back to article Fried-egg sarnies kick off Reg man's quid-a-day nosh challenge

Coffee, bacon and black pudding were strictly off the menu this morning as this hack kicked off his "Live Below the Line" challenge with a couple of fried-egg sarnies and a mug of builders' tea. Until Friday, I have to subsist on just £1 a day for food as I participate in "an innovative awareness and fundraising campaign that' …


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  1. Andrew Moore
    Thumb Up

    Good luck Lester...

    In a slightly similar vein, I'm actually calculating exactly how much I spend on food a week. It looks like I'm going to blow through €6 before the end of the day (and that's after cutting down on extravagances like shop-bought sandwiches)

    1. Reading Your E-mail

      Re: Good luck Lester...

      Wish you well, although Fried-Egg Sarnie would be a great name for a future Android OS :)

      1. Martin Budden

        Re: Good luck Lester...

        Android OS names are incremented alphabetically. The next one should start with K, then L, M, N, O etc. They are also all desserts/sweets, so that's two reasons why you won't be seeing Fried-Egg Sarnie as an Android OS name.

  2. FartingHippo

    Not joining you. Sorry.

    Ironically my lunchtime steak and ale pie - complete with delicious mash and gravy - cost £5.00.

    (Should have saved this post for Friday, when it really would have hurt.)

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Not joining you. Sorry.

      That's really unnecessary. Steak is but a distant dream this morning...

      1. wowfood

        Re: Not joining you. Sorry.

        Went to a beefeaters on Saturday. Steak skewers, 10oz Ribeye (medium rare) with bacon cheese and a gorgonzolla sauce, and then a banoffee sundae for desert. £30 well spent methinks.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Not joining you. Sorry.

        You need to look at reruns of Morecombe and Wise, where they hung up the tea bags to dry, that will save you a few extra cents.

        1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

          Re: Re: Not joining you. Sorry.

          The tea's rough enough already, without recycling the bags.

          1. JDC

            Re: Not joining you. Sorry.

            I'll be heading through Barco de Avila tomorrow, are you allowed red cross style food parcels?

            1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

              Re: Re: Not joining you. Sorry.

              I'm not, but I'll buy you a coffee for the offer, if you fancy it.

      3. IsJustabloke

        Re: Not joining you. Sorry.

        console yourself with this thought; if his entire meal is a fiver I doubt he's having much steak either ;-)

    2. Def Silver badge

      Re: Not joining you. Sorry.

      Five quid in Sunny Norway is about 45 kroner. In all honesty, you'd have trouble buying a quarter of what you did for the same money in Spain. A litre of milk here costs about 23kr alone.

      I bought a small (and not very nice if I'm being honest) chicken wrap in the office canteen at lunch today. With a piddly glass of orange juice I spent 43kr. :(

      I reckon we (my girlfriend and I) spend on average about 800kr a week on food.

  3. BorkedAgain
    Thumb Up

    Best of luck with that, Lester!

    Strikes me as a hell of a challenge...

  4. joeW

    A week on eggs and lentils?

    You should have budgeted a few quid for extra bog roll methinks.

    Joking aside though, fair play to you.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exchange Rate

    Are you sure the exchange rate is correct? Looking at Oanda I see EUR -> GBP is 1,18710 which gives you for GBP 7, EUR 8,31. Thus loads more to spend.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Exchange Rate

      Try here:

      5 quid = 5.93323 euros

  6. wowfood

    Dozen eggs for a euro?

    You can't even get half dozen for £1 anymore over here.

    1. JeeBee

      Re: Dozen eggs for a euro?

      Yeah, a dozen eggs is around £2 over here. Then again, he doesn't get cheap noodles or Tesco Value Sliced Foam, err, Bread. Also there's learning the time the supermarket puts out the damaged food for cheap and going there everyday to try and pick up a bargain. And lastly, for a long term plan, grow your own veg using cheap veg seeds (lidl, etc) - not that many UK people on the breadline seem to do this.

      The bones are a good idea for flavour, but not easy to get in many places in the UK. Chick peas and Rice is a good idea, again he can't get vast bags of value pasta shapes it appears. Dried lentils? Dried beans?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dozen eggs for a euro?

        " Also there's learning the time the supermarket puts out the damaged food for cheap and going there everyday to try and pick up a bargain."

        Well, you'll have to endure the scrum of rabid pensioners. Maybe wait til afterwards, and pick up any roadkill OAPs who are trampled to death, and eat them. Is that allowed?

    2. Shrimpling

      Re: Dozen eggs for a euro?

      Yes you can... I drive past a farm on the way to work every morning selling eggs at £1 for 6

      1. Benchops

        Re: Dozen eggs for a euro?

        Umm, that works out at £2 for a dozen eggs... that's somewhat over €2

    3. Andrew Moore

      Re: Dozen eggs for a euro?

      I have two chickens, and I worked out that after feed, bedding and sundries, I am paying just over 30c for a dozen eggs.

    4. Goldmember

      Re: Dozen eggs for a euro?

      Yes you can. The giant Walmart/ Asda near me does 6 free range eggs for £1. Then again, I do live up North.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dozen eggs for a euro?

        @ Goldmember

        You do realise that a dozen is 12 I assume, therefore said 12 eggs would cost £2 or about €2 not the €1 that was paid.

        1. Shrimpling

          Re: Dozen eggs for a euro?

          @ Ivan 4

          The line we are replying too when we say we get 6 for £1 would be "You can't even get half dozen for £1 anymore over here."

        2. Goldmember

          Re: Dozen eggs for a euro?

          @Ivan 4

          Quote: "You can't even get half dozen for £1 anymore over here."

          HALF a dozen would be 6. Hence my comment about buying 6 eggs, which you can indeed buy for £1 (up north).

    5. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Dozen eggs for a euro?

      I am more concerned with the age of the eggs. Anybody with childhood memories with eggs kept in water in the small shops. If it floats it's too old, the more air there is the older. Or eggs on top of some system with light beneath, perhaps, revealing if there is a chick inside. Eggs at supermarkets tend to be old, and there is not much to do about it.

    6. Michael Dunn

      Re: Dozen eggs for a euro?

      I seem to remember during a spat we had with another European country some seventy odd years ago, when we had an allocation of one egg per week, a dozen eggs on the bl*ck m*rk*t cost 5 shillings, allegedly.

      Yes, it a 'Utility' coat.

  7. EddieD

    All the best mate

    And may Saturday arrive as fast as possible (I doubt I could make do with only 30 teabags, so fair play).

    Eggs and chickpeas - eek.

    I think I'd be living alone if I had that diet.

  8. Pete 2 Silver badge


    A quick tot-up at the calorie counter gives the following:

    1kg rice (raw) ~ 4,000

    800 gm loaf ~ 2,100

    1kg chickpeas (dry) 3,700

    12 fried eggs ~ 1,000

    Bones - reckon on 200gm of fat @ 8cal/gm = 1,600

    semi skimmed milk (iltr) ~ 600 - shoulda gone for full-fat!

    and ignoring the teabags & spices as being insignificant.

    That gives a total calorie intake of about 13,000 for the week, or 1,850 / day. So you might even lose a bit of weight - though I doubt that was part of the plan. Now, about those greens ...

    1. Tom7

      Re: Calories

      Not many people seem to have spotted that this is a five-day "week". That's 2,600 calories per day. According to the NHS, the average man needs about 2,500 calories per day to maintain his weight - about right.

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: Calories

        From the article:

        > Or rather, I have to make do with just €6 for the week

        But you're absolutely right. I wonder is anyone's going to wait until Sunday evening to tell Lester ...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Calories

        "According to the NHS, the average man needs about 2,500 calories per day to maintain his weight"

        According to the same NHS, the average man is an FB, and would be well advised not to maintain his weight.....

  9. Pete 31
    Thumb Up

    Good luck

    Slightly peeved I had to donate a round number. Perhaps it's sad but I like it when people raise XXX pounds and 13p...

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Good luck

      Good man - I saw your donation. I may counterattack later by chipping in the £4 to round that back up.

  10. Corinne


    Unless you like your tea exceedingly strong, you should be able to get at least 1.5 mug's worth of tea from each tea bag. Just make sure you remove the bag before adding the milk then put it to one side on a saucer or similar, and it will keep even overnight and still give off some amber goodness next time you brew up.

    @Wowfood - depends on how fussy you are about your eggs. Asda has 15 eggs for £1.34 if you don't mind them being not free range, & a couple in each box being on the small-ish size (but still around medium). Morrisons are a little more expensive, but still around £1.65 for the same number of slightly smaller eggs.

    1. Green Nigel

      Re: Amateur!

      From my school days!

      Question, "What goes in dry, comes out wet & gives pleasure for two?"

      Answer, " A tea bag!"

      After everyone has had a polite chuckle chip in "Ha ha! Fooled you all, it was a willy!"


  11. Steve Todd

    Do they not have street markets over in Spain?

    That's the kind of place you should have been looking, and for things like boxes of veg. Meat, and dairy are mostly right out.

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Re: Do they not have street markets over in Spain?

      If Lester's markets are anything like the ones I've been to in Spanish towns, the meat is not covered and unrefrigerated on display, of an unknown age and origin. I'd prefer to go vegetarian. Though the veggies will only be what's in season, so not a lot of choice at this time of year.

      1. Locky

        Re: Do they not have street markets over in Spain?

        As I recall, most of our supermercat meat is also of unknown origin

        1. RainForestGuppy

          Re: Do they not have street markets over in Spain?

          "As I recall, most of our supermercat meat is also of unknown origin"

          Rubbish everybody knows where it comes from, it was the one that fell in the 3.30 at Kempton.

    2. Andrew Moore

      Re: Do they not have street markets over in Spain?

      They do- they are called mercadillos- great for fresh fruit and veg.

  12. LPF
    Thumb Up

    Did you have any open air markets around your place, the amount you can bug for £1 will feed you for quit a bit, but yeah agree on the bog roll, your stomach is going to act up big time! Plain rice is a bugger, should have ot some more herbs to kick it up a notch!

    But fair play to you mate!

  13. taxman
    Thumb Up

    If Hugh fearlessly eats it all

    I'm sure you could. If you're not adverse to a little blood and stuff you should be able to put in fresh road kill to the 'stew' as that is free! And there should be wild growing herbs around you in Spain to add flavours to a basic 'stew'.

  14. JimmyPage

    Does this £1/day include energy costs ?

    Because I image some of those ingredients will take a lot of cooking.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Does this £1/day include energy costs ?

      It's a fair point. I'll add up the real cost, including energy, at the end of the challenge.

      1. JeeBee

        Re: Does this £1/day include energy costs ?

        You could always burn your own dung for heat and cooking!

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Does this £1/day include energy costs ?

          "You could always burn your own dung for heat and cooking!"

          I doubt it. If the tods are dry enough, and your diet high enough in plant materials, then there's a chance it will give out some modest heat because the lignin fibres that your body hasn't digested do have a similar energy content as wood fibres of similar weight. But lookin at what Lester's selected the rice doesn't look to be whole grain, eggs will leave nothing, chick peas will be good, so on balance I reckon he'll be crimping off lengths of regular clay, and that doesn't burn well even if dried.

          If you don't have any other choices, dried elephant dung picked up off the African savannah may be a just about useable fuel, but for the reasons above I doubt that Reg writer droppings will be anything like as good. This is why sewage plant companies have to use fossil fuels to incinerate sewage sludges. If Lester has got some of the fine sieves used in (for example) sedimentology, then he could dissolve his dreadnoughts and used tissue in a bucket of water, and filter the resulting solution, rinse a few times, and he'll have the lignin fibres on their own, ready to use as soon as they are dried. Even so, any neighbours may take issue with Lester's renewables, and the actual energy recovered will be very small indeed. Like most other forms of renewable energy, in fact.

      2. stu 4
        Thumb Up

        Re: Does this £1/day include energy costs ?

        in that case, probably worth boiling up the rice in just two batches for efficiency ?

        2 because I'm assuming use of a fridge is cheating.

        I must admit, I'd have just went for making a big veg soup (+ the bones - that was a good idea), and maybe a bunch of flour (50p 2kg bag would make loads of bread). Nice soup and fresh bread ! soup would only need cooking on day 1 and would last all week. Only other need for cooking would be a batch of bread on day 1 and day 3.

        - Just made enough leek and potato soup at the weekend for 6 meals: 3 quid. (2 leaks, potatoes, onion, stock cube)


        1. Green Nigel

          Re: Does this £1/day include energy costs ?

          Cooked rice is a common source of food poisoning. It should be cooled directly after being fully cooked, then stored in a fridge for no more than one day.

          The risk is that spores of Bacillus Cereus remain on partially cooked rice, which germinate into bacteria. These will then multiply and may produce toxins that cause all manner of nasty side-effects. Reheating the rice won't get rid of these toxins, so the longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the more likely it is that bacteria, or the toxins they produce, could stop the rice being safe to eat.

          1. stu 4

            Re: Does this £1/day include energy costs ?

            ah.. but how many calories do these bacteria have.. that is the question ?


        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Does this £1/day include energy costs ? @ stu 4

          "- Just made enough leek and potato soup at the weekend for 6 meals: 3 quid. (2 leaks, potatoes, onion, stock cube)"

          Stock cube? You paid money for a cube of pressed salt and sh!t? Noooo.

          Next time you roast a chicken yourself (or even buy a roast one from the shop), stick the carcass in a slow cooker for five hours, or a pressure cooker for twenty minutes. If there's any to hand, hoof in any stale carrots or onions (or even peeling and offcuts, green tops of leeks, wilting celery, or the bits you won't eat (mud and all). Shallots, green beans, stringless beans can all be added, but I'd avoid most brassicas or veg with strong smells or tastes. Left over cooked veg, uneaten meat from the plates and what have you can all be thrown in. If you want you can add dried or fresh herbs, but I prefer to do that in the final dish. No salt or pepper, of course. Same applies to the left overs of a meat joint on the bone (if there is any left over meat), although meat stocks are generally less versatile than chicken.

          That should produce about three pints of stock per carcass, far better then any stock cube you'll ever buy. Fabbo in a risotto or paella, great in home made soups or sauces, or in things like shepherd's/cottage pie. Freezes a treat.

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Does this £1/day include energy costs ?

        Then you've already lost the challenge with Spanish leccy prices.

    2. Kwac

      Re: Does this £1/day include energy costs ?

      Solar oven does the job well - superb stews, beans, etc. and as your grub doesn't burn (unless you use a parabola) you don't have to bother watching it.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Does this £1/day include energy costs ?

        He's going to have a devil of a job using solar power looking at the weather map... thunderstorms and snow yesterday, rain today... the sun might shine later in the week.

        1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

          Re: Re: Does this £1/day include energy costs ?

          How right your are sir. Bloody awful weather.

  15. Professor Clifton Shallot

    What did you fry the eggs in?

    Illicit oil, fat from the bones, or just a good non-stick pan?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: What did you fry the eggs in?

      New non-stick pan. No oil required.

      1. JeeBee

        Re: What did you fry the eggs in?

        How much did the pan cost, and what is the expected lifespan, and thus the contribution of your weekly budget that you put towards it?

        Okay, okay, it's not meant to simulate living on the breadline quite so accurately!

        1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

          Re: Re: What did you fry the eggs in?

          Right - the pan cost 60 euros (big, expensive stainless steel job). Lifespan, let's say 15 years. That's 5,475 days, or 1.0958904 cents per day, by my reckoning. That actually makes it a bit of a bargain, now I've done the maths.

          1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            Re: What did you fry the eggs in?

            Non-stick as in "having a special coating"? Because the teflon tends to wear away, and I can't see it lasting fifteen years. The pans are perfectly serviceable, once the coating has gone, but it's back to fat. Conservatively, I'd say three years, which is still good value.

            PS I notice Tesco do bars of chocolate for 30p. Three bars a day would fill up anyone! White for breakfast; milk for lunch; dark for supper.

          2. James Micallef Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: What did you fry the eggs in?

            My experience is that even expensive pans with hi-tech coatings don't last more than 2-3 years of regular use (or at least, the pan is still fine but the coating no longer non-stick). However by your calculations even with a 3-year lifespan instead of 15, it would be 5c a day, so still a bargain.

            1. Thecowking

              Re: What did you fry the eggs in?

              Conversely, the more basic the pan, the longer it seems to last.

              I've got a wok my father brought with him to the UK the best part of 4 decades ago which is still perfect. I need to oil it after I use it, but that's par for the course for caring for metal for me.

              Got a cleaver of even more ancient provenance which I don't know how old it is, but the handle is worn nearly smooth and it's bamboo. Oil that after using it too and it's going strong too.

              I actively avoid non-stick coatings and the like, I find they wear out in short order and tend to flake. Plain old steel's good enough for me.

              1. Zot

                Re: What did you fry the eggs in?

                I stopped using those rubbish Tefal thin non-stick coated pans last year and splashed out on a Circulon Anodised thing. It's amazing, and doesn't really need oil for things like bacon. It is a bit heavy though.

                1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

                  Re: Re: What did you fry the eggs in?

                  I like the look of those, especially the ones you can use on induction hobs

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Make a trap and use a few of your chickpeas to attract some birds (the feathered type) which you can kill and cook (or go mad trying)

    That bone tied to a strong rope would surely attract some of the local dogs which you could beat to death with a stick, thereby leveraging up the protein content of your diet. (if you can entice a pitbull they lock their jaws when they bite so you don't need a hook of some sort)

    You are going to end the week both miserable and grumpy, enjoy !

    1. Robert Helpmann??

      Re: Bait

      I was taught this sort of thing in wilderness survival training. You left off using bugs for added protein, though. And roof rabbit.

      Mmm... tasty!

  17. nuked

    This whole £5 per week, or £1 per day thing is a bit arbitary, and has been sensationalised by the media. Without wanting to suggest that food poverty isn't terrible or severe, having £5 to spend in a UK Tesco is entirely different from having £5 to spend on food in Africa.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's the local equivalent

      The £1 per day is in the UK, Lester gets 6E because they are comparable economies (ie. rich but both going down the pan)

      In Africa it is the amount of money it would cost to buy a similar amount of groceries.

      If you are forced to live on so little for an extended period then you end up malnourished, Lester will probably loose a couple of pounds over the week but he will put it all back on (plus some more) on Saturday and Sunday as he pigs out on bacon butties and steak and chips.

    2. Andrew Moore

      go to the website and check out the section entitled "Why £1". It's not supposed to equal £1 in Africa, it's supposed to equal the same value foodwise

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I often wondered this, and whether it was my ignorance, but when it is reported that x% of the world's population live on less than a pound/dollar a day, I wondered how they actually survived.

      Is food cheaper? As in, because the locals have little to spend, local traders offer low price items.

      (Conversely if I turned up in Monaco to do my shopping, I'd not be able to buy anything.)

      Is the type of food cheaper? eg. a bowl of rice vs. a UK full meal


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Is food cheaper? As in, because the locals have little to spend, local traders offer low price items. Conversely if I turned up in Monaco to do my shopping, I'd not be able to buy anything.)"

        Yes, you're broadly correct. But because the cost base of differing economies can be so radically different, along with behaviours, diets, and everything else, to compare like for like at exchange rate prices means nothing unless you can easily, quickly and cheaply move between the compared places.

        For this reason economists sometimes use "purchasing power parity" exchange rates that are intended to make a credible fist of the fact that food is cheaper in cash in poorer countries, as are typical incomes. If you're a Western tourist, you can (usually) benefit from these differences, because everything seems so cheap in developing countries when you go on holiday with savings from your thirty pound an hour job. But it won't seem cheap to those who live there, and earn two quid a day. Also worth noting that differences are regional - take a whippet racing Northerner to London, and he'll be shocked at the prices, but the same would be true of an Indian peasant transported to the more affluent areas of Mumbai.

        The food price difference isn't just about what the locals can afford, but about the cost base. If you're paying a shop worker in London the on-costs and overheads will be far greater than a shop worker in Nairobi, even if the food were bought on the same global commodities markets. Add in the varied impact of shipping costs and subsidies (many developing countries subsidise food & fuel prices) and you have a complex picture, but in the grand scheme.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          A good answer, @Ledswinger, have an upvote!

          Good point too about the wage v living cost affect locally (within the UK), I remember the student loans were greater for London based students and that estimated graduate salaries are greater in the big smoke, but their rent would probably pay for a large house anywhere else in the UK.


          Last time I was in Nice, judging by the amount of Russian registered Bentleys, I wouldn't be alone in exploiting the price difference :)

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        If you turned up in Monaco to do your shopping, €1 will get you a bus ticket to Nice where everything is much cheaper.

  18. Elmer Phud

    Time to go foraging?

    No, not a typo for searching for Group Captain Nigel, but time to look for the free stuff.

    Also not sure that shoplifting is allowed as part of the overall scheme but it's certainly one way to make the money go further.

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: Time to go foraging?

      scored a large amount of wild garlic yesterday

    2. Omgwtfbbqtime

      Re: Time to go foraging?

      You mean going freegan?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time to go foraging?

      Do they not have dandelions in Spain? Go out, pick the greens - salad.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is hard to subsist on £1/day for a single person when taken in isolation. But longer term, you can buy/cook in bulk and store for later use. Also, it's much easier to cook for more than one person, if done right you can serve a meal for 4 x people for £1.

    While this campaign is useful for bring awareness of such issues, it isn't entirely meaningful.

  20. JDX Gold badge

    Egg sarnies

    If you hard-boil them then it's a whole other sandwich - equally toast and fried/poached/scrambled egg or even toast & soldiers.

    However I hope your loaf doesn't go mouldy...

    1. Ian Yates

      Re: Egg sarnies

      Also, add some vinegar = pickled eggs! Last for ages

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You are required in Britain - NOW

    To be the poster boy for Ian Duncan Smith, whose £53 a week gafee couple of weeks ago seems positively benign musings!

    (mind you, If I have to go an see him in parliament house, it will cost me at least £7.50 for the return Tube journey)

  22. Efros


    gone with the Scottish soup, 2lbs each of potatoes (£1.30), carrots (69p) and one swede (65p). One smoked ham hough (£1), 1 onion (19p), lentils (45p) or barley (60p). Boil the ham hough in the largest pot you have in lots of water until the meat is falling off the bone. Remove the bone and skin then add the grated carrots and turnip, the chopped onion and the lentils/barley bring back to the boil. Simmer until the lentils/barley are nearly done add diced potatoes and water if needed and simmer until potatoes are done season with salt (taste it first) and pepper, serve in the largest bowl you have with bread. Should be enough for at least four days. Make sure you boil it every day otherwise it will ferment and taste kinda funky and cause all sorts of gaseous emanations from you, lay in a supply of loo roll, very high in fibre! This is also a cure-all for New Year hangovers, tattie soup!

  23. Colin Miller

    On a slightly more serious, and worrying note malaria is becoming resistant to artemisinin, the last drug that can control it.

  24. Big-G

    Make some Real (additive free, fresh and honest) Bread cheaper than bought

    Best of luck , and if it helps, here is a recipe for making a loaf of realbread,

    Tasty, Nutritious, longer lasting and cheaper than anything bought. Makes you feel good having made it too!

    Strong Bread Flour 500g (When you buy 1.5Kg can be as cheap as £1, but avg is £1 per kg)

    Water 300g (if flour is white, 320-340gr if wholemeal)

    Salt 9g

    Yeast 10g (avoud this cost by making your own "sourdough starter" with just flour, water and recipes from Google.

    Mix water with salt, and add to tflour, then add yeast, and mix, then cover and rest fr 5-10 mins, then knead for 8-10 mins. Shape into a ball and place in a bowl, covered and leave for about 45 mins (if in spain. 1.5hrs if in cooler blighty. When doubled in size, re-shape into a ball, place on a baking tray and again wait 45mins/1.5hrs, until doubled in size, then bake in a preheated oven at 250degC for 10 minutes, then reduce temp. to 210degc for 15-20 mins. Loaf is ready when a tap on the bottom side sounds hollow.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Make some Real (additive free, fresh and honest) Bread cheaper than bought

      "Loaf is ready when a tap on the bottom side sounds hollow."

      I find the loaf is ready when the machine goes "beep...beep....beep".

      This being a technology website, I hope you'll approve of my suggestion of doing simple repetitive tasks by automation?

      1. Big-G

        Re: Make some Real (additive free, fresh and honest) Bread cheaper than bought

        Machines ok , but recipes usually call for more (unneccessary ingredients, like sugar an dried milk) plus you may need to experiment to get it right, cos it's darn difficult to feel and adjust midway and if it ain't right you get waste...ergo use of the original machines.. hands...have a look at them, they really are marvels of engineering. But really...whatever makes your toast, freshly home made is still in the long term cheaper, more nutritious, fresher and longer lasting, and tastier, than the bought stuff.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Make some Real (additive free, fresh and honest) Bread cheaper than bought

          "but recipes usually call for more (unneccessary ingredients, like sugar an dried milk) "

          Generally yes, but my Panny has an excellent "French style" programme that is just flour, salt, yeast and water. Seems a bit odd at first having a sandwich style load with the texture of a baguette, but tastes great.

          And on the other recipes I never bother with dried milk, just slop in half milk and half warm water, use vegetable oil in place of butter. In fact, if you've got it, soya milk works better than dairy. As you say, can involve some experimentation, but always fun trying to make things your own.

          For any Panny bread maker owners reading this, try the fast white loaf setting, using 25% wholemeal flour and 75% white bread flour, a whole sachet of yeast, and normal amount of lukewarm water/milk (plus sugar and salt in appropriate measure). You might need to play with the ingredients a tiny amount, but when you've got that sussed it could be the best everyday load you'll get out of the machine.

          1. TheRealRoland

            Re: Make some Real (additive free, fresh and honest) Bread cheaper than bought

            I find the whole wheat / regular flour bread result to taste sweeter than 100% regular flour. Or maybe i just mixed up my measurements this one time...

            But yes - i do love my bread machine - if only for it to do my kneading. Baking is done on either a french loaf pan or just my pizza stones. On 4 cups of flour, i use 1.5 whole wheat and 2.5 regular flour.

  25. Mostly_Harmless Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good luck with this

  26. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Peas v pancakes?

    Not the way I would have split the budget but once you've already gone for eggs and milk - maybe you should consider trading your chickpeas for some flour - you can make decent pancakes with eggs, flour and milk and do the stew (or soup) using just rice and meat.

    I'm still concerned with the lack of fresh/canned vegetables - one week is fine, but if you live long enough on such diet you will face a real possibility of scurvy...

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Peas v pancakes?

      I could certainly go some fruit, but the budget wasn't up to it. If I was doing this in September, I'd have my own apples and stuff.

    2. Colin Miller

      Re: Peas v pancakes?

      If you grind the chickpeas in a food processor, then you can make pancakes from them. However, I doubt if I'd do it as part of this experiment, as Lester can't really afford for anything to go wrong. There's no eggs in them, as chickpea flour can be used as egg replacement (as a binder) for vegans.

  27. zaax

    Looks like he was shopping at their equal to our Waitrose. If he had gone to the local market he wouldn’t have got the shopping in the car!

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. Crisp

    You paid for bones from the butchers?

    They usually give that away free if you say you're giving it to your dogs.

    1. Dom 3

      Re: You paid for bones from the butchers?

      Yes, I was a bit surprised the first time I got charged for bones in a Spanish butchers'.

  30. Phil Atkin
    Thumb Up

    I reckon I am nearly there, pretty much all the time ...

    Since I decided to kick the 'fat bastard' habits of a long and pretty fat lifetime, I've been eating 2 meals a day of porridge with 'jampote' (basically foraged fruit - blackberries, hedgerow damsons and plums - collected for free and frozen in season, then cooked up in big batches with a bit of sugar to make a low-sugar jam). The liquid to cook up the porridge is about 30% water, the rest cheap as hell LIDL UHT semi-skimmed. So for sure my breakfast / lunch budget is about 20p a day. And has been for 3 1/2 years. Dinner is a 'real' meal.

    At that rate surviving a week with dinner for 80p and no coffee should be easy (ish). The absence of coffee will be the problem.

    Pictures (i.e. porridge is good for you) -

  31. heyrick Silver badge

    As I said before

    You'll want to be doing this for at least a month before you can fully appreciate how bad it can be living like that. You know, when your body's reserves have run out and you're actually trying to live on that sort of thing...

    1. Crisp

      Re: As I said before

      I'm hoping that a proper nutritionist has checked Lester Haines diet plan for the week.

      I'm no doctor, but I'm not sure that he'll be getting all the vitamins and minerals he needs from those meals.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    as i remember...

    You and yours have a couple of animals, right?. I hear that most farm-type animals cook up rather well. And if you can't convince your children that they'd make a wonderful meal, you should still be able to, if they're female, milk them (I don't envy you this because I have been subjected to non-cow milk before).

    I found that by not eating out 4 times per day, and actually going to the grocery store, I could cut my food budget from $1300/month to around $225. Of course (as you commented) the bars and restaurants began to panic, and some of them actually closed.

    1. Red Bren

      Re: as i remember...

      If you can convince your children that they'd make a wonderful meal, you need to be stopped. As for milking them...

  33. Triggerfish

    Nice shopping

    You did better than the beeb, who had a load of people who said look recipes are easy, then mentioned you just add 30p of this, 5p of that.

    I think the weekly shop for all the goods (since buying 1p of pepper is not possible) they mentioned came to about 30-40.

    1. Professor Clifton Shallot

      Re: Nice shopping

      I think the game as it is played allows you to use something like pepper on a pro-rata cost basis so you can have a penny's worth.

    2. Corinne

      Re: Nice shopping

      Ah yes my pet peeve about cooking programs is the "store" ingredients they assume everyone has at all times and are rarely costed in e.g. 15 different fresh herbs & spices, an unlimited supply of citrus fruits to get juice & zest from, 8 different types of sugar etc etc.

      I finally needed to replace a couple of "store" items recently like mustard powder (for cheese scones), vanilla extract & ground nutmeg, & just those 3 cost over a tenner. OK the mustard powder & the nutmeg will last me literally for years, but they do have to be bought in the first place (and stored).

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Nice shopping

        Uuurgh BBC search is awful. Cant find the articles from a couple of days ago.

        I wouldn't begrudge the pepper bit. But they worked out the whole value of the recipe like that the same way you would do for a resteraunt dish.

        So it meant they were saying things like add 5p baked beans, 10p bacon, 7p of wine etc.

        In other words can you feed yourself for a pound a day from a fully stocked food cupboard, not just condiments or herbs and spice.

        Turns out yes you can, who'd have thought.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice shopping

        " needed to replace a couple of "store" items recently like mustard powder (for cheese scones), vanilla extract & ground nutmeg, & just those 3 cost over a tenner."

        I think you're shopping in the wrong place. Even from Tesco this lot shouldn't be more than a fiver.

        1. Corinne

          Re: Nice shopping

          My bad, £1.35 for the mustard powder, £1.40 for the Nutmeg, shade under £6 for the vanilla, so a bit under £9 not over £10. But still painful on my current budget.

          It was the decent quality vanilla extract that did it, most things I'll go for a cheaper option, but when it comes to my vanilla it needs to be the real stuff rather than the 80p little bottles of watery "flavouring" (except in meringues, then the cheap crap does OK).

          1. JDX Gold badge

            Re: Nice shopping

            This is like Terry Pratchett's assertion that the rich can live for less than the poor because they can buy boots which cost 10X as much but last forever while the poor have to buy cheap ones that only last a year or two?

  34. Crash!

    Got a bicycle for transport and an internet for identification?

    You might find some asparagus acutifolius or some cynara scolymus at this time of year along the roadside - dependant on where you are in Spain.

    Obviously catfish is tasty (if there's a river nearby) - you just need a big hook, some line or cordage as well as something stinking and stolen from a bin to catch them with. That said, going from franchising out your killing to knocking a 15lb catfish on the head and then gutting it may be quite a jump.

    I hear songbirds are also delicious.

    Paris, because, well, I couldn't possibly say.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      This is what I need:

      Plenty of that around here.

    2. Rukario

      > I hear songbirds are also delicious.

  35. Ed 13

    Good luck

    I commend your resolve, but pity your family after you've been on a diet of chickpeas and rice for a week!

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Good luck

      I may have to be quarantined after the event, pending a full system purge.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What does £1 a day include?

    Does energy spent cooking food have to count as well?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: What does £1 a day include?

      No, not for this challenge.

  37. Retron

    I've (inadvertantly) followed this plan for two days of my American holiday. Day one saw no breakfast, a banana for lunch and nothing in the evening, whereas the other day had nothing for breakfast, another banana for lunch and a pack of Cheetos in the evening. Drinks are just tap water (bought a bottle of Diet Coke at the beginning of the holiday and then just refill it thereafter - the tap water seems to be safe to drink here).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      How can you be in the land of the supersized free refills all you can eat and NOT be eating? Holy moley get thee to a Wafflehouse STAT!

  38. MegC

    People need to take a leaf out the ye olde student handbook.

    Tesco light choices baked beans, 1 can is 27p

    Tesco value bread: 80p

    Use the bread again for a sandwich etc every day and thats a good way to start off your cheap spending (not saying it'll be nice like...)

  39. Mike Richards

    'So, I'm in business, but one question remains: will the challenge prove harder on me or on my local bar owners, who greeted the news I'd be off the booze for a week with a mixture of disbelief and dismay.'

    Well that's killed off the last part of the Spanish economy.

    This isn't an elaborate scheme to have soft-hearted Reg readers bombard you with food parcels is it?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      "Well that's killed off the last part of the Spanish economy."

      It's true. I think about 50 per cent of bar staff jobs hereabouts depend on the expat euro.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >but things don't work quite like that in sunny Spain, or at least not round here

    Al Campo seem to be everywhere and have a section with barrels of stuff like rice and chick peas so you can fill up with whatever you want and don't pay for the brand and packaging. I'd be suprised if the shops round your way don't sell out of sacks although sometimes that is more expensive than supermarket brands, especially if they stick artesana on the shop somwhere.

    Sunny??? I've just been out for a walk at lunchtime and got drenched. In this corner of Spain, which is as far away from a corner as you can get, sunny it definitely isn't.

    Doing this I'd have gone to a street market and stocked up on carrots, lentils and onions.with enough left over for a celebratory drink at the end of it.

    Eggs seem to be a bit of an eggs-travagance. - Had to be said

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Quote

      Dia for much cheapness.

      Best to eat the meat on the day though, but inspect it carefully before buying nonetheless.

      Icon shows how you have to cook the food just to be on the safe side.

  41. Jon Green


    This time of year, there's plenty of spring growth going on, probably some early mushrooms (if you don't know your mushies, do NOT try this at home!), fresh roadkill's usable, and you might just be able to rustle up some rabbit or similar. Wild herbs transform a meal, and they'll certainly boost your bone stew. (Possibly "bone" in the military sense...) For a free, fragrant tea, steep elderflowers - there's a chance they'll be out by now, where you are. And it's all free!

    Good luck!

    (Icon: forgaging for forgotten sugar/ketchup/... sachets in jacket pockets...never find one when I need it...)

  42. Robert E A Harvey

    Good man

    I fasted for a week for Christian Aid in 1974. Drunk water & black tea. It can be done. Kept working too, though I stopped driving after 3 days.

    I might do it again some time.

  43. Richard Mason

    Soya & beans

    I'm surprised no-one has mentioned using soya mince. Holland & Barrett (and Tesco) do a 375g pack for £1.89 which when reconstituted becomes the equivalent of 1.5kg of mince. I use it all the time to make chilli, bolognese sauce, cottage pie, anything that has liquid and flavour and normally uses mince. The secret with soya mince is to add a little Marmite and a few drops of olive oil to the boiling water used to reconstitute it.

    Dried beans are also a good buy, once they have been boiled and simmered, they double in weight. I buy the 500g packs from Tesco of red kidney beans, cannelli beans, pinto beans and black eyed beans, mix them together and store them in an airtight plastic tub. 2kg of mixed beans (1 pack of each) comes to £4.27.

    375g of soya mince, 2kg mixed beans, 4 tins chopped tomatoes (Tesco Value, £0.31 each), 1 tube tomato puree (£0.35), 1kg onions (£0.90), 1/2 jar crushed chillis (£0.95/jar), 1/2 jar hot chilli powder (£0.95/jar), 1/2 bottle hot pepper sauce (£1.00/bottle), a couple of oxo cubes, 2 teaspoons Marmite, a little olive oil and some water gives me about 10kg of chilli for about £11.00. That's enough for about 30-40 people at a party or 20 large portions of chilli for my freezer, giving me 20 meals (rice or baked potato with the chilli would of course be extra).

    Flame sign because my chilli should normally carry a chemical warning, I like it hot.

    1. Richard Mason

      Re: Soya & beans

      Forgot one ingredient, 4 teaspoons of sugar.

  44. C. P. Cosgrove

    Scurvy anyone ?

    First, I wish you well with this challenge.

    Second, I would not want to be on a diet like this for very long - it seems to be awfully short on vitamins. There are some very nasty vitamin deficiency diseases out there which are largely a memory in Western Europe - scurvy, ricketts, pellagra to name but three.

    As one or two commentards above have suggested, get out there and start foraging !

    Chris Cosgrove

  45. Andrew Halliwell


    Something you could consider is the art of foraging for food.

    Seek out websites such as eatweeds. (I imagine there are spanish specific sites with similar ideas)

    Wild herbs. the leaves, flowers. roots and/or seeds of certain plants (and with some care, the odd mushroom) could supplement your diet.

  46. Zot

    Egg Butty! Is the preferred name around here.


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