Today, as I am smashing ripe buttery avocado onto toasted bread, and whisking up my ‘essential’ matcha tea (how I’ve missed you), you may be pondering just how to make that crumpled fiver last five days. The Live Below The Line challenge: Did you sign up? Good.
As I wrote in the last post, eating and drinking on £1 a day brought out my creativity and a bit of pioneer spirit (minus the wood chopping and home dentistry), but the challenge also reinforced how fortunate I am not to have to do this day in and day out. I really don’t know how I would cope if I were to – through need and not awareness-raising – have to live so frugally, and without any end in sight. I would like to think that as with many things I would just get stuck in and make the best of it. But when your situation feels unjust and hopeless… I have never experienced anything like that. And of course I hope my family and I never do.
Anyway, this whole week has given me much to ponder on. I understand from some comments on the blog, on social media and in person, that my week has made some of you think deeply also. Not only about what you would actually eat, but about the situations of others less fortunate than ourselves; about what we really think is important; about how much we waste. I think I am pretty good with menu planning and waste, but honestly, I don’t have much of a clue. But I have made a stab at it, and my week of living below the line is listed below.
All of us have different tastes, so your week’s shopping and menu will probably be different to mine. But hopefully you will find my take on Living Below The Line helpful, and give you some ideas – whether you are taking the challenge or not. I won’t lie, it will be somewhat repetitive – as the limited shopping will convey. And it may challenge your digestion – our guts don’t like sudden changes. But it needn’t be boring or without culinary merit.
If you are doing the challenge, please let me know. Let us ALL know. I would love to find out what you have planned. Or, if you aren’t doing the challenge, do pass on some frugal tips that will make the week – and beyond – easier. And, if you can make a way of fitting avocado on toast and a serious matcha tea habit fit into a £1 a day budget, I will come over and make you dinner. Avocado growers need not apply…. 🙂
TOTAL SPENT: £4.49, leaving me with 51 pence for spices, accounting for my homegrown veg, some oil (which may not be allowed on some challenges, so check). The oil is not necessary for any of my recipes.
MY “LIVE BELOW THE LINE” MENU
Monday: Breakfast – 1 poached egg, kale from the garden, steamed and mixed with some turmeric powder, plus half a banana; Lunch – porridge with half a banana + 1 tbsp peanut butter; Dinner – er, I was at a wedding and ate what was served. Water to drink.
Tuesday: Breakfast – porridge, mashed half a banana + peanut butter, all swirled in (quite nice actually); Lunch – a big soup of poached egg, boiled frozen veg with added stock cube for seasoning, chopped wild garlic, pinch of turmeric and some boiled rice; Dinner – Spicy Peanut Butter Soup with Roti (Flatbread), plus boiled nettles on the side for some vitamins (free food!); the other half of the morning banana. Water to drink.
Wednesday: Breakfast – porridge with peanut butter, mashed banana and cinnamon; Lunch – Roti with garden kale and chard, with a fried egg; Dinner – more Spicy Peanut Butter soup and roti. Water to drink.
Thursday: Breakfast – Roti with half a tin of baked beans (the other half will go into dinner), chard from the garden (or you could use picked nettles) and a fried egg; Lunch – Porridge, and a side of frozen vegetables with added turmeric and stinging nettles done as a simple soup; Dinner – Wild Garlic Soup with Roti, plus a banana later on and some hot water to drink.
Friday: Breakfast – Roti topped with banana ‘spread’. I made this fluffy and really quite nice topping by chopping half a banana and adding it to a bowl with a tbsp of peanut butter, some cinnamon and some water. I heated this in the microwave for 30 seconds and mashed it. This was a way of making heavy ingredients light and really quite nice. I topped this with more slices of banana. I will definitely do this more often. Lunch – Hard-boiled egg with cooked rice and frozen vegetable stir-fry (turmeric, cumin and cayenne added). Dinner – The last of the Wild Garlic Soup, plus a roti. Water to drink.
Thoughts on the ingredients: The roti idea was a bit of a winner for this week. They proved to be very versatile, but I will be quite happy not to have one for awhile! As for the oats, I could have been more creative with them and made them into bread too, but I was happy with the roti. All of my staple items would go further if doing this for more than one person as the initial outlay when you won’t necessarily be eating everything up was a bit steep. I would perhaps have swapped rice for potatoes as I would have finished them up no problem. I do prefer rice to potatoes though. If you are able to liven up the diet a bit with some foraged foods then this will make the week a lot more interesting and add some needed freshness and vitamins into the diet. I would also have liked to have made a wild garlic and dandelion frittata with some cooked rice added in, but I didn’t get round to it (where are the dandelions??). I think I’ll make that this week even though I can eat what I wish. The biggest hit was the Spicy Peanut Butter Soup, but we also really love this incredibly simple Wild Garlic Soup. Make it less frugal by adding some mushrooms, and with sustaining protein by adding a poached egg or cubes of silken tofu to each serving. If you don’t have wild garlic/ransoms then use spinach and add a clove of crushed fresh garlic. Wild garlic smells much more pungent than it tastes.
PS: There’s still time to sign up to do the Live Below The Line yourself/with colleagues, and to donate to Health Poverty Action. The official 5 days is from April 27-May 1.
Wild Garlic Soup
This is incredibly frugal but tastes fantastic. As with my previous soup in this series, it was made to fit in with my £1 a day budget for the Live Below The Line campaign. Make it more luxe by using a wild and white rice mix, adding a splash of cream, and adding more protein with a poached egg per serving, or cubes of silken tofu. If you don’t have wild garlic/ransoms, baby spinach and a minced clove of garlic will work nearly as well. Even if you miss out on the cheap thrill of finding free food!
1.5 litre (6 & 1/3 cups) hot vegetable stock (I used a stock cube)
90-100g (1/2 cup) of white rice or wild and white rice mix
1/2 tin of baked beans, rinsed
100g (3 packed cups), wild garlic leaves and stems, washed and roughly chopped
Method: Add the rice to the stock and bring to the boil; turn down to simmer and cook for 10 minutes, then add in the rinsed beans and wild garlic. Let the soup simmer for a further couple of minutes, serving when the rice is cooked through and soft.
44 thoughts on “Wild Garlic Soup + My #LiveBelowTheLine Menu”
These are such creative recipes and you managed a surprising amount of green-ness on the budget. Really interesting read, thanks!
What a great challenge and I know while its very different doing it by choice and knowing there is an end to it makes it very different from real situations of poverty, I bet it was still really difficult to stick to. I love the fact you have shared your meals that you ate. Very good ideas, I will do it later in the year when the kids are off at uni. When I want to save money I normally revert to eating lots of lentils.
I’ve never used wild garlic leaves. Pretty
I was planning on doing this challenge next week!
I have some wild garlic growing in the garden, plus there’s also some growing in some woodland near our house so I love this soup idea!
You’ve been really creative! It just shows you that you can eat healthily without spending a fortune (although, granted, the meals will be a little repetitive!)
Lorna | naturally-bee.blogspot.co.uk |
This sounds like an awesome challenge! It would be so difficult!
I love the color and textures of your food! The soup sounds amazing!
Very interesting, you did an amazing job, far more creative than most people would have been I should imagine?
Thanks so much, Elaine. I have taken some of the lessons I learned forward and am trying to incorporate them into my daily life. Trying being the operative word. I need to reign in my “spoiled lady” tendencies a bit 😉
I am SO incredibly inspired by your Live Below The Line posts and shopping lists/recipes Kellie!! I am currently working wih a college student who wants to gain weight and is eating on a budget. Even though he is on a budget, he has quite a bit more to spend than your budget here, and I am still challenged to come up with healthy, nutrient dense foods that stick within his budget. Kudos to you!!!
Ooh, teenage boys are SO hard to fill up! That IS a challenge on a budget, EA. Best wishes helping him, but I don’t think you need my luck, you clever lady you. 🙂
So interesting! You certainly made your meals beautiful. This is very inspiring and thought provoking.
This is an amazing picture! The recipe sounds really nice, thanks for sharing 🙂
I have to say, although I don’t read many food blogs, yours is perfection. I love it. You have completely inspired me to try and live under a £5, and still make gorgeous food. The wild garlic soup sounds amazing and the pictures are beautiful.
Thank you very much for this. You have made my day! I need to update my Index but I do hope you have a look around and find more of interest. 🙂
I would definitely struggle with this. Don’t like bananas, not a huge fan of porridge, PB I can take only in small doses. Thanks for a very enlightening post – Kat
DO you know what? I don’t really like bananas, porridge or peanut butter that much either! But they were the best/most nutritious I could get on the small budget I had. I have learned to like porridge (I have a few recipes in my archive that have helped!), but I do prefer almond butter to peanut butter, and just about any other fruit to bananas! But they did add a nice sweetness that would otherwise be missing that week. Back to my favourite foods now, thank goodness.
Fabulous post, Kellie… tell me, where did find the wild garlic leaves?
Hi Liz. We are lucky as they grow pretty abundantly in Britain and Northern Europe. I just walk to a nearby river with scissors and a bag and snip as much as I like. But, failing that, they can be found at farmers markets here in the UK. They go by other names elsewhere, so you may have them but call them something else.
The soup is just lovely!
Oh my goodness, Kellie. Kudos to you, you have done this challenge justice and put so much effort in raising awareness and showing how far a little care and thought can get you with few resources. You’re proving that it’s not about the resources we have but how we approach a situation and our choice in attitude.
Thanks so much Katie. I’m glad that you took the time to read through this. I am pretty glad that I chose to do it this year, although it took up far too much of my brain power! Maybe you have something similar in Switzerland?
I can imagine this took a lot of brain power. It’s hard to mindfully eat on a tight budget. I made this soup and its humble simplicity was delicious. Plus it was the fastest, easiest meal I’ve made in a while. Unfortunately wild garlic is gone around here but I used spinach and regular garlic.
It did take a bit more brain power than I am used to expending! It is hard to eat mindfully on a tight budget, but I guess one needs to alter one’s perimeters when the money goes. I’m so pleased that although you didn’t need to make this soup in the way that I did (recognising that it was self-imposed). I hope the spinach and ‘normal’ garlic worked well in the place of wild garlic. I’m wondering if you used the baked beans??
No, I did not use canned baked beans. 😉 I gave a wink and a nudge by making my own with some dijon, muscovado sugar, apple cider vinegar, garlic and tomato paste. Added harissa sauce to the soup at the end.
looks so coloufrul!!! yumm
You did so well with the challenge!! Very impressed, and your meals actually all look great! Definitely going to check out your roti recipe, they look lovely 🙂
Thanks Becca. Although I will be laying off white flour for awhile, these rot is are really good. The secret is in the little bit of oil and the coiling and rolling. But I bet you already knew that 😉
Thanks for another great post! It seems as if the answer to solving hunger is to grow as much of our own food as possible! Kale is a staple in my diet, because of the high nutrition content and affordability.
You’ve done so well Kellie and your soup looks fabulous, I’m very jealous as I’ve never had wild garlic!
You’re amazing and what a great cause to lend your expertise and name to. Now consider that most families living in poverty don’t have the skills or knowledge to feed themselves nutritious food on any budget. Couple that with the food deserts that our poorest citizens (speaking of US) live in where they have no access to fresh inexpensive food. I applaud your caring heart and your nutritional prowess.
Thank you Tracey. My week, and my three posts on this subject, was really about highlighting the Live Below The Line campaign, and providing ideas for those would also be undertaking the week of living on £1 a day 27 April – 1 May. One of reasons I chose Health Poverty Action was that they do have health education programmes addressing just the issue you rightly point out. As for the other, boy that’s a tough one as every area is unique, and I was using what was available to me. Perhaps in hindsight I should have travelled to a food desert near me to do my shopping. But I guess nothing near me would be in any way equivalent to the 1.2 billion people that this campaign is really for, as they live in circumstances very few of us could even imagine without ourselves being in Africa, Latin America and Asia, where some intractable issues (partially listed in a previous post, but including war and unstable governments) make daily living such an unremitting struggle. Thanks for your thought-provoking comment, Tracey. If you want to know more about the campaign itself, click on the links or refer back to my previous two posts. I think it is happening in the US too.
You really drive home how creative one can still be even living on such a tight budget. The soup looks beautiful.
This is such an interesting challenge and I’ve so enjoyed reading the various blog posts about how people have managed. I love that you’ve been creative and not compromised on both flavour and nutrition with your menu for the week. I’m a big fan of wild garlic (in anything and everything!) so I’m going to have to try this soup before it disappears.
Thanks Kathryn – get out there and get picking before it goes! I have loads of wild garlic pesto in my freezer. Lots of little green baggies!
Your recipes are really inspiring – shows you don’t actually need much to create such flavorful recipes.
I love your blog! Are the foods that you post healthy for runners?
Hi there. Thanks for stopping by. The recipes aren’t aimed at runners or athletes as such, and protein/energy needs vary from person to person when doing sport at high levels, but I think if you want quite a bit of plant foods in your plan, then most of my recipes should be fair game. You can always add more protein for any given main course-type/salad recipe too. Hope that helps!
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I really admire you taking this on Kellie and looking at that stark shopping list is extremely thought provoking.
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