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 …

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six cuppas a day!

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

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

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

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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.

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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?

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Grow your own

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

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Stop

Re: Grow your own

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

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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!

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JDX
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Mushroom risottish?

Sod that, fry them with some scrambled eggs!

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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.

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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.

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Boffin

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.

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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.

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Anonymous Coward

frying

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.

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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.

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JDX
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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?

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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.

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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.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver 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.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: Milk in "risotto"?

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

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JDX
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Re: Milk in "risotto"?

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

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Re: Milk in "risotto"?

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

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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)

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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

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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.

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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

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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).

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@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.

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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?

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver 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.

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Boffin

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...

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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. ;-)

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Re: Alcohol withdrawal?

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

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Re: Alcohol withdrawal?

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

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: Alcohol withdrawal?

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

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Boffin

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.

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jai
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Fauna?

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...

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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!

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: Fauna?

IT? What's that?

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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.

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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)

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Happy

Re: Fauna?

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

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Re: Fauna?

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

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Re: Fauna?

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

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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.

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Y'know

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.

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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....

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Outside the brief?

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

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Outside the brief?

You forgot drug trafficking

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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.

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Pint

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.

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