Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Live Below the Line - Day one (flour, water and yeast can make wonders)

Some days ago I published a post about Live Below the Line and my intention to take on the challenge. 
The campaign is asking the public to cut their spending on food at drink to just £1 per day for 5 days.
The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on the equivalent of £1 here in the UK.
Live Below the Line is a challenge for people to eat and drink on the same amount as those living in extreme poverty.
While taking on this challenge, they will raise money for charities working to end poverty.
You can join the challenge by registering at www.livebelowtheline.com/uk.

Day 1, the challenge begins!

OK, before you read this post and see the pictures, let me tell you that I felt very lucky. Why? First of all because I have a shelter and secondly because I can bake, so with little ingredients and little money (£1!), you can cook something nice and filling.

The day before the challenge (at 1 PM) I started preparing the dough that I used to prepare the pizza for day 1 and 2.

'Almost' no-knead pizza dough (£0.35)


  • Sainsbury's strong white bread flour, 400g (£0.272)
  • Dried active yeast, 4g (£0.020)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1tbsp (£0.056)
  • Salt, 1.5tsp (£0.01)
  • Water (at room temperature), 300g
  • Time and patience!
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except the salt and mix for 1-2 minutes. Add the salt and mix for further 2-3 minutes. The mixture is quite fluid and sticky, but don't worry, use one hand for mixing and the other one to hold the bowl. Cover with a plastic bag and leave at room temperature for about an hour. Now transfer to the fridge (in the vegetable drawer) and leave it there until the day after.
The day after, at around 10 AM, remove the dough from the fridge. Brush some water onto the work surface - the water will prevent the dough from sticking to the surface. Turn out the dough onto the work surface and fold it: take the right side, stretch it out and fold it onto the middle of the dough. Repeat for the left side:

Turn out onto work surface
Take the right side and fold to the center
Repeat for the left side
Put back into your bowl, cover with the same plastic bag and leave at room temperature for a couple of hours. After this time the dough is ready to be used, and looks like this:

OK, it's nearly lunch time, I am going to make a simple pizza bianca, with no tomato sauce and mozzarella, as my budget for the day is just £1!

Whoops, forgot to tell you what I had for breakfast (£0.093):
  • A cup of black coffee (£0.09)
  • Sugar, 3g (£0.003)

LUNCH - Pizza Bianca with Rosemary, £0.37!

First of all, let me tell you that you will not be able to finish this pizza, as it's quite a lot. However you can save a piece for dinner and maybe share some with your family, if you like.

  • Half the pizza dough you have prepared (£0.179)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 3tbsp (£0.168)
  • A bunch of rosemary from my garden (let's say £0.02)
  • Salt (£0.01)

Preheat the oven to the maximum (230-250 °C).
Turn out the dough onto your lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough in half. Transfer one half back onto the same bowl, cover with the same plastic bag and transfer to the fridge. You will use this dough tomorrow! Grease a baking tray with 1 tbsp of olive oil.
Pat your dough down onto the floured work surface, paying attention not to press down the air bubbles, which are the result of a long fermentation. Transfer onto the baking tray. Brush with 2tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and rosemary.
Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden.

As mentioned, this meal was quite filling, so far I really cannot complain.

DINNER - Red Kidney Bean Soup, £0.53
Red Kidney Bean Soup, £0.53

  • Sainsbury's Basic Red Kidney Beans in water, 180g (drained) (£0.19)
  • Half a carrot, 80g (£0.064)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1tbs (£0.056)
  • Pasta, 40g (£0.04)
  • A beef stock cube (£0.17)
  • Salt and pepper (0.01)
  • Water, 650ml
Roughly chop half a carrot. In a small pan, bring the water to the boil and add a beef stock cube. In another pan, on a medium heat, heat a tbsp of olive oil. Add the chopped carrot and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the drained beans (I reserved £50g, and transfered to the fridge as I will need them tomorrow for dinner) and the vegetable stock and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes, depending on the type of pasta you are using (check the cooking time on the package). Season with salt and pepper to your taste, and serve.

After dinner thoughts
Today I spent £0.98 and learnt that you can feed yourself with less than £1 a day, without starving. Obviously, I could not eat whatever I like - I.e. I would have normally used different and more ingredients. Also I had to plan my meals very carefully, which I have never done before. I always try to save money when I buy food, without compromising on 
quality. However making a soup with such a low budget was a challenge indeed, but I have to say that I don't feel hungry.  


Let's try helping beating poverty, either:

You can join the challenge by registering at www.livebelowtheline.com/uk.


From 7th to 11th May, join Live Below the Line living on £1 a day for 5 days to change the way people in the UK think about extreme poverty - and make a huge difference.

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  1. The pizza bianca looks wonderful. Italian cooking is all about making wonderful food from very little. My mother lived through the war in Italy and still eat well.

    By the way, as a fellow Montersino fan, do you know what most of his videos have disappeared from Youtube? I bought a couple of his pasticceria series when I was in Italy last year but I had to come home. I'm really sorry that I didn't take out a subscription.

  2. Thanks Craft Fairy - what is your name?
    True, Italian food is all about simple ingredients, this why I love it.
    As to Luca Montersino, I am a big fan too. I tried to search on youtube, and I could still find most of his recipes. On the other hand, I have noticed that some are missing from his youtube challel..strange. Have you tried his blog: http://www.alice.tv/blog/lucamontersino/? Not sure if you speak Italian, if not you could use google translator. In addition, you could buy his books through this Italian website http://www.ibs.it/ser/serfat.asp?site=libri&xy=luca+montersino. I used this service in the past, and it's ok - but of course you have to pay a little extra for delivery charge, as the items come from Italy. I hope this helps. Take care, Laura.

  3. Sorry, I meant 'his youtube channel', not challel!

  4. Hi Laura. I do speak Italian. I have at least 4 of his books (in Italian) including the latest one on chocolate. They are all fantastic. I bought three of his books last summer she I was in my home in italy and the latest one, I bought through Amazon.it and had it delivered here in the UK. It actually look less time to get to me than the ones that I bought and had delivered to my Italian address. Oh the joys of Italian delivery which decided to leave the books in some random bar about 17km away on the pretext that I had agreed to it.

    What is currently available on Youtube is very fuzzy. It looks like a sort of secondhand set of videos. I think that his publishers pulled the official ones when the videos came out.

    What I am going to do, is buy more of the Accademia di Pasticceria that I started to buy last September. I'm sure that I will be able to get some on back order. Basically, they are what you see on Youtube but the recording is better, there are far more tips and they are longer. I have two, only 22 more to find.

    Sorry for this rather long response but it is good to talk to a fellow Italian and I really admire your living below the line challenge. Tonight we had pasta all Genovese. Cheap, good and filling.

    Conti Yvonne

  5. Hi Yvonne, I don't mind the long post at all :-). Good luck with your montersino search, and keep in touch. I'm at the airport right now, flying to Rome, can't wait to eat what Mamma will cook for me over the next days :-). Take care, Laura