The Breadline Challenge

What would eat if you had £2.10 a day for food, for an entire week?  Here is my food diary that shares how I felt and what I ate, to raise money and awareness for Food Cycle:

The weekend before ….


After a 6am breakfast of quinoa and chia seed porridge be-jeweled with berries, cocoa nibs and maple syrup, I spent the morning cooking jerk-spiced pork shoulder and a host of tropical salads for a private lunch I catered for.  I’ve just got home from the gym and am enjoying a delicious Chicken Katsu Curry that I picked up from the High Street.  It has only now dawned on me that after the weekend has passed, my budget of £2.10 a day won’t quite stretch to my morning ‘super-crop’ habit!  And with that goes my smooshed avocado with chilli on rye, (another of my favourite breakfasts)!  Actually, how the hell am I going to survive each day on less than the amount that I spend on my mid-morning Starbuck’s Chai Tea Soya Latte sprinkled with nutmeg and cinnamon?  (And I guess by now that you can see that my life totally revolves around mine, and other peoples’ stomachs!). 

The remainder of the Weekend:

In no particular order: tasting menu dinner at The West House, accompanying wines, lemon meringue pie slices, chocolate fondant and ice cream, afternoon tea and cakes, roast tatties, cauliflower cheese, Sabrina Ghayour-inspired 7 hour lamb, more wine, curry, chocolate coins, orange juice, marmalade on toast, chorizo, more wine and FEAR (and fullness) as my head hit the pillow on the Sunday night!

The Breadline Challenge week..


8am: I wake up excited and ready for the week ahead, still full from the weekend’s excesses.  I realise that I have a few urgent bits of work admin to deal with so decide to get on with that for about an hour after which I am ravenous and head to the supermarket.  I had already written a provisional list the week before, but when actually faced with the choices (brown bread for 10p more, or another tin of tomatoes) it all becomes so tough because the decisions I make now, will affect what I will be eating on Friday, I honestly spend about an hour ‘umming and aahing’ in the aisles!  I am normally a last-minute shopper, I decide what I want to eat on the day, I can’t plan ahead.  But I will have to learn.  

11.22 spent in total.  

11.22 spent in total.  

10.40am: I’ve walked and fed the Yorkie, completed some house-work and have staved off breakfast as long as I can.  I make a cup of tea and eat two soft-boiled eggs with steamed spinach, sprinkled with paprika and salt.  Breakfast coming in at under 50p/portion.  I love breakfasts that are like this, warm, nutritious, spiced, I just wish I had some rye bread to eat it with.  But its ok, I can do this!  No problem!

Soft-boiled eggs and steamed spinach with salt and paprika and a cup of tea.

Soft-boiled eggs and steamed spinach with salt and paprika and a cup of tea.

12pm: I’m ravenous, I would have normally had a mid-morning snack by now.  I knew I should have brought that white bread for 40p that I was contemplating for 5 minutes (no kidding) in the supermarket, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it!  An email has just popped up and I am reminded that I have a meeting in half an hour in Central London.  I am already going to be late so I scramble out of the door without a second thought!  As I get to High Street Kensington tube station I turn to nip into ‘Pret’ to grab their Christmas sandwich, then I remember that I can’t afford that this week, obscenities dribble out of my mouth, I am too energy-less and grumpy to shout.  I am starving and I can’t buy anything to eat on this budget!

 5pm:  I finally get home (ravenous!) after the meeting runs over and having had to drink litres of hot water to placate my stomach (and use up more energy with the inevitable trips to the loo).  Due to my inability to concentrate on anything that was being discussed, I was at least able to dream up my dinner.  On the sausages go, they are taking forever to cook….or maybe it’s just because I am so damn hungry.  I make a lentil, red bean and sausage one-pot, with peppers, spinach and garlic.  It tastes incredible, it is nutritious, heart-warming and wholesome and I am, once again, very happy.  It comes in at under 65p/portion.

Sausage, lentils, red bean one-pot with spinach, peppers and garlic.

Sausage, lentils, red bean one-pot with spinach, peppers and garlic.

8pm: Hubble gets home and I cook him linguine with a tomato, crayfish and chilli sauce and as I grate over fresh Parmesan I become insanely jealous.  What a good wife I am, I think!  It has been a day of very little calories so I feel that I am allowed to break into my emergency hot chocolate stash (I bought 4 sachets) coming in at 25p.  Usually around now, I would be tucking into something like a brownie or a cookie, but the hot chocolate is a bearable substitute. 

11.00pm:  Bedtime.  I’m by no means hungry, but I definitely don’t feel full.

Stay tuned for Tuesday's eating...

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