how to eat for $2 a day WITHOUT resorting to battery hen eggs

$2 lentil stew $2 lentil stew

It’s a good thing that blogs have comments. I mean it’s a great way for me to learn from you guys as well. But it also keeps me on the straight and narrow – which is a good thing. You see if blogs didn’t have comments, I’d be getting away with outrageous things.

Like writing posts on how to survive on $2 a day by eating potato omelettes. Which might seem innocent enough, but when it comes down to it, you can only achieve the $2 limit if you use the cheapest eggs available – eggs from poor battery hens.

When I was writing the post, I used my normal free range, happy chicken eggs to make the omelettes and used the battery hen price for my calculations. I didn’t even think of the implications of what I was doing until I had a few comments from responsible readers accusing me of condoning the use of battery eggs. At first I was in denial, but thinking about it for a few minutes I realised the error of my ways. What a goose.

So today I wanted to apologise for inadvertently inciting you to buy cage eggs and offer an alternative $2 menu. If you missed it, you can read all about the live below the line campaign to raise awareness of extreme poverty. But if you are going to make the omelette, please use eggs that have been produced ethically.

my ethical $2 day menu

breakfast
a slice of homemade bread 11c
10g butter 5c
tea with milk 9c
lunch
potato soup (recipe below) 60c
dinner
hearty red lentil stew 77c
steamed rice 15c
TOTAL – $1.77

potato & onion soup
[5 3 ingredients]
potato soup
serves 1

Inspired by Julia Child’s potato & leek soup from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Not exactly going to win any awards for beauty, but don’t let that put you off this simple, lovely soup. It’s potatoey and onioney and comfort in a bowl – not to mention filling.

Feel free to scale this recipe up for as many people as you need to feed.

I used a waxy spud for this soup but I think it would be even better with a lovely floury number. And I think next time I’d soften the onion in butter first, rather than just boiling them. And I’m keen to try it with leeks like Julia when I’m not on such a strict budget.

1 large potato, scrubbed & diced 25c
1 medium brown onion, peeled & diced 30c
small knob butter 5c

Pop potato and onion pieces in a medium saucepan and add 1 1/2cups water. Simmer for about an hour, adding more water if it starts to get too dry. It’s done when everything is meltingly soft.

Mash with a fork or potato masher until the soup is as smooth as you’d like. Stir through butter, taste and season.

cost per serving 60c

$2 lentil stew

[5 ingredients]
hearty red lentil stew

serves 3-4

I was looking to maximise the use of fresh fruit & veg this time and the humble trio of onion, celery and carrot were the best value.

This stew is calling out for customisation. Some spices, a little more chilli, even some different veg – all depending on your budget. If I had more money to spend I would have topped it with some fresh corriander or mint leaves and served with a dollup of natural yoghurt.

The secret to cooking red lentils is to keep an eye on them and stop when they are just tender. Its a fine line between just cooked and mushy. But don’t stress if you end up with a more lentil soup texture – it will still be delicious.

Oh and if you’re wondering why I’ve labelled this 5 ingredients but there are 6 listed, I normally don’t count oil as an ingredient but have listed it today for accounting purposes.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil 10c
1 onion, peeled & diced 30c
1 large carrot, diced into chunks 24c
2 ribs celery, diced onto chunks 24c
1 can tomatoes (400g / 14oz) 75c
150g red lentils 66c

Heat oil in a medium saucepan and cook onion covered on a medium low heat until the onion is soft. Add remaining ingredients except for the lentils and 1 1/2cups water. Simmer until the veg are tender – about 45mins.

Add lentils and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until lentils are just cooked through but not mushy. Taste and season and serve with steamed rice.

total cost $2.29
cost per serving (assuming 3) 77c

_____

budget class logo

Like to learn more about Cooking on a Budget?

Then I highly recommend taking the ‘Mastering the Art of Cooking on a Budget‘ program at the Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School.

The program is ‘pay what you can afford’ and I created it as a chance to help people who can’t afford my other programs.

While cooking real healthy food on a budget may seem difficult, it’s not impossible and in this class I’ll show you exactly how to do it.

For more details go to:
www.thestonesoupshop.com/budget/

With love,
Jules x

ps. I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to keep offering the class as a ‘pay what you can afford’ so signup today to make sure you don’t miss out.

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