Last week I gave some advice to a radio presenter who was taking the Live Below The Line challenge a week earlier than most participants. Here is a summary of that advice:
1. Team up with at least one other person. There are economies of scale when you purchase things like a bag of rice or pasta and by pooling resources, you can have a much more varied diet during the 5 day challenge.
2. You have probably bought some ingredients that are fairly bland on their own (rice, porridge, pasta, potatoes) but don't have much left to buy other ingredients. Remember to keep a little money left over so you can dip into things in your dry store. This week, spices and cayenne pepper are your friend. Don't forget you'll also need veg oil (I use rapeseed) and salt, but you won't need a whole bottle or a whole tub, so you take some from your stores and charge a prorated amount to your budget. When it comes to spice mixes, I tend to keep Garam Masala, Curry Powder and Ras el hanout in my cupboard.
3. Colour = flavour. That's what someone taught me and it's what I told John and Gregg if I burnt something on MasterChef! One of my old colleagues would make us all hungry by making toast at about 4pm in the afternoon. There's a reason that the smell of toast is so enticing - the bread is already cooked but toasting it caramelises the surface. The same is true of onions - when I have a hotdog, I like the onions sticky and brown so they are caramelised and sweet, edging towards bitter. I hate it when the onions look like they've been poached in water. No colour, no flavour.
My next blog will include recipes.