For those of you who want to have a go…

Below is the list of what I actually bought, the prices, and the meals we ate last week. I shopped locally from a small farmer, at Lidl and at Tesco. My husband, Anthony, joined me in this challenge, which actually made it easier, as to formulate a budget based on £14.00 is much kinder than for one person on £7.00. You have far more options, as most foodstuffs have to be bought in quantity. You have to measure out and decide how much of the oats, rice and curry once you have made it before you start eating, to make sure you don’t run out before the end of the week. Happy Eating!

Menu Plan:

Breakfast:

Porridge, made with oats, water, desiccated coconut, and a teaspoon of honey.

Lunch:

Vegetable soup, made with potatoes, leek, swede, carrot, onion, garlic and cabbage, flavoured with oregano. Flat breads made with flour, veg oil and water.

Dinner:

Chick pea and Lentil curry, made with chick peas, lentils, onions, garlic, swede, cabbage and curry powder. Plus flat bread with lemon curd.

There is lemon for hot water and lemon drinks, plus we will try to pick some blackberries from the countryside so that we have some fruit; the budget would not stretch to buying any.

So far as I can see, there are only 2 glaring omissions from food groups; meat and dairy. Meat was not such a problem, as we had protein from the chick peas and lentils, and we were not too short on vitamin c as we had vegetables and lemon.

Shopping List:

From Local Farmer:

2.5 kg Bag of potatoes: £1.00

1 Large cabbage £0.50

2 Leek £0.20

From Lidl:

2 x 1kg Bags White Rice £0.80

1 kg Red Lentils: £0.95

Salt: £0.19

1 kg White Onions £0.59

1 Bag Desiccated Coconut £0.89

1 Jar Honey £1.35

Oregano £0.49

2 x tins Chopped Tomatoes £0.62

1 Bag White Flour £0.45

1 Large Swede £0.89

From Tesco:

1 Kg Porridge Oats £0.75

1 Bulb Garlic £0.30

2 Lemons £0.60

Curry Powder £0.85

Vegetable Oil £0.75

500g Dried Chick Peas £1.15

0.43kg Carrots £0.32

Jar Lemon Curd £0.22

TOTAL FOR WEEK – £13.86

This brought it in under budget, leaving us 14p, with which to allow 1 tea bag per day between us, at 2p per tea bag (from a box of Lidl Fair trade tea Bags, at £1.35 for 80).

Cooking for the ‘Week Without’

Delicious Vegetable Soup

Delicious Vegetable Soup

I was surprised to find myself rather nervous about cooking these recipes yesterday, probably because if I made a hash of it, we would be even more ‘without’, or eating slop for the week! However, as I have made plenty of soup in my time, that recipe presented no challenges, and the end result was a tasty, chunky vegetable soup that hopefully will keep us satisfied through the next few days; I have the rest of the ingredients for the other batch stored in the fridge. I didn’t use all of the potatoes I thought I would need, which gives me the option of possibly running up some potato pancakes later on, if we get desperate for something more substantial – highly exciting! I didn’t expect to have leftovers at all. The soup is not as thick as I would normally make, but certainly nutritious and tasty, and we have an enormous pan, so Anthony can tuck in if he needs to; he is working for the first 3 days of this week, and may need extra portions.

 

Making the curry was slightly more complicated, as working with red lentils can be tricky – they have a tendency to stick and burn unless carefully watched. I decided to carefully and slowly fry the onions first, allowing them to sweeten and soften, before adding a bit more oil, garlic, and then the lentils, stirring all the time. The swede and cabbage were cooked prior to this, and the cooking water then added to the lentils, along with the curry powder, tomatoes and cooked chick peas, and the mixture watched and stirred carefully throughout, with a little extra water added where needed. The result is a filling, nutritious and flavoursome curry, albeit not as full of flavour as I would normally produce, but adequate for this week nonetheless. I don’t think I have ever watched a curry more carefully in all my life! Half of the mixture has been frozen, in readiness for the latter half of the week.

 

Either of these meals can be served with home made flatbreads, which I will make fresh as I go along, and flavour with either oregano for the soup, or curry powder for the curry.

 

I am soaking each portion of the oats for breakfast overnight, to make them softer. I did add the coconut to last night’s portion, but I think this may have been a mistake, as we really could not taste the coconut much this morning. Also, the portion size was far too large for me; I only could manage half of it, so I will cut it down for tomorrow. Anthony ate all of his (what a trouper!) despite not enjoying it at all. Clearly this week is not going to be a journey of gastronomic delights! I was running my finger along the edge of the bowl, for any last vestige of honey, and was rewarded with a smudge of it; it was a little bit of heaven after the fairly tasteless porridge.

 

Hot lemon and water was much more of a hit, and very enjoyable. I thought I would miss the sweetness of sugar, and maybe crave a bit of honey in it, but actually didn’t need it. It was just lovely to have a hot drink. Anthony has an allowance of one teabag a day, and tried his first cup with a slice of lemon, but really didn’t enjoy it at all, and preferred the lemon water. The tea is medicinal for him though, as having weaned himself off coffee this week, he does still need a bit of caffeine to see him through work without any withdrawal symptoms. We are both drinking plenty of water in between meals, carrying around a water bottle and refilling from taps.

 

I suspect the issue for us is not so much one of hunger, but of boredom of eating the same thing every day; it will be interesting to see if and when this kicks in. But so far, so good, and we’re looking forward to hot soup and flat breads for lunch!