip patties with garlic mushrooms

1/2 Potato – 4p
1/4 Onion – 5p
1/2 Parsnip – 3p
1/2 Stock Cube – 1p
Plus a sprig of oregano from the garden and a splash of oil

2 Cloves Garlic – 4p
Handful Mushrooms – 11p
Plus a few slivers of carrot for garnish

Total Cost – 28p

Grate the root veg and crumble half a stock cube into the resulting mush. Season with salt and pepper and form into two round patties. Fry in a little oil over medium/low heat until browned on the bottom and firm enough to turn over. At this point add the chopped garlic and give it a stir until it takes on some colour. Add chopped mushrooms and warm through – by which time the other side of the patty should be done.

I decided to treat myself to a little home made green tomato chutney as an ideal accompaniment. It’s not really cheating, as I grew the tomatoes, and was given the onions from a friend’s allotment. And I tell you what, as cheap lunches go, that was really good!



Dhal, greens with ginger and chilli, flatbread

For my last supper, I decided on more dhal (recipe as per Day 1) to finish off the lentils and dough, and the last of the cabbage, ginger and lemon went into a simple stirfry on the side:

Shredded Cabbage – 10p
1 Clove Garlic – 2p
1/4 Lemon – 4p
Sliver of Ginger – 2p

Chop, season, stir fry and add a good squeeze of lemon juice. That’s it!

Total Cost – 52p

And again, I’d be happy to serve that to a guest, it was tasty and quite nutritious.

Total cost for the day is 80p and I’m feeling quite full and contented!


Saturday Morning Postscript

Firstly, special thanks to everyone who has donated, and also to those who have followed and supported across the various social media channels. Without the words of encouragement on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and G+, I wouldn’t have made it through the week – and knowing you were watching has kept me honest. Apart from about 15p worth of cooking oil and a couple of teaspoons of spice, I’ve had nothing to eat or drink apart from what was in my initial shopping.

Even counting that, I’ve come in just under budget, and amazingly enough, there’s half a pan of dhal, 150g of spaghetti, 2 carrots, 2 parsnips, a potato, 4 stock cubes and some mushrooms left! That’s enough to have kept me going another couple of days, at a push. No way – I’ve enjoyed the challenge, but I’m going for bacon, cheese, coffee and beer!

A few people have asked if I’m wasting away, and unfortunately the answer is no. I’ve not felt particularly hungry, and neither gained nor lost any weight. What calories I’ve saved from having no beer, chocolate and cheese have been counteracted by the huge carb load. I wouldn’t normally eat pasta or potatoes more than once a week – but you can’t afford fresh salmon and asparagus on a pound a day. Oh, and I don’t feel any better at all for having no alcohol all week…

As of this morning, I had reached, in fact slightly exceeded my target of £250, so thank you – from me, from the good people at #BelowTheLine, and Malaria No More who are my chosen charity partner. I know you get bombarded from all sides with requests for donations, sponsorships etc. these days, so I’m very grateful.

I promise there will be no more food photos for a while too, although I must admit I’ve quite enjoyed doing them!

Cheers, Paul 🙂



And finally, although I’ve reached my target, it’s not too late to chip in with a couple of quid if you haven’t already sponsored me!



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