Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/30/quid_a_day_tuesday/

Quid-a-day nosh challenge hack in bullet-hard chickpea drama

Obstinate legume resists force of steaming cauldron

By Lester Haines

Posted in SPB, 30th April 2013 10:04 GMT

Day two of my "Live Below the Line" challenge has kicked off with another two fried egg sarnies and a couple of cuppas, following a long, hungry cooking slog yesterday thanks to some particularly obstinate chickpeas.

To recap, I'm subsisting until for five days on just £1 a day for nosh as part of "an innovative awareness and fundraising campaign that's making a huge difference in the fight against extreme poverty".

This budget translates into a total of €6 here in sunny bloody freezing Spain*, and here are the dietary bangs I secured for my bucks before waving a temporary adiós to bacon, coffee and ... <gasp> ... beer:

My supplies for five days

All you can eat for €6

The tempting range of ingredients available for the challenge breaks down as follows:

So, the basic plan was to throw the chickpeas, bones, garlic, paprika and herbs into an enormous pan and boil the living daylights out of them, thereby creating a steaming enormity of goodness which would see me through the whole week.

As we all know, chickpeas have to be soaked overnight before boiling. Once that's done, they should take around 2-3 hours to cook in the magic cauldron:

Big pan of boiling chickpea and bone stew

Throw ingredients in pan, boil for six months

In this case, they actually required six hours, indicating they'd spent quite some time on the shelf undergoing a transformation from legume to bullet. Such are the pitfalls of buying cheap grub.

Of course, were I not living below the line, this wouldn't be a problem; I'd just cook something else while peering occasionally into the bubbling broth.

It wasn't until well past 10pm, and with a audibly protesting stomach, that I could finally use some of the stew broth to boil up my 200g rice allowance for the day, and get stuck in:

My bowls of stew and rice

Dinner is served. Who needs steak, eh?

The verdict? Not too bad. The meat bones and other bits and pieces certainly made a big difference to the flavour, so this low-budget concoction is palatable enough.

The question is how long before the monotony of the diet provokes dreams of a quick fried chorizo on the plate, or something equally sinful? I have a cunning plan to address this problem, which I'll reveal tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'll offer a big ta very much to all those who've shown their support for my chosen charity, Malaria No More UK. As you can see from my fundraising page, it's going swimmingly, so let's see if we can't pass my fundraising goal...®

Bootnote

*It was snowing yesterday. This is totally unacceptable, and no doubt the legacy of the previous socialist government.