Breakfast: Yoghurt scones with peanut butter, peanut butter and banana smoothie (21.1p per portion)
I bounced out of bed this morning, all confident that I’d found a good alternative to porridge in these peanut butter and banana smoothies, which I ‘enjoyed’ along with two of the yoghurt scones and a bit more peanut butter. I have to say – not my favourite. The smoothie was very filling, which was a bonus, but I didn’t feel particularly inspired – plus it used up too much of my precious milk. The thought of one of these being a ‘treat’ almost sent me back under the duvet.
My sister’s comment? ‘Really not sure how you thought this could be a good idea. Bananas – taste nice enough but unpleasantly wet and dense. Peanut butter – might as well apply glue to the roof of your mouth.’ Ah, well, maybe lunch would be better…
Lunch: Mushroom and ‘spinach’ bolognese (43.6p per portion)
I’m a trustee of the Cambridge and District Volunteer Centre, and today was our AGM. Uh-oh. I realised, on my way there on the bus, that that would mean sandwiches and … cake. Free sandwiches and cake. That I wouldn’t be able to eat. And I was right. Boy, was I right (I’ve not included a picture of the cake, because I’m not that much of a masochist).
Explaining to people what I was doing did help start some interesting conversations about food waste and food poverty, so it wasn’t all bad. Even so, I made a hasty exit and headed home to make lunch.
I don’t know whether it was because I was absolutely ravenous and ready to chew my own arm off, but this lunch was a total revelation.
One of the blogs I’d used when doing my recipe research was Jack Monroe’s. Jack is widely known for her budget recipes, as well as being an outspoken and passionate campaigner on food poverty issues. A few days ago she’d posted this recipe for mushroom and spinach bolognese so I thought I’d give it a go (substituting the missing spinach with a block of the frozen methi, of course). One of my goals for the week was to avoid the dreaded pasta and tomato sauce at all costs!
The result was absolutely flipping gorgeous, and I had major difficulty in not scoffing the lot (I made two portions, and have saved one for tomorrow’s lunch). If you’re cooking for confirmed carnivores on a limited budget, this is a brilliant recipe because honestly? I couldn’t tell the difference. So worth waiting for, and infinitely nicer than sandwiches.
Dinner: Eggy bread (21.8p per portion)
I’m not sure why I thought it was a good idea to cook for other people this week. But apparently, I did. I’d already committed myself to cooking our fortnightly FoodCycle dinner up at Barnwell Baptist Church, so at 3.00 I trotted off to Sainsbury’s on Sidney Street to pick up the necessary surplus food. A lovely great big haul, as it turns out. Remember those parsnip farmers on Hugh’s War on Waste? I thought of them as I heaved a bin bag of parsnips over my shoulder. A bag of sweet potatoes too – one of the first things that got crossed off The List as an extravagance. A whole crate of the oranges I’ve been craving since starting the challenge. And, of course, the inevitable banana mountain. It’s still rankling with me that I’ve had to buy bananas in the first place, when I know how many of them go to waste. 1.4 million a day, and I’m having to ration out halves of the blasted yellow blighters.
Despite the lousy weather, we had a great group of guests for dinner who enjoyed some company, a cuppa, and cheesy veg bake followed by chocolate banana cake with caramel oranges and pomegranates. They tried really hard to get me to sit and eat with them, and I have to say I was seriously tempted.
Today has really made me think how valuable schemes like FoodCycle could be if you were living on a low income. That’d be one hot meal at least per week (two here in Cambridge some weeks), that you didn’t have to factor into your budget. It’s full of the fresh fruit and veg that are beyond the budgets of a lot of people. Plus you’d get the added bonus of sitting round a table with others – socialising can be one of the first things to go when you’re living like this.
Eventually, I reached my breaking point (the chantilly cream that went with the cake) so I made my excuses and headed home, knowing I’d got eggy bread (made with leftover yoghurt scones) waiting for me. It disappeared in about 2 minutes flat, so I couldn’t tell you what it tasted like. I think it was pretty good though.
Today’s lesson – don’t let your cup of tea go cold!
I thought I was handling this challenge pretty well until the moment earlier this evening that I woke up from a doze on the sofa to realise I’d let a cup of tea go cold, and therefore wasted the milk I’d put in it. It’s tiny really in the grand scheme of things, but I know the milk is running low (I’ve been measuring levels of it obsessively all day) and I’ll be drinking my tea black by the end of the week. Sadly, no more of those *delicious* smoothies for me! Going to have to try and save some of my lemon to put in the odd cup of tea as well…
Also, do not watch Masterchef while on the Breadline Challenge.