I found myself eating dinner at 5pm today, shattered and raggedy around the edges and having spent much of the afternoon in a blanket sullenly poking at my phone and trying to work. I guess the teeny tiny roast vegetable soup didn’t quite cut it on the satisfaction front, but I hit a sort of panic and started rationing ingredients today, worried I might run out. Truth is I still have a whole head of broccoli, a carrot, an egg, some stock cubes, a banana, a bit of yoghurt, some barley, barley bits, barley flour, peaches and two soups I made yesterday in a fit of organisation, so I think I’ll make it to the end. But it’s scary. I caught myself absently spooning baked beans from the fridge today and when I realised I was horrified, trying to mentally calculate if my moment of zombie-like gluttony would cost me a meal later down the line.
I had an egg white left over from Tuesday’s soup, where I just used the yolk, and had carefully slid it into a jar in the fridge. I’ve hidden all my LBL ingredients from the rest of the family, stowed behind jars of pickles and backs of fridge drawers so they don’t get eaten accidentally, which is a double edged sword, as it means I’m confronted with everyone else’s asparagus and creme caramels as I pick my way through the fridge for my pot of yoghurt and an egg white. I’ve even labelled it all, purple Sharpie on fat white labels, reminiscent of days spent in a fire service mess room and then a newspaper office where goods not clearly identified as belonging to someone were seen as fair game. Anyway, I digress. Pleased to report the children have not helped themselves to my succulent tinned peaches, my moments of sweet joy in an increasingly difficult week, but that may be because they’ve had about seventeen lectures on the matter…
And so, this was dinner. I think it’s my most expensive LBLUK meal this year so far, but oh, it was worth it. I’m writing this two hours later and I’m not hungry. It was hot. It was stodgy. It was protein-packed. It was exactly what I needed.
20g barley flour (made from ground up pearl barley), 3p
3 tbsp natural yoghurt,
the White of a medium free range egg, 7p
135g Basics baked beans, 8p
1 medium free range egg, 15p
In a small mixing bowl, combine the egg white with the yoghurt and barley flour (if you haven’t been following this so far, I made barley flour by flinging a load of uncooked pearl barley in my blender and pulsing it, and repeating about ten times. It wasn’t the most efficient flour-making method but it was all I had, and made a small amount that has got me through the last few days. The little cracked pieces of barley that were left behind have so far been cooked in soups and found their way into something like a bircher pot). Mix well with a fork to break up the egg and form a thick batter.
Brush the bottom of your frying pan with a little oil and heat on a medium heat. Some schools of thought cook pancakes on a shit-hot high pan but I’m too easily distracted and that doesn’t work for me, but feel free if you think you can tame it.
Dollop a little batter into the pan, spread into a round if it needs a little help finding its shape, and repeat until your pan is full of little pancakes. I like mine blini sized at the moment, they cook fast and the sheer number of them fools me into thinking I’m eating more than I am. Let them cook, and turn over after 30 seconds to a minute when it’s all holding together. Cook for another minute or two, then remove. Repeat until all your batter is used.
Meanwhile, I fried my egg and flung my beans in the microwave to heat through – hey, it’s Live Below The Line, not a contest for a Michelin star.
And devoured. Gratefully, stodgily, happily, devoured.
I’m eating for £1 a day to raise money for Street Child United and you can read all about it (and donate!!) here: http://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/agirlcalledjack