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The challenge? 
Spend 5 days feeding yourself with $2.25 a day – the New Zealand equivalent of the extreme poverty line.

The reason? 
To give a glimpse into the lives of 1.4 billion people who have no choice but to live below the line every day – and who have to make $2.25 cover a lot more than food

Live Below the Line is a campaign that’s changing the way people think about poverty – and making a huge difference – by challenging everyday people to live on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line for 5 days.

So a meal for $2.25NZD? Doesn’t sound like much but when you do the figures and work out what it would cost a family of 4 (at this rate) for a week, three meals a day – you are looking at $189 per week. This doesn’t include cleaning products, personal bits and pieces, nappies, formula, kids snacks or wine! BOY has it become expensive to live these days. I complain about the cost of living and I have a good job, I send my youngest to daycare (so I can work), run a gas guzzling car and find money for takeaway coffees and sushi lunches. What about those who, for whatever reason aren’t so fortunate? Life I imagine is pretty tough. And they are not eating three meals a day.  Tearfund approached us to help come up with a recipe for $2.25 that would appear in Tear Funds Live Below The Line Cookbook and help those who take up the challenge to get some recipe ideas. My idea is hardly a new concept, its a staple food all over India. However, it’s cheap, nutritious, delicious and easy. Dahl – basically it’s curried lentils made with enough liquid to produce a thick soup like consistency. Eat it with rotis, nann bread or even toast. Add your own spin on it and add chopped spinach, carrots, potatoes – or peas – it’s extremely versatile. Vanessa

If you are taking up the challenge to spend 5 days feeding yourself with $2.25 a day and need some recipe ideas check out Tear Funds Live Below The Line Cookbook

Dahl soup
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Serves: 4

What you need
  • 1 cup red split lentils, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1 x 400 g can reduced-salt chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup coriander leaves, to serve
  • ½ cup low-fat natural yoghurt, to serve

How to make
  1. Place the rinsed lentils, and turmeric in a saucepan.
  2. Add enough water to cover the lentils by 3 cm.
  3. Bring to the boil over medium heat and cook for 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
  4. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft.
  5. Add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and ½ cup of water and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the cooked lentils and a further cup of water to the tomato mixture.
  8. Simmer for 5 minutes, to warm through.
  9. Stir in chopped coriander.
  10. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt.


Vanessa’s cheap n cheerful lentil soup width=


From 23rd – 27th September, join Tear Fund and live on $2.25 a day for 5 days to change the way people in New Zealand think about extreme poverty – and make a huge difference.

If you Live Below The Line for TEAR Fund you’ll see your money preventing, rescuing and rehabilitating the innocent victims of the fastest growing criminal industry of our generation.

Vanessa and I were recently asked to contribute to Tear Fund’s Live below the line Cookbook, where we were asked to of come up with a recipe for under $2.25 (NZD). It was important for my recipe to be hearty and full of flavour as it may be your only meal that day (if you take up the challenge, you live on $2.25 per day for 5 days). It’s got all the right ingredients to fill you up – crunchy potatoes, spicy beans and it’s loaded with protein with a poached egg. The smoky spices give the tomatoes a huge kick. It’s also a great weekend breakfast as well as an easy Friday night dinner. It’s one for the girls and the boys!

Ingrid’s Smoky Mexican breakfast
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Live below the line: Meals for under $2.25
Recipe type: Cheap eats
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 1

What you need
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ can black beans (or you could use baked beans, bortelli beans – whatever is the cheapest)
  • ½ can tomatoes (cherry, diced, whole peeled, again whatever is cheaper)
  • 1 x egg
  • 1 medium potato, cubed
  • cooking oil

How to make
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Place potato on a roasting tray, spray or lightly coat with cooking oil and roast for 30minutes until golden.
  2. In a frypan on medium heat, add a splash of oil and saute onion for a couple of minutes. Add spices and mix around the pan for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and beans and mix through. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened up. Crack an egg in the middle and place a lid on the pan until egg is cooked to your liking. Serve topped with roasted potatoes.


Vanessa’s cheap n cheerful lentil soup width=

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Comments (2)


2 Responses

  1. Hannah says:

    Made this on Saturday night– perfect recipe for a cold wintery evening. It’s perfect for a ‘leftovers lunch’ at work, too! Delicious 🙂

  2. I am so happy you enjoyed it, I totally agree about it being a perfect recipe for a cold evening, I woud even say it would be a great one to have if you have a cold and feel under the weather – healthy, cheap and comforting! Vanessa

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