Saturday, 26 April 2014

Could you 'Live Below the Line'?

It's a shocking statistic that one in eight people (that's around 1.2 billion men, women and children) live below the poverty line, going hungry every day and living on less than £1 per day.

Concern Worldwide, a charity that works with the world’s poorest people to transform their lives, is joining the Live Below the Line campaign which starts next week. They hope to see people sign-up to live off £1 a day for up to 5 days & raise funds to tackle extreme poverty. Live Below the Line cannot and does not aim to recreate what it’s like to live in extreme poverty, however participants can gain an understanding of the kinds of tough decisions many people face globally, every day. The campaign presents a chance to bring food poverty and hunger, back onto the news and political agenda. 

Concern Worldwide hope that as many people as possible will challenge themselves to live on a £1 a day and pledge a donation or sponsorship, to help give people more than a lifeline - to give them a future and a means to provide for their families in the long term.

To raise awareness of the campaign, I've pledged to feed my family of 4 for £4 for one include breakfast, lunch and dinner (see my meal plan below) and will be tweeting my #fridgie photo with the estimated value of the products in my fridge ( I must say I was shocked at how much my fridge contents were worth). .
From training community health volunteers to spot the first signs of malnutrition to challenging governments on the policies that keep whole communities hungry, we’re tackling hunger on every level. Concern support people to develop their own local and lasting solutions to hunger, through developing their knowledge, skills and incomes. We combine expert specialism with respect for local know-how to ensure that families can feed their children, not just today, but every day. 
You can find out more about this campaign and support Concern's work here
Feed a family of 4 for £4 (3 meals a day)

  • Breakfast: home made bread 40p for 750g strong bread flour + 11p for a sachet of yeast, 1 litre carton of value orange juice 65p = £1.16
  • Lunch: 2 tins of budget baked beans 2 x 24p, served on toast (left over bread from breakfast), 4 apples x 20p = £1.28
  • Dinner: channa masala curry and rice - 250g budget long grain rice 10p,  budget tinned tomatoes 31p, 1 onion 8p, 1 clove of garlic 4p, ginger 10p, various spices (already in store cupboard) approx 20p, 1 tin of chickpeas 37p = £1.20
  • Total cost: £3.64; the extra 36p went towards spreads for our bread at breakfast and drinks throughout the day.
I must say it was quite a challenge to feed the family a balanced and filling diet for just one day, let alone for ever. I managed to do this sticking to vegan meals with lots of carbs and pulses. This has certainly made me more aware of the worry and stress that many mums must feel in the developing world every day, in the struggle to feed their children.

28 April-2 May 2014 (campaign runs until 30th June). 
Take the challenge: £5 for 5 days for all your food & drink to end extreme poverty. Challenge yourself. Raise money. Join the movement. Sign up today

Integrity Statement
I am supporting this campaign and have not receive payment or incentives for this promotion.

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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Chocolate Viennese Biscuits (Vegan)

These crisp and crumbly, little chocolate biscuits are super-easy to make, so a great way to get even very young kids involved with baking. The raw cookie dough tastes pretty good too! They disappear pretty quickly in my house, so you might want to double the ingredients to make a larger batch and freeze half.

Makes 16
  • 4oz/100g dairy free spread
  • 2oz/50g caster sugar
  • 4oz/100g plain flour
  • 1oz/25g cornflour
  • 1oz/25g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C/170C Fan/350F/Gas 4.

Cream the butter and sugar.
Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix together until you have a stiff dough.
Tip the dough onto a piece of cling film and squish into a rough sausage shape (around 16 cm long) will not look very appealing at this point!
Roll the cling film around the 'sausage' and pop into the freezer for around 10 minutes, to firm up (you don't want to actually freeze it, so don't leave it for much longer).
Unwrap the 'sausage' and slice into around 16 slices of 1cm thickness.
Place on a greased baking sheet, spaced a few cm apart.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until firm to the touch and slightly darker in colour.
Remove from the tray and cool on a wire rack.

Alternative: Once cool, melt around 50g/2oz of dairy-free chocolate (or left over Easter egg!). Dip each biscuit into the melted chocolate. Place on grease-proof paper to set.

Suitable for freezing.

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Aloo Tikki

Aloo tikki are small, spicy potato and pea croquettes.These traditional Indian snacks are delicious eaten hot or cold with chutneys or mint sauce and also make a great an addition to an Indian buffet. They're really cheap to make and are vegan too. I added sweet potato to mine, to ring the changes.

Makes 12/Serves 4
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 heaped tsp freshly grated ginger
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala or chaat masala
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh chilli
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • a handful of frozen petit pois or peas
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 slice of wholemeal bread, made into breadcrumbs
  • a few slices of (ready-made) melba toast crushed into breadcrumbs (or fine/panko breadcrumbs)
  • vegetable oil
Boil the potatoes for around 15 minutes, until soft. Drain and mash.
Meanwhile heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a pan on a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry for minute. 
Add the onion, ginger, garlic and the rest of the spices and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
Mix in the mashed potatoes, petit pois and chopped coriander, plus enough fresh breadcrumbs to bind and make a dough-like consistency.
Shape into slightly flattened balls using your hands and roll in the dried breadcrumbs. 
Leave in the fridge for 10 minutes or so, to firm up.

Heat a further tbsp of oil in a large frying pan. 
Fry the aloo tikki for 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
Keep warm in the oven and repeat until all of the croquettes have been cooked.

Serve with salad, chutneys or mint sauce.

Suitable for freezing (before or after frying).

Alternatives: Make large, flat tikkis and serve them in buns like veggie burgers.
Bake on a greased baking tray (in a hot oven) for a low-fat version.

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