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Pea Souper! January 18th

Today marks the first of the last two weeks of my diet.

It's also another saturday in the kitchen - preparing pea soup, and lentil chilli.

How today's 1.00 was spent:

Porridge 0.17

Pea Soup 0.38

Lentil Chilli & Potatoes 0.45

Cooking

Today was to be a busy day. This morning I had to clear out the gutters, and swap sofas with relatives. For some reason, I thought it a good idea to attempt to cook pea soup in addition to my other chores.

Initially, the pea soup went well, as I peeled and diced two potatoes, chopped up an onion and some garlic, and weighed out abour half a bag of the frozen peas. I fried the chooped vegetables, introduced the made up stock and peas to the pan. After sprinkling on some herbs, I paused to admire the mix. This was to make a fine pea soup.

At this point, the doorbell rang, and matters began to complicate themselves. I will not go into too much detail, but swapping sofas transpired to be an involved process that included removing a front door.

The fervour of furniture removal caused me to loose track of time somewhat, and the peasoup remained on for about an hour - 6 times longer than the recipe I was loosely following recommended. The peas had lost their lovely vibrant green colour, and had began to look a dissapointing shade of chipshop mushy pea sludgy green.

Ingredients Pea Soup

ItemCost
450g frozen Peas0.45
12.5g butter0.05
1 onion0.07
2 potatoes0.08
1 stock cube0.04
1 clove garlic0.02
1 sprinkle herbs0.04
Total0.75

The soup managed to make two portions - perhaps a good thing, considering the overcooking. I decided to have one portion for lunch. Whilst my wife, to whom I offered a taste, suggested my pea concoction was not unpleasant, the taste offended my pallette a little. Perhaps my offence reflected more the mourning of the loss of what initially had looked like a very promising soup, than anything unpleasant about the soup it's self.

Shopping

Following a drive to my relatives with half a sofa in my boot, on the way home I decided to call into a different Aldi to do some shopping for the rest of the family. To my delight, this store had tins of red kidney beans in stock - facilitating the making of a lentil chilli!

ItemCostServingsCost per Serving
Red kidney beans0.231 tin 0.23
Total0.23  

Following lunch, I start work on the lentil chilli. Whilst I would never normally consider using a packet mix to make a chilli, I have also never considered using lentils to make a chilli, so in someways, I am quite looking forward to the experience

Ingredients Lentil Chilli

ItemCost
200g lentils0.40
12.5g butter0.05
2 onions0.14
Passata0.32
Kidney beans0.23
Total1.14

I'm very cautious with using the butter, as supplies are now dwindling. I suspect I managed to "hold back" about 2 grammes of butter - that may help grease a pan and perhaps facilitate another meal.

A couple of small errands after cooking, and it's time for dinner. I decide to try one of the portions of lentil chilli, which I partner with some new potatos in order to preserve my rice stocks.

Ingredients Lentil Chilli & Potatoes

ItemCost
1 portion lentil chilli0.29
4 new potatoes0.16
Total0.45

I can't say I totally enjoyed the chilli. The first few bites were very pleasant, but as I ate the filling meal, fatigue started to set in for the first time this month. I've made chilli-con-carne on countless occasions from scratch, and the packet mix wasn't a patch on my own recipe. Perhaps the similarity between the dish and food I normally eat emphaised the changes I've made to my lifestyle to accomodate this diet.

From the mailbag

I had a brief text conversation with Ash.

Maybe I missed it, but was wondering if you lost any more weight since your weigh in on day 10.

Ash

I was quite concerned with the initial weight drop, so whilst I have not been blogging it, I've been on the scales every couple of days or so. The weight loss appeared to slow after the initial drop. I stepped onto the scales this morning, and they read about 14 stone to 14 stone 1 pound.

Conclusion

The lentil chilli was a reminder of the consequences of the "bare cupboard" start of this diet. With just a few of the ingredients in my kitchen, I could probably have made a chilli of far greater quality, with a relatively small increase in cost.

In some ways it highlights the trap for many on a lower budget who are not used to cooking - an insufficient budget to risk expending money on ingredients that may not be used, that can lock one into a cycle of sauce mixes and convenience food.

It's also made me think about the times I resort to convenience food, and wonder if it's high time I started making my own bread and pasta, and increased the diversity of my food with skill rather than spending money on supermarket asian sauces and take-aways.

Totals to date

Cash Spent29.46
Value of Food Consumed:16.92
Waste0.09
Cash to spend:1.54
Days Remaining:13