Tom at RESULTS lives below the line for the first time...

8 Apr 2013

For those of you who haven’t meet me before, my names Tom, the grassroots campaigns assistant at RESULTS UK.  This week I will be Living Below the Line for the first time to help raise awareness about the 1.4 billion people around the world who live below the poverty line and to raise fund for RESULTS work on nutrition.  Over the course of the week, I will be hijacking the RESULTS blog to share recipes, tips, reflect on the experience and hopefully inspire and encourage others to take part in the challenge.  Feel free to share my tips, recipes and posts to help get your friends, family and colleagues to sign up to the challenge.

Since starting at RESULTS back in October, people at the RESULTS office regularly discussed the Live Below the Line challenge, what they made, how tough it was and how they were dreading to taking part again this year. I’ve got to admit, the challenge of spending £5 for five days for all my food and drink didn’t seem a particularly tough one. I have found myself on numerous occasions with limited access to food and drink for longer periods than 5 days over the last 5 years. Surely £5 for 5 days living in the comfort of my home in London couldn’t be too much of a challenge….

With confidence behind me, I headed off to Sainsbury’s yesterday with 5 pound coins in my back pocket to see what I could get for the week. Everyone in the office advised me to plan, think carefully about what I wanted to make in advance and make use of supermarket comparison sites like mysupermarket.com. Unfortunately, due to a busy weekend and limited access to e-mail over the weekend (I am currently living on a friend’s floor that doesn’t have internet); I had to make do with a quick brainstorm in my head on the way to the supermarket.  I knew I could live without tea, coffee, sweet treats and fruit, but wasn’t keen on sacrificing meat, veg and carbohydrates. With that in mind, I went straight to the meat isle with a rough budget of around £1 to spend. Unfortunately the only meat option that I could get within this budget, besides the unappealing ‘meat paste’ at 45p a jar, was Sainsburys 42% pork, economy sausages. At 54p for a pack of 8, two packs for the week would come in at £1.08- not too bad for 16 sausages! I then began to think how sausages could be used in all my main meals. The first thing that sprung to mind was meatballs. I remembered being at a dinner party a couple of weeks back where the host had made meatballs from pork sausages by cutting up sausages, rolling them into balls, adding seasoning and then frying in oil. They tasted delicious, so surely that could work with my sausages with a bit of spaghetti and a tomato, garlic and onion sauce. With one sausage dish of the list, it took a long peruse of the pudding isle to come up with the second. I received a slow cooker from my parents at xmas, but hadn’t really had the chance to make use of it. Surely this was the opportunity to give it a go. With a tin of value tomato’s already in the trolley to make the pasta sauce to accompany the meatballs, I decided to allocate half the tin to make a slow cooked sausage casserole. See below for the recipe.

That was dinner covered, now what for breakfast. On a usual week, I generally only eat one Weetabix in the morning with a light splash of semi-skimmed milk and a sprinkle of sugar. The original plan was to keep to this, but unfortunately Weetbix were well out of my budget. After looking at other cheaper cereal options, I decided to opt for crumpets instead. 6 economy crumpets came in at a reasonable 37p- enough for one and a quarter a day.

That left me around £1.20 to cover lunch.  On the Friday night my housemate had people round for dinner and was making pizzas using a recipe from Polpo, an Italian tapas restaurant in central London. I decided on making mini pizzas for lunch using flour, a sachet of yeast, tomato puree and a couple of balls of mozzarella.  At the time, I was unsure if buying mozzarella was a good use of my money. Mozzarella defiantly seems like an item that you wouldn’t buy on a budget of £1 a day. After umming and arring for a couple of minutes I decided to go with it. I will be posting the pizza recipe on the blog on Wednesday so be sure to come back and check that out.

Upon returning home I put all the ingredients on the table to see what I had got. It began to dawn on me that maybe some of my selections weren’t wise, notably my decision to spend a fifth of my budget on cheese! I will update again on Wednesday to let everyone know how I am getting on.

Click here to sign up to Live Below the Line with RESULTS

Sausage Casserole Recipe (3 meals)

Onion loose £0.26p

3 carrots loose £0.26p

2 Potatoes loose - £0.64p

Sainsbury’s basic sausage £0.54p

Sainsbury’s basic plum tomatoes £0.31

Table spoon of cooking oil: 4p

Total Cost: 2.05

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