Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Live Below the Line

 I took this photograph of my granddaugher holding a small pottery bowl partially filled with just rice in it to capture the spirit of "Live Below the Line".The bowl was made by Auckland Potter Margaret Sumich.

From the 24th -28th September Below the Line Participants will be living on just $2.25 a day for 5 days to change the way people in New Zealand think about extreme poverty-and  help to raise funds.This campaign is being organised by the Global Poverty Project and runs in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Last year was the first time kiwis took part. We raised $120.000

Povery is such a complex issue and so much of it is caused by the wrong kinds of political decisons, corruption and greed as well as natural disasters over which we as individuals have negligible control. But by joining in with hundreds of others in this campaign we can voice our concerns and are more likely to be heard. And as the money raised is going to well known and respected organisations I am confident that it will be used wisely to alleviate poverty and put food on the  plate for some families.

I will struggle without caffeine and do not look forward to hunger pangs. But for me and the other participants it is only for one week. Whereas for the 1.4 billion people in the world who are living in abject poverty it is not a matter of choice but an ongoing fact of life.What is even more disturbing is that for them the $2.25 has to cover not only food, but also health, housing , transport, food and education

As Ghandi said " Poverty is the worst form of violence


I do plan to be well prepared beforehand. Over ripe bananas can go into the freezer sliced and packed in zip lock bags ready for breakfast smoothies or an instant banana ice cream. And I'll be raiding the neighour's lemon tree and forage in my own back yard for parsley, rosemary, bay leaves and mint.  Most importantly I'll be looking around to see where the cheapest food supplies are in my local area.

There are two online Cookbooks with some really good recipes for the Live Below the Line Campaign . One  was created by Lloyd Hayes and Sabrina de Souza.http://blog.results.org.uk/2012/04/12/results-live-below-the-line-recipe-book/
Lloyd Hayes is a talented chef and a graduate of Jamie Oliver's Restaurant.

Together they have created their versions of some classic meals, including a Live Below The Line pea soup, (cheeseless) pizza and an (all bean) burger and chips.


The other one was created by www.livebelowthelinenz.co. It also has some really good recipes. I'll be trying out some of these as well as creating some of my own, and shopping around for where to source the cheapest food locally before the Campaign starts.
Carrot and Chickpea Tagine
As far as root vegetables go, carrots are much cheaper than kumaras or pasnips.This tagine makes good use of them. It is spicy and sweet . The raisins are optional . The recipe can be found


I won't add theThe Ras El Hanout  while Living Below The Line as it is expensive. I can buy the other Spices very cheaply from the local Indian Supermarket. Cans of chickpeas are also frequently on special both in the supermarket and in our local vegie shop IE produce where they have a longstanding discount:  three cans for five dollars.

Colcannon: Serves 6

Potatoes are one of the cheapest food right now and this simplified Irish recipe is reasonably tasty. as well as filling. Adding in some spring onions at the end adds texture and crunch.
You could adapt this recipe by using another green vegetable such as broccoli.
Traditionally a spoon woudl have been pressed into each serving to create a hollow and a generous dollop of butter would have been put in this and allowed to melt, but we'll just forego this luxury for now.


4 large potatoes ( cubed)
2 cloves of peeled and finely sliced garlic
1 1/2 cups of finely sliced green cabbage
3 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of salt
3 spring onions
A little parmesan cheese ( optional)


Boil the potatoes in salted water with the sliced garlic until almost tender.
Add the cabbage and boil for a few more minutes until both are tender.
Drain and mash the potatoes and cabbage with the butter , milk and crushed garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. It doesn't matter if the mixture is still a little lumpy.
Stir through the finely chopped spring onions.

Optional: You can let this cool and then reheat in the oven later or
put into small bowl . Sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese and heat in the microwave.

Cumin Potatoes
Here is my recipe for cumin potatoes. If you want to add some heat add a pinch of chili powder. Luckily there is a lemon tree in my neighbour's garden which they are always happy to let me me raid.


About 15 small potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon of cumin seed
Freshly ground salt and pepper to tste.


Cut the Potatoes in half
Peel the 2 garlic cloves and slice thinly
Toss the potatoes with the garlic and oil.
Put in a single layer in an oven dish.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 30-40 minutes until the potatoes are tender. They should be crunchy and golden on the outside.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Microwaved Potatoes with a savoury topping

This afternoon I called in to see my friend Barbara who gave me this recipe.
Microwave as many potatoes as required.
Chop a couple of rashers of bacon finely and add a little grated cheese.
Cut the potatoes in half. Spread a teaspoon of this mixture on each half.
Then flash under the grill to melt the cheese.
Checkerboard Potatoes
This is an Alison Holst recipe. Agria are nicest for these and other roasted potato recipes but they are more expensive than other potatoes. Any other potato suited to roasting would suffice this week. 
You could ring the changes by leaving the paprika out or sprinkling with other herbs or spices.
Method: Scrub the potatoes and cut in half. Cut lines lengthwise and then crosswise on the cut side to make a checkerboard pattern, Cut deeply without piercing the skin.
Blot the cut surface on a paper towel,then dip in melted butter and oil ( or do as I do and brush a little on each potato with a pastry brush)
Sprinkle with paprika and , and bake, cut side up  for 30-40 minutes at 200 degrees C until  the flesh gives when pressed.
The cuts should open during the baking. Do not serve with lashings of butter on top. You won't be able to afford it.
And here is another Alison Holst Recipe for Half-Baked Potatoes
Scrub potatoes as for baking. Cut in half and place cut surface down on a buttered or greased baking tray. Bake at 200 %C until the potatoes give slightly when pressed.
Stuffed Potatoes

These were a staple when we were Uni students.  For this bake half a dozen potatoes in the oven, scoop out the flesh and mash with a little hot milk and butter and an egg yolk and season well. You can add some parsley at this stage.If the budget allows at a little grated cheese on top. Put back in the oven to heat  through,
Crushed Potatoes
For these crush the potatoes lightly with a fork. They should still be a little lumpy. Stir through a little olive oil, some parsley , and salt and pepper. You could fold through some green peas.
Broccoli Noodle Stirfry


Per person

A handful of dried thin wheat noodles
1/2 head of broccoli chopped finely
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of peanut ( or other vegetable oil)
1 clove of garlic finely sliced
1 teaspoon of butter
A teaspoon of soya sauce

Boil the noodles briefly in salted water until al dente
Drain and toss the sesame oil and butter through it
Stirfry the clove of garlic and the broccoli briefly in hot oil
Add the of soya sauce
Add the noodles and briefly reheat together.
Serve in a bowl.


Cabbages and carrots are cheap but the coleslaw I ususally make has lots of mayonaise, raisins and cheese but this will not be affordable for Live Below the Liners . This coleslaw will be cheaper to make and it's also healthier.  The banana pineapple slushy is a great way to use up any remaining pineapple juice and makes a not too decadent dessert for one.

You could serve this coleslaw with a baked potato  for a humble dinner.


4 servings.

3 cups of shredded cabbage
2 large carrots ( grated)
1 430 gm of pineapple chunks in their own juice
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Put the cabbage, carrots, and the pineapple chunks in a large bowl.
Stir in 1/4 cup of pineapple juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
( Set the remainder of the juice aside for the pineapple and banana slushy)

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