back to article Quid-a-day nosh challenge hack forms foraging party

It's been a tough winter here in the mountains of central Spain, so Mother Nature isn't lending much of a hand as I attempt to sustain myself spending just £1 a day for nosh in the "Live Below the Line" challenge. As many readers have pointed out, I should be able to venture forth into the countryside in search of free …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Alister

    six cuppas a day!

    Blimey, I've passed that already, and it's only half eleven

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

      Exactly. I've got three cuppas left for the whole day, and it's not even lunchtime.

      1. mike2R

        You can easily get a second cup out of a teabag, just let it steep for a while longer. More probably, if you are desparate.

  2. RiJon

    Grow your own

    I don't know if anyone has already suggested this but if you were to do this over a longer period, surely growing your own veg (and possibly fruit) in a window box or something similar would be a good way of keeping cost down and fresh food intake up, would it not?

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

      Re: Grow your own

      It would. I have fruit trees, so if the challenge were in August or September, I'd be laughing.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Grow your own

        Laughing yes, but too much fruit in your diet and you might be doing it from the the thunderbox

  3. Ru

    Cep mushrooms are jolly nice. My experience has been that in the areas where they might be found, you'll often find some locals who are keener than yourself and prepared to get up much earlier to hunt em down leaving you with nuffin... but you never know. Good luck!

  4. JDX Gold badge

    Mushroom risottish?

    Sod that, fry them with some scrambled eggs!

  5. Kwac

    A quid a day

    A quid a day is half of what some UK hospital catering departments get for providing 3 meals a day for patients, so good going.

    I would assume that, as they're trying to feed significantly more than one they'd get the advantages of bulk-buying. I'd also assume that that sort of budget wouldn't do a lot if you needed to regenerate new tissue.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: A quid a day

      You'd be supprised how much it can save to cook for more than one person at a time in terms of price per person. I'd struggle to make myself a single portion of semi decent pasta for under roughly 2 euros. Yet I can make something that'll pass for a semi decent pasta for 30 people for roughly 50 cents per portion.

      Biggest saving tip when it comes to cooking, buy bulk, get some of those cheapo refrigirator tupperware boxes and cook for more than one meal at a time. Put the leftover in the tupperware boxes, keep it cooled and warm when needed.

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: A quid a day

        Putting leftovers in the freezer and re-heating also works.

        I have a (probably bad) habit of 'one-pot' meals based on the boxes of macaroni and cheese with various bits thrown in- usually mushrooms, olives, broccoli, and some form of meat thrown in for protein. I package up lunch-sized portions, and freeze whatever I'm not going to eat in a couple days. Do this with a couple different recipes, and one can get a nice mix of food for lunches and dinners for the week out of a couple days cooking.

      2. A J Stiles

        Re: A quid a day

        Why spend money on Tupperware (other food storage brands are available)? My local takeaway serve up their curries in plastic boxes that are reusable several times before they eventually go brittle.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You wanna fry mushrooms to make them nice. (same goes for onions, meat...)

    Well done though... I never dare eat wild ones for fear of ending up as a footnote in the Darwin awards.

    And can you get some balsamic vinegar on your £1 a day? mmm.

  7. Russ Tarbox

    The hunger will fade I think.

    You're eating a reasonable amount - you're just used to eating more, whenever you want. You'll probably find that by the end of the week you'll be able to shift onto smaller portions overall, no matter what you eat. Though thinking about all the delicious things you're missing won't help with that! Best of luck with the rest of the challenge.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: The hunger will fade I think.

      With rice you can eat as much as you want for £1 a day I reckon so pure bulk isn't an issue?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Milk in "risotto"?

    No offence - and yesterday's looked not bad - but to me that looks absolutely rank :/

    Personally i'd have boiled the rice, cooled it, and fried it with the mushrooms and one of yer eggs thrown in to make fried rice.

    1. Pete Smith 2

      Re: Milk in "risotto"?

      That's what I used to do util I saw the error of my ways.

      You fry the egg *first*, sort of like an omelette, and then stab it into bits with your wooden spoon (sort of like scrambled eggs, but don't stir constantly).

      Remove eggs, add whatever fillings you've got, cook them.

      Once they're done, add the rice. This must be absolutely bone dry, or you'll end up with mush.

      Finally add the eggs, warm through. Add soy sauce and fresh herbs, and you're done.

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

        Re: Re: Milk in "risotto"?

        And where do these "soy sauce and fresh herbs" you speak of come from?

        1. taxman

          Re: Milk in "risotto"?

          Is there not some rosemary growing thereabouts or even some thyme?

        2. ukgnome
          Black Helicopters

          Re: @Lester

          And where do these "soy sauce and fresh herbs" you speak of come from?

          that would be the delivery van heist that is planned for Thursday

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: @Lester

            With fried rice it depends on how much heat you can get to your wok.

            Asian gas suplies for wok cooking chuck out a lot of gas the oil is vapourising almost straight away, after lighting.

            The average crappy UK stove top (even if it has a wok burner) just doesn't deliver enough heat. So you often have to fry in parts and let the wok heat up properly between as the food cools it.

            As for me I was always told the rice should be slightly al dente, dry and cold (apparently it takes up less oil or something when you do this).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the making of fried rice

        "That's what I used to do util I saw the error of my ways."

        Yes I'm rather au fait with making fried rice. I didn't realise that I'd have to put step by step instructions on the exact order of things....

        (btw, there's no need whatsoever to remove the egg, and little need to pre-cook any "fillings" either. And a wooden spoon? No way Jose. Big metal slotted spoon, to make that authentic metal-on-wok-scrapy-noise. That and things stick to it less)

        1. wowfood

          Re: the making of fried rice

          I'd always been lead to believe the best way was to fry up the rice once dry, then split it down the middle, so you have the rice on one side, and a blank spot on the other. Then fry up the eggs in the dry spot (scramble style) and mix the together just as the egg solidifies. Y'know that stage between bone dry scrambled egg (how I like it) and slightly goopy still.

          1. Havin_it
            Thumb Up

            @wowfood Re: the making of fried rice

            Bang on, aptly-named sir. My gf does it this way, and she grew up under the counter in a Chinese eatery.

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

      Re: Milk in "risotto"?

      Ah well, I'll have two surplus eggs on Friday for some egg fried rice, so I hope you find that more appetising.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Milk in "risotto"?

      Risotto does look a bit rank but many nice foods do.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Milk in "risotto"?

        "Risotto does look a bit rank but many nice foods do."

        No, thatrisotto looks a bit rank (Tho it might well taste nice).

        It does tend to be over-mushy if it's not arborio rice though. And it looks a wee bit on the wet side for my liking, and the colour is a tad off-putting.

        A proper risotto (and this is no slight whatsoever on Lester who's seriously budget and therefore ingredient challenged here, and never claimed it was actually a risotto anyway) usually looks exceedingly un-rank

  9. ukgnome
    Thumb Up

    destroying angel

    Yeah it kills you, but does it taste nice before that happens?

    Seriously though, top man for doing this and +1 for El reg for letting you post your week on here.

    However I donated to hear of suffering (well not but y'know) so far it seems to be going OK. When does the running from the law because you nicked some paprika happen? When does the delivery van heist start?

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

      Re: destroying angel

      I gather the problem is no one's ever lived long enough to pass an opinion. Having said that, I suppose it must be somewhat palatable, otherwise victims wouldn't have scoffed entire destroying angels in the first place.

      1. Jon Green

        Re: destroying angel

        A. virosa is hepatotoxic: that's to say, it destroys your liver. But that doesn't kill you immediately: it takes 7-14 days. Ironically, on the day after you've ingested it, you'll feel great: the so-called "false dawn", because if you haven't been put on the transplant list already, you've lost. Then it's a downhill slide through increasing levels of jaundice and delirium, to unconsciousness, and finally death.

        So there'd be no problem with someone living long enough to give an opinion on the flavour of A. virosa - but you'd have to get an opinion in the first couple of days or so because, after that, your subject might be a little less coherent...

  10. Steve Button Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Alcohol withdrawal?

    Imagine you have a stinking headache.

    Same with caffeine if you normally drink lots of coffee.

    Does ibuprofen / paracetamol count as part of your £1? Suppose it's not food, so might be OK. ;-)

    1. Alister

      Re: Alcohol withdrawal?

      I'm guessing the tobacco doesn't count as food, either ;-)

    2. sheik

      Re: Alcohol withdrawal?

      Headaches should be treated for free, simply by going outside and chewing on some local willow bark!

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

        Re: Re: Alcohol withdrawal?

        Indeed, and I do have a willow on my property.

        1. Jon Green

          Re: Alcohol withdrawal?

          If it's white (European), purple or crack willow, you're in luck. If it's black/pussy or weeping willow, not so much. The good news is that properly-prepared willow bark is often thought easier on the stomach than aspirin, and has some extra components that have similar properties to salicylates, and work together with them.

  11. jai


    can't you set some traps? might be able to bag a rabbit or something, that'd make for a tasty addition to one or two meals? Or if you're lucky, a deer and that'd last you all week! although, i guess, in the spirit of things, you'd have to fashion the traps out of tree and vines as six euros probably wouldn't stretch to buy a bear trap...

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Fauna?

      If you don't have a bow, you can normally take out rabbits with a well aimed rock. At sunrise they are usually reasonably distracted with rabbit life and can be found littering fields. Some funnel traps in streams might net you some fish, hell a decent sized branch, some string, a paperclip and a worm might catch you something. You can always get squid if you have something that glows, just drop it off a pier on a line and the daft buggers go for it if they are there. Octopus can be caught with nothing more than a plant pot on string. Leave a string of them overnight and they think they're little caves. In the right spot you can get about 50% of your pots containing one. Everyones locality will be different, but I'm sure theres a lot more to find out there. Congratulations on the good work so far, off to a good start!

      I know some may bitch about it not being IT related but its a good read!

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

        Re: Re: Fauna?

        IT? What's that?

      2. wowfood

        Re: Fauna?

        You really want to be careful though with trapping your won food. There are plenty of rabbits around where I am locally, but you wouldn't dare eat them, so many have infections of one kind or another. Last time I went to portland you coulnd' ttake two steps without seeing a bunny carcas or two, normally dead from infection.

      3. I like noodles

        Re: Fauna?

        > hell a decent sized branch, some string, a paperclip and a worm might catch you something.

        *two* paperclips.

        One for the worm, the other one to say "Hey, it looks like you're trying to catch some fish, ...."

        (there's your IT angle)

      4. Ben Holmes

        Re: Fauna?

        Completely and utterly OT...but I wasn't aware there was any other kind of Spaniel than a rampant one...

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: Fauna?

          Clumbers :-) Often hard to tell if they are actually alive. At least compared to a field springer.

          1. Ben Holmes

            Re: Fauna?

            Ahh yes. The anti-Springer. Forgot about them.

  12. Mark Shaffer

    Old Nick?

    Have you begun having visions yet? Has The Father of Lies popped round to offer you all the earthly kingdoms?

    Also, I'd be interested in hearing about any observed digestive tract effects. Like if everything has seized up in response to this outrage. Or the reverse. Anything like that.

  13. wowfood


    if you'd just eaten one of those destroying angel mushrooms, it'd be much easier to get by with just £1 per day for food.

  14. Yesnomaybe

    Isn't the gathering and potentially the hunting of extra resources a bit outside the brief? One would assume the challenge would be to carry out ones normal day-to-day activities in spite of only spending a quid a day. I could spend £0,- per day if I dedicated my working day to gathering food in the wild. Good article though, I applaud the effort and so on....

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Outside the brief?

      Good question. Where do we draw the line; foraging, animal trapping, going on the game, mugging, bank robbery, international terrorism?

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

        Re: Outside the brief?

        You forgot drug trafficking

      2. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: Outside the brief?

        In my mind there does seem to be a line there :-) It might not be the same as other folks though!

        Good on Lester for trying this and also experimenting in going beyond just boiling chickpeas. If you do live close to the sea or a decent river it might be worth seeing what you can find there. My experience of Spain is pretty limited so I'm not sure if you'd face any pollution issues, especially with shellfish, nor how 'fished out' you may find it. Might be worth it for a giggle.

  15. bag o' spanners

    Should be able to find ink caps and puffballs on flatter ground if it's reasonably cold and damp. Garlic grows wild in southern Europe, as do spring onions. There might also be girolle and pied de mouton mushrooms if cep can be found that easily.

  16. Dom 3

    More free food.

    In "my" bit of Spain I'd see people foraging for two things - asparagus, and snails. Snails of course need to be starved for two weeks first, and I expect that if asparagus grew wild at this time of year, Lester'd know about it.

  17. A J Stiles

    Is this an annual event?

    Is this an annual event?

    If so, I think I might be interested in having a go at it next year.

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

      Re: Is this an annual event?

      It is annual. Give it a go...

      1. A J Stiles

        Re: Is this an annual event?

        Right. You're on! I'll be signing up for LBTL 2014.

        I've got the best part of a year to prepare for it ..... What can possibly go wrong?

    2. Mr Young

      Re: Is this an annual event?

      What's the timeout man? I'm rather slow off the mark so I could maybe give Lester a tenner for rehabilitation down the pub etc:)

      1. Martin Budden Silver badge

        Re: Is this an annual event?

        I might give it a go next year. At today's exchange rate 5 quid is $7.58, which buys a lot of food at Aldi, plus at this time of year I have a ton of home-grown veggies from the autumn harvest, and I bake my own bread with bulk-bag flour, so it should be pretty easy. In fact I suspect I'm already doing it most days without even realising. Admittedly that's not counting beer, but home-brew is cheap and effective!

  18. Radbruch1929

    Herb sauce

    Parsley, cress, chives, borage, salad burnet, sorrel, chervil, any of this in season in Spain? You could collect that, chop it up, include a hard boiled mashed egg (not really required though) and have some nice herb sauce for free. All of the above usually grows on meadows but beware dog droppings or the like.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stuff yourself with Nettles!

    I'm surprised you haven't started eating stinging nettles yet! They make an excellent substitute for spinach, making a decent vegetable addition to your diet, or indeed a fine soup. I guarantee you won't have to go far outside of your normal range to grab a carrier bag full of them!

    For other recommendations of what's good to eat right now, there are tons of foraging resources on the 'net, try Fergus the Forager, River Cottage or the Geoforaging sites.

    Hairy Bittercress is also making an appearance about now. It's a spring veg bonanza at the moment!

  20. RainForestGuppy

    Go the whole hog

    If you've started foraging, what's wrong with a bit of fresh roadkill??

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The day after.

    What have you got planned for when you finish?

  22. david 63

    I lead a foraging day for the local food festival... the end the general consensus is:

    * that leaves taste like leaves

    * that you need an awful lot of leaves to satisfy you

    * vegetable protein is almost impossible to find for most of the year

    There is a reason that non agrarian civilisations were all meat eaters.

  23. Havin_it

    How about that other Amanita...


    That should keep the budget down for a good day or so, as you'll be too busy tripping balls to be much concerned about food (or indeed clothes, societal norms, etc...)

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

      Re: How about that other Amanita...

      Plenty of those around here, but only in autumn...

This topic is closed for new posts.