Eleanor Wilde

Hungry For Justice

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Triple Decker food shop recap

Hi there,

This post is about shops 6, 7 and 8…lots in store for you lovely readers, with more detail about what I’ve been cooking up in my super budget kitchen!

Shop 6: Whilst we were house- and dog-sitting, we did one shop, from Nisa Local (a mini supermarket) and from one of those discount food shops with lots of freezers and factory surplus. The Nisa was disappointingly expensive compared to Sainsbury’s (60p for chopped tomatoes and 89p for kidney beans) but we did get a great reduced section deal on some Jus Rol puff pastry for 40p. This made a lovely roast veg tart, which is an easy and filling dinner and we had enough left over for lunch the next day. The discount shop had some weird and wonderful items including a huge bag of frozen chopped red peppers for £1, and a paella spice mix for 60p. We also bought some BBQ crumbed pollock fillets, which sounds very odd and to be honest, tasted a bit naff. The fish inside was nice, though, and Ruth made them into a lovely meal with homemade potato wedges and garlicky sauteed carrots. I used the paella spice mix for paella, of course, with those red peppers and some Quorn chicken-style pieces, but it also worked well in enchiladas which I baked in the oven with some ready-grated cheese on top. The cheese, sadly, was not very good value for money, as I used the whole packet in one meal.

Shop 7: Back to Sainsbury’s, hooray! The mythical reduced section triumphed again, with 4 white baps for 29p. We’re not making as much soda bread any more, as it uses up a lot of soya milk and therefore reduces my breakfast options. Speaking of breakfast, peanut butter oat cookie/flapjack things were on the breakfast menu, as the oats and peanut butter were running out and I just couldn’t face another morning of porridge. These were made with oats, peanut butter, honey and Basics spread. I melted an equal amount of spread and honey in a pan with a bit of allspice, then mixed in the oats and a little plain flour, and formed the mixture into balls. After baking in the oven for 15 minutes at Gas 4, they were golden-brown and tasted delicious. Ruth also bought some Basics black olives, which were delicious with a tomato sauce on pasta. The little tub of mixed herbs I bought ages ago is still going, and we’ve been using it for the majority of our meals. It really is a star buy at 35p, and has lasted me since the 7th of March!

Shop 8: This was a bit of a luxury shop, as we really fancied some treats for once! We managed to find some reduced croissants for breakfast, courtesy of the reduced section, 29p for four. We also bought some chillies, as I was missing spicy food, and a bar of Basics dark chocolate for 30p. The biggest luxury purchase was a jar of Marmite for £1.70. I’ve been missing it so much! Anything over £1, on this foodbank fast, is a luxury. I will make the Marmite work for its price tag, though: it can do so much more than perk up your soda bread toast! For example, Marmite enriches sauces and gravy, and provides much-needed Vitamin B12 to supplement our veggie diet.

The best meal I made was a sweet-and-sour Chinese stir fry with egg-fried rice. Everyone has a different recipe for sweet-and-sour sauce, and mine ended up tasting just slightly too much of tomato. Usually I would use ketchup, but we had none, so I made it with these ingredients: Chopped tomatoes, honey, tinned pineapple, soy sauce, a pinch of Chinese five spice, malt vinegar and chopped garlic. It’s really important to mix the sauce cold and taste it while you’re making it. We used half of a big bag of stir-fry mixed veg from Sainsbury’s (700g for £1) and the rest of the Quorn chicken pieces for the stir fry, and it was more than enough for both of us.

On this last shop, Ruth had a good chat with the checkout staff about End Hunger Fast. She had to put some items back at the till (lemons and anchovies) and instead of disdain, she encountered sympathy and interest about the cause. If you want to find out more about why we’re doing this, please visit http://www.endhungerfast.co.uk.

I would like to get something off my chest here, and shed some light on how we make our food last on so little money. I don’t eat every meal at home, as I work in a kitchen for 25-30 hours a week, mostly in the evenings. My workplace offers me a small staff meal after working 5 and a half hours, which I sometimes take advantage of (once or twice a week) even during this foodbank fast. You may think that this is unfair, as I end up eating outside of the budget some nights, and therefore our fast isn’t authentic to how people in poverty live. Let me just answer that with some statistics:  According to the Trussell Trust, In 2012-13, 18% of people referred to their foodbanks were there because of low income (http://www.trusselltrust.org/stats). These people on a low income are likely to be working in industries such as catering, which has very little union activity, widespread abuse of zero hours contracts and frequent breaches of employee’s rights. Most catering jobs pay the minimum wage. Believe me, I have been working in catering since I was 16 and I have never been paid above the minimum wage, with the exception of my current job, which pays 36p an hour above for back of house. Just think about it: if you were under-employed, surviving on the minimum wage, and barely able to pay your rent and bills, you wouldn’t say no to a free hot meal.Therefore, I am going to continue having my staff meal when I get home late at night.

Thanks for reading. See you soon for shop 9,



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Shop 2- now with added caffeine!

Hi there,

Ever so sorry for not posting yesterday. We had an intermittent power cut for the entire day, which meant lots of candles and romance but no internet. My apple flapjacks were just cooked when the power went off again in the evening, which is a plus. Did I mention that I made apple flapjacks? They are my new favourite breakfast food, especially when accompanied by 50p instant coffee from Sainsbury’s Basics. We’re eating like queens! On a serious note, we had a good long time yesterday to think about those who can’t cook, wash their clothes or heat their homes because their money doesn’t stretch to a coin in the meter.

Today I am going to treat you to some multimedia.

Here is my second shop from Sainsbury’s, which came to £14.25:

Look at all the nutrition!

Look at all the nutrition! Peppers, cauliflower, mixed root veg, bananas, soya milk, lentils, baked beans, chopped tomatoes, curry powder, mixed herbs, allspice, honey, instant coffee, plain flour, vinegar, kidney beans, mild cheddar, white rice.

Now, Sainsbury’s Basics is awesome. The cheap mixed veg pack is going to last us for ages, and their 35p mixed herbs are a revelation. Unfortunately, I did notice a couple of things that seemed wrong to me. First of all, there are no lentils in the Basics range, presumably because poor people don’t eat lentils; despite them being a cheap and healthy source of protein. Secondly, and most disturbingly, all of the Basics products are on low shelves, often the bottom shelf, which I recognise is a good way to make people buy the expensive stuff at eye level. The effect on shoppers, however, is that those who are strapped for cash have to practically crawl to get their shopping, and after kneeling on the floor for the best part of an hour, phone/calculator in hand, I felt quite deflated. I also had to ask the cashier to tell me if I was going over £15 at the till, because that’s all I had. The look he gave me was the same one I used to get at the Jobcentre. Why do we treat people this way, just because they have a little less money?  Personally, I pity the other shoppers for not realising how much money they could save just by buying the Basics range.

I’m not going to post every recipe I make on here, but if requested I can detail the ingredients I’ve used. Below is the lovely leftovers dinner I made for myself last night (the other half was getting well fed at Mirfield on retreat):


Chickpea Fritters with peas, cauliflower and tomato sauce

You know what your mother told you about wasting food? There are children starving, in Britain, and so help me God I will never waste another morsel of food. There was too much water/tomato juice in Thursday’s pasta bake, which my partner drained off into a mug. This, thickened with flour and butter (a roux, if we’re being fancy) made a lovely tomato sauce. The chickpea fritters were a mixture of leftover hummus (technically chickpea dipping sauce, because I added too much water) and flour, with some more lemon juice thrown in for flavour. This made a gnocchi-like dough, which was very filling. I fried the fritters in oil over a high heat. A few steamed scraps of cauliflower and some peas, and there you have a yummy dinner. I would only add that if you do try this at home, add whatever herbs and spices you fancy, because I didn’t have any and that was the only thing the fritters could have done with more of. I do now have herbs and spices, which is very exciting. I miss my seasonings most of all!

An update on the soda bread front: My second loaf is in the oven now. It is stupidly easy to make, just ask Jack: http://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/07/02/airy-fairy-easy-peasy-soda-bread/

I cannot overestimate how awesome this bread is. I have just bought plain flour and malt vinegar, both very cheap. Any vinegar can be substituted for the lemon juice in a soda bread recipe, and I can testify that it’s cheaper (as recommended by a kind commenter on this blog). Any milk, including bog-standard soya milk, will do for the recipe as well.

I will leave you with some more multimedia, which has nothing to do with anything:


Look! A tiny coffee-drinking giraffe!

Have a nice day,

Eleanor 🙂