That post title may be tongue in cheek, but the reason for creating this budget treat is deadly serious. The Chocolate Log Blog likes a challenge – and is not adverse to helping raise awareness of a good cause. This month, the #WeShouldCocoa challenge aims to highlight extreme poverty by putting a chocolate-y spin on the notion of ‘living below the line’. The ‘Live Below The Line‘ campaign puts participants on a mind-boggling budget of a paltry pound a day. That’s for the whole day.
For one hundred pennies and not a penny more, people living on these means must provide breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and indulgences… or, more accurately and realistically, whatever they can afford to. Within families living permanently ‘below the line’, and not just choosing the challenge to help make a very valid statement, this often translates to ‘something to keep the kids’ tummies full, and nothing at all for the adults’.
If you plan to make your money stretch, you’ll need to plan menus with military precision – not easy if you lack time, skills and food knowledge. The mere fact I had the time to take to make this trend-led little recipe fit the specified budget means I could afford the luxury of doing so. It took wrangling, number-crunching, and had my brain working so hard it hurt. But it hurt nowhere near as badly as the stomachs of the 13 million people living below the line in the UK’s must hurt everytime they can’t afford to eat.
A Girl Called Jack’s blog is a shining beacon of inspiration for those living below the line. Advice from a woman who’s done with pence what many couldn’t do with pounds out of sheer necessity was always going to be eaten up with relish by the very people who had spent years scoffing at insipid crumbs of comfort flung down from the ivory towers of politicians who needed to be seen to care.
But blogs like Jack’s seem to have penetrated the political consciousness. With people like her ‘on the inside’, perhaps there’s a chance that a round pound won’t have to put food on the table for a full twenty-four hours. My money was merely used to create a chocolate cake, and that made my brain ache. If that’s tough enough, try coming up with a full day’s feed without breaking the bank.
Here’s an idea – perhaps parliament should spend a session coming up with its own recipe for this #WeShouldCocoa challenge. They’ll find that cooking on the cheap demands creativity, enterprise and damn hard work; just as it will to come up with the workable and sustainable solution to food poverty that so many need so desperately.
This super-scrimping recipe is best relished after a good long chew over some very serious food for thought…
The Cocoa Nut’s ‘Not-Quite-Pound Cake’: Salted chocolate peanut butter ‘n’ jelly torte
- Serves 4, amply.
- Total cost = 98p, (calculated using mostly products from Sainsbury’s ‘Basics’ range)
- 500g Basics natural low-fat yogurt (to yield approx 250g when strained) 45p (45p/500g tub)
- 100g Basics dark chocolate 30p (30p/100g bar)
- 50g Basics crunchy peanut butter 9p (62p/340g jar)
- Pinch of salt <1p
- 75g Basics strawberry jam 5p (29p/454g jar)
- 100g Basics custard cream biscuits 9p (17p/200g pack)
- Strain the yogurt through a piece of muslin overnight (or until reduced by approximately half).
- Turn out into a bowl and beat until smooth.
- Put the jam in a small bowl and beat – with a dribble of water if necessary – until smooth. Reserve.
- In a saucepan or in the microwave, melt the chocolate. Stir in the peanut butter and a pinch of salt.
- Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
- Combine the chocolate mixture with the yogurt, beating until smooth and uniform.
- Line a springform tin with clingfilm.
- Blitz the biscuits, tip into the tin and press to form a base (the cream filling helps hold it together without butter!)
- Turn the mixture onto the crumbs, then use a knife to ripple the jam through.
- Smooth the top, then chill well before serving, or freeze for a few hours for a ‘semi freddo’ version!
- Replace the strawberry jam with Basics marmalade at the same cost.
- Replace the Basics dark chocolate with Basics white chocolate at the same cost.
- Replace the custard creams with Bourbon creams at less than a penny more.