Half Scottish, Half Japanese. Tempura Mars bar?

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I began writing this blog in October 2010 as a new father documenting food in his family. Before I knew it, I was in the final of MasterChef 2012. Now cooking is no longer just a hobby.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Live Below The Line Part 1

When I accepted the challenge to Live Below The Line, I didn't appreciate how hard it is to live on £1 a day. Live Below The Line is a challenge being taken by around 20,000 people across three continents (in the UK, USA and Australia) to raise awareness and funds to support the 1.4 billion people around the world that live below the poverty line.

The challenge is to feed yourself for £1 a day, for 5 days. You could fill yourself up on toast, but the real challenge is to come up with a diet that is nutritious and varied. My wife and I are teaming up to pool our £5 budgets, which helps on this front. The shopping list is as follows:

2 loaves of wholemeal bread, £0.94
5 bananas, £0.60
1 chicken (approx. 1.5kg), £4.00
1kg of rice, £0.40
500g of pearl barley, £0.49
500g of split green peas, £0.49
1 tin of chopped tomatoes, £0.29
6 carrots, £0.50
3 onions, £0.48
5 apples, £0.68
1 tin of peas, £0.21
1 lemon, £0.25

That comes to £9.33, which leaves us 67p to dip into various store cupboards, such as oil, salt and spices. We were expecting to live vegetarian for the week, but reckon that we can be thrifty with a whole chicken. The first job will be to joint the chicken into 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings and oysters and 1 carcass for chicken stock.

Fortunately, the first Monday is a bank holiday which should give us a little more cooking time than usual. I will write full recipes and a plan for the week, but here's the rough plan, per person:

Daily breakfast
2 pieces of toast, with half a mashed banana

Daily snacks
Half an apple, half a carrot, glass of water

1. Soup: Chicken and barley
2. Salad: Chicken and rice
3. Soup: Chicken and split green peas
4. Sandwich: Chicken and split green pea hummus
5. Sandwich: Split green pea hummus and grated carrot

1. Chicken risotto
2. Jerk chicken legs, rice and peas
3. Chicken thighs, barley, spiced carrot mash
4. Barley biryani with curried chicken wings
5. Split green pea curry and rice

Do you think you are up for taking the challenge?


  1. Brilliant! As a student who's just had his budget slashed I might have to join you on this one. And all for a good cause too!

  2. Thanks for sharing - was interested in seeing your veggie ideas being one myself, but I have lots of my own so no worries! Looks like very creative use of a whole chicken anyway, good luck with the challenge.

  3. Thanks for coming up with some good ideas, i really want to do this challenge but was beginning to wonder what exactly you could eat on £1 a day. My husband and I are going to do it. But how will i cope without tea? Not well, i will have to exchange some food for milk i think, black tea is horrid. I also think i'll forgo the cheap meat.

    1. It is certainly tough! Good on you and your husband for taking it on. I reckon tea is something you could charge to your cupboard budget.
      I just looked at supermarket budget tea. 27p for 80 bags. So let's say you have two cups a day each, that's 20 tea bags, so 27/4 = 7p.
      It makes you realise how 'expensive' milk is though doesn't it? Could you face powdered milk? £1.89 for 250g, so if you used 2g per cup (I'm guessing) for 20 cups, that's 40g, so 30p. Good news is if it's only 1g, then it's 15p, which is suddenly a huge saving on these budgets!

  4. Wow...brilliant menu...you put mine to shame. Good use of the chicken, you'll get lots of protein and lots of taste too throughout the week.

    Sue xx