Working with food is absolutely NO joke when you’re doing a challenge like this. Yesterday was spent in the WOUP kitchen, making up 150 portions of soup from wonky veg. I thought that was bad, but today …well, combine making my favourite brownies for an event tomorrow at Food Matters live with an episode of MasterChef: The Professionals and you’ve got a recipe (sorry) for misery.
Joking aside, working in a low-paid food job while not being able to afford to eat well yourself must be so, so hard. Being on your feet all day too, while you’re hungry – I don’t think I could do it.
All in all, I’ve eaten well today but it’s taken a huge amount of time in the kitchen. Plus the smell of warm chocolate brownies wafting from the kitchen has meant I’ve had far less patience than usual – and a major mid-afternoon mood slump.
Breakfast: Spinach and tomato baked egg with yoghurt scones (42.4p per portion)
Still no porridge! Eggs were a major treat during last year’s challenge, and really cheered me up. Of course, I forgot to buy any on Sunday so had to traipse back out to the shops this morning meaning breakfast was late (something I wouldn’t be able to do if I was as time poor as many people experiencing food poverty).
Totally worth the wait though, and I’m already looking forward to my lunch of menemen later in the week.
Lunch: Stuffed pepper with rice and broccoli (58.4 per portion)
2 o’clock this afternoon found me, head in the fridge, counting mushrooms and spring onions as I made up a recipe for lunch. Could I afford to spare them to liven up the rice stuffing for my peppers? After a full ten minutes, mushrooms (but only 4 in case I needed more later on) were in, but spring onions were out. After all, it’s only Tuesday and despite all my planning I’m still worried about running out of food.
The end result was a really nice, colourful lunch. When I was working out the costs though, it seemed pretty expensive for something that was relatively small and light. 25p on half a pepper seemed crazy, even though I’ve kept half for later in the week. I spent another ten minutes worrying about that too.
Sure, the challenge is making me think more carefully about my food which is a good thing. It’s making me cut out the things that perhaps aren’t so good for me – sugar, fats, caffeine. But maybe I’m thinking too much. Ten minutes worrying about whether I can afford something I eat as a snack all the time is stressful and counter-productive.
Dinner: Lentil cottage pie with blue cheese and roast garlic mash (68p per portion)
By the time it got to dinner, my get up and go had…well, got up and gone. Unable to face the thought of cooking another dish totally from scratch, I shuffled around my meal plan and went for the cottage pie I was going to have on Thursday instead. It’s a great way of using up the leftover lentils from last night, and meant that all I had to do was mash up my one solitary potato.
Hunting around in the cupboards, I decided to roast up some whole garlic to make the mash a bit more exciting. It’s the little things…
I also stirred through a bit of the blue cheese, just to add a bit of creaminess. All in all, not bad – and my mood certainly improved. I’m still going to go into the kitchen and have another sniff of those brownies. Just as soon as I’ve finished watching MasterChef.
Cups of tea: 3