Wrong hummus and lasagne

1 May

I have probably mentioned this last year, but time is just about the first thing that you sacrifice when your food budget is only one pound per day. In general, when you don’t have a budget, you won’t have access to convenience foods, and as a result you end up spending a lot of time on preparing your foods. (Yesterday’s tinned potatoes were a pleasant exception to the rule, being both cheaper and less work compared to fresh potato).

For the sake of food preparation, I do get up half an hour earlier than usual this week.  You won’t be surprised then that today I’m thrilled with what I ended up eating, considering preparation wasn’t all that time-consuming. As I’ve been doing, I started my morning routine cooking lunch and breakfast. I made some onion bread using the leftover of my first onion, flour water and salt. I put a bowl of water in the oven this time, as I read somewhere soft rolls are made like that. Although the resulting bread was nowhere near a soft roll, it certainly had a smoother crust.

I had the choice to be lazy and had one roll with chunky peanut butter.


Despite the lazy breakfast, however, today I had something that was lacking a bit yesterday: Inspiration. I wonder if my near-overdose in mixed vegetables last night had something to do with that. Part of that inspiration came from a treasure I found in my freezer drawer last night.

IMG_1502 IMG_1503

I’m big fan of fresh herbs, but lack the green thumbs to grow them (those genes went to my older brother). I also don’t mind a bargain, now and again (no surprise there). So back in September, I bought a little bag of heavily reduced fresh mint leaves, put them in my freezer and forgot about them. Look at them either way you want, but this nicely fits the description of “herbs and spices” within the rules, so I’m feeling entitled to use these at proportional cost. If you think that’s unfair and should count full (discounted) price, I’ll consider it. But not now.

I realized I could make a completely wrong hummus. Wrong?

Well, traditionally, the recipe goes something like this…

Traditional hummus

  • 200g/7oz canned chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
  • 100ml/3½fl oz tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Additional flavouring (garlic, coriander, paprika…)


– Blend everything together in a food processor, until it’s a creamy paste

As for my one-pound-per-day version, it goes something like this:

Wrong hummus

Consider the traditional hummus recipe. Adjust amounts to whatever you need.

  • Replace lemon juice with vinegar.
  • Replace chick peas with boiled lentils.
  • Replace oil with water.
  • Replace tahini with peanut butter. Use less, as practical.
  • Replace coriander/garlic/paprika with heavily discounted mint leaves.
  • Don’t replace the salt. Salt is cheap.
  • Prepare as recipe above.

This resulted in a spread that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike hummus – but tasty enough to be enjoyable. I thought my lunch was going to look like this:


So I snapped a picture and headed off to work.

Use the toaster.

What was that?

Use the toaster! And get your ears fixed.

Well, thank you for the idea. Toasted onion bread and wrong hummus it was.


By the way, the pizza mentioned yesterday never materialised. I needed to suffer through the presence of some delicious looking sandwiches instead. After my wrong hummus on toast, it was not much of an issue though. Then there’s the nagging questions… Lacking tea, is it weird to drink hot water? (Hey, some mint leaves could make a nice hot drink!)

And what to have for supper? I decided on lasagne. Fresh lasagne sheets are the simplest pasta you can make. Just mix flour with a bit of water into a stiff, dry, dough and roll it out. Done. For the sauce, I sauteed half an onion, then added boiled lentils, mixed vegetables and oregano, pepper, salt. I added a bit of water and ran it through the food processor, then returned it to the pan and slightly thickened it with a water/flour mixture. I constructed most of the lasagne, then proceeded to make a bechamel with milk and flour, spiced up with freshly foraged garlic mustard. I topped the lasagne with the bechamel. Lacking cheese, I dusted the top with some flour, processed into a breadcrumb-like texture with a bit of water and some salt.


After baking it… Not too shabby. It would have been better with cheese, tomato and mince, but it was tasteful (as tasteful as one could expect at least), filling and halfway healthy.

I can’t eat another bite. I’m absowutewy ftuffed.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go shout at some lentils. But I’ll tell you more about that another day.

By the way, finances for today…

Flour 10p
Peanut butter 10p
Mixed veg 19p
Lentils 20p
Milk 11p
Onion 8p
Herbs and spices, salt 7p
Total spent on food… 85p

Previous total spendings: 425p
Proportional use of herbs and spices: 7p
New total spendings:  432p
Budget left for the next 2 days: 68p
Thanks go out to Sarah Smith for her donation today.
For those who wish to help fight world hunger, please donate here.

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