I made chapatis and it was easy

A way to pretend to have “cooked” when you are eating leftover curry.

Takes no longer than rice, and maybe nicer (especially if you are particularly bored of rice).

A possible reason to get flour rather than bread in next year’s Live Below The Line challenge.

I thought chapatis might be difficult. Bread is often difficult. Too be honest I don’t know what these are. They’re not pancakes (no egg and milk), but they’re not really bread (no yeast or other raising agent).

I followed this BBC recipe, if you can call it a recipe.  I didn’t have any wholemeal flour so I used plain flour. It was fine. All I need is some carb to dip in my liquid-ish curry.

Per chapati:

30g flour – pinch of salt – add water til you make a dough – roll out as thing as you can. No, thinner than that. Come on, you can roll thinner than that.

Heat up some ooil in a frying pan. Fry your rolled-out flour until it goes bubbly and a bit brown. Dip it into curry.

Chapatis and curry

Live Below The Line 2015 – Day 5

It’s nearly over!

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I’ll do my “what I’ve learned” post later ater I’ve had time to reflect. For now this’ll be a general “how I feel today” post.

Breakfast – more smoothie. I might make more of this.

breakfast smoothie

The only trouble with the smoothie is that is uses both my banana and my yoghurt, so I have no snack.

Lunch – I saved two eggs so I could have a NICE lunch on my last day.

eggs and mess

Eggs in tomatoes, with toast. Messily assembled using work microwave and toaster. I think my colleagues thought I was a bit bonkers. Two eggs is a treat though so I don’t care.

Dinner – more fauxsotto – made at the same time as the last lot and frozen. I didn’t eat all of this, because I wasn’t starving and it was even claggier after freezing and reheating.


I felt OK today, much more alive than I have the past couple of days, and I’m not sure how much of this is due to

  • Finally being over my no-caffeine headaches
  • Having two eggs at lunchtime and so having some protein
  • Knowing that it’s nearly over.

Food that I have left:

  • Sweetcorn extracted from the mixed veg – never came up with a plan for this
  • Rice – not a surprise!
  • Some bread – frozen just in case, but miraculously the non-frozen portion is not mouldy
  • 3 stock cubes
  • 1/6 of a tub of cream cheese – I calculated that I had 6 cheese-requiring meals, but missed one because I didn’t eat
  • 1 portion of the baby-food/sick soup – I will NOT be eating this and I am profoundly grateful to live in a world where I do not have to

Live Below The Line 2015 – Day 4

I am very glad it’s day 4.

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This morning I left for work early in order to look round Aldi and see if there was anything I could buy with my remaining 14p. The ONLY thing for 14p or under was “single banana”. The bananas were all green, probably wouldn’t be nice by tomorrow, and I don’t WANT another bloody banana, I want something DIFFERENT. #sulk

Looking around I had a few good ideas for next year’s below the line challenge, but one thing that the discount supermarkets do not do is loose fruit and veg – everything is packaged. I wish we had a superarket where you weigh your own veg and put a sticker on it (as I’ve seen in France) – it would make this kind of thing much easer rather than guessing the weight of an onion and then hoping it adds up at the till (one of the reasons I haven’t bought much fresh produce – it’s too tricky to budget).

Lunch at work, baked beans with toast and cheese spread.beans and toast

I think I got a few extra donations eating this, but actually it was quite enjoyable. I think my expectations of “a nice meal” have gone WAY down.

After work I went to Lidl to see if there was anything there for 14p. On the way, I found 5p on the ground. A quick poll of Twitter said I was alloed to use it, bringing my spendable total up to 19p. I COULD have gone bak to Aldi to spend that on a bit of discounted easter chocolate, but instead I continued to Lidl. Lidl was marginally worse than Aldi for “things under 20p” – if I’d only had my 14p I would have had to go back to Aldi and get that banana, or to Sainsbury’s and guess the weight of a carrot or something (no idea what I’d have done with the carrot, maybe just crunched it raw).

18p noodles

Look up the top – cheap cheap cheap noodles for 18p.


And that magical word – spicy! If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that I grow chilli plants. I’ve decided that my chillies do not count as “free” because money has gone into them – I’m not raiding store cupboard ingredients at all for this challenge. I love spicy food and until today I’d forgotten how much difference a bit of spice can make to a meal.

noodles and peas

Noodles and peas (extracted from the frozen mixed veg, which is now all used up).

The best thing about that 5p? It saved me from another portion of the looks-like-sick-tastes-like-baby-food soup.

So this day turned out much better than expected!

I’ve also had a lovely treat of a “nice drink” – the first drink of anything except water.

banana milkshake

I didn’t eat my breakfast banana this morning, so I’ve blended it with half of tomorrow’s breakfast yoghurt and a bit of water to make a banana-and-peach milkshake.

I have 2 eggs saved for my last day tomorrow – yippeee.

Live Below The Line 2015 – Day 3

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You don’t want me to put up a picture of a yoghurt and a banana every day, do you?

Yoghurt for breakfast, saved banana til later.

Lunch was the first repeated “proper meal” (I don’t count breakfast).

egg fried rice

Here is how it looked in the pan when I cooked it last night. I cooked the (single) egg separately and put it on top, to give a bit more variation to the texture. It didn’t look quite so appealing at lunchtime in a microwaveable tub. I burned the bottom a bit to give it some crunch and it was pretty satisfying – I think the protein added by the egg makes a big difference (next year: more protein!).

carrot soup

Dinner was carrot soup. Carrots extracted from the mixed veg. Rice to bulk out. Looks a bit like sick. Tastes a bit like baby food. Bleh. Toast with cheese spread is not so bleh. Didn’t finish the soup – apparently I’m not THAT hungry.

Coffee headaches again this afternoon, but it gets better after about 4:30. I think at that point my body gives up and knows it’s not getting any coffee no matter what it does. Also my back aches, but I can’t imagine how that would be related.

Live Below The Line 2015 – Day 2

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Today I’ve been at work. And I’ve really noticed the lack of caffeine. I’ve had a low-level headache most of the day, and I found it a bit hard to concentrate mid afternoon.

i’m not normally much of a breakfast person so I didn’t put too much thought into my breakfasts here.

basic breakfast

A friend was shocked at the amount of sugar in one of these, but a Ski Smooth (the most similar “branded” yoghurt I could see) has 15.8g of sugar per pot so apparently this is “normal”.

For lunch I’ve made some fake risotto (fauxsotto?), which I’ll also be having on Wednesday.

fauxsottoThis tempting creation is made of rice simmered with a stock cube until it goes mushy, with the green parts of the mixed veg (peas and green beans) mixed in. 1/6 of my pot of cheese spread is put on top. The whole lot is then microwaved at lunchtime at work.

The only thing I am not counting and measuring and rationing is the rice – everything else is being portioned out to make sure that I don’t run out.

For dinner I am extravagantly having TWO eggs. This is the nicest dinner of the whole week, and I’ll be having it again on Thursday night. I eat this for brunch quite often, but usually with pitta bread, free range eggs, and some spices (the tomatoes are still value range though).

tomatoe egg and toastThe trick here is not to overcook the egg yolks, otherwise you’ll feel sad. I achieved this by separating the white and yolk, cooking the white in the tomatoes, and adding the egg at the last minute. Ideally you should also not break the yolk, but ho hey. The sad “toast with nothing on it” looks a little forlorn but if I were having pitta bread I wouldn’t have buttered that so really it’s fine. Ciabatta works well too. Or any kind of bread that toasts nicely, really.

Live Below The Line 2015 – day 1

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I didn’t get around to doing shopping yesterday, so I missed breakfast and just drank some water before going to the shop.

This means that when the 80p mixed veg was sold out I just dropped my planned “treat” (35p chocolate) rather than thinking about whether mixed veg was the best use of my £1.20. I may regret this later.

rice lunch

Here’s my lunch – egg-fried rice: rice, frozen mixed veg, one egg, one stock cube for flavour.

beans near toast

And here’s dinner – half a tin of beans, 3 slices of brown toast with cheese spread. I refer beans to be NEAR toast rather than ON toast.The bread I have is cut very thinly, so I feel like I need at least 3 slices to have a decent amount.

I’ve drunk a lot of water. I’m a bit bored but not starving. More insightful pronouncements like this coming up soon!

Live Below The Line 2015 – shopping



£5 shopping

£5 shopping

Here’s my shopping for the £5-for-5-days Live Below The Line Challenge. From Sunday to Thursday I’ll be eating and drinking on only £5 worth of food, to raise money for ActionAid.

If you feel like sponsoring me you can do so here. Just one “bought sandwich” worth would make a big difference!.

ReceiptTher’s a whole 14p left – let me know if you can think of anything I can do with it!

The supermarket did not have any scales near the loose fruit and veg, so I icked the 4 smallest bananas I could find and hoped they would come within budget.

You might notice that one of the few things that does not say “Basics” on the receipt is the mixed veg.

mixed veg label

Here’s the empty freezer where the basics mixed veg would have been. Maybe Live Below The Line is very popular in my area?

So I ended up spending and extra 40p on the non-basics mixed veg, which has a slightly different mix (sweetcorn instead of cauliflower) but is basically 1 1/2x the price for the same thing.

This is annoying because

  1. I wanted to send that 40p on a bar of basics chocolate (for morale)
  2. I probably could have found a better way to spend £1.20 on veg (for 80p this was definitely the best choice), but I was hungry and didn’t have time to work it all out.

So now I have a lot of rice, some bread that I have been assured will go mouldy within minutes, and no caffeine or sugar. Wish me luck!