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A Three Course Dinner for 2 for under £3

Thursday 12 December 2013
Could you come up with a meal for at least two people for under £3?  I was challenged to do just that by the leading Food Bank charity The Trussell Trust in partnership with Buyagift who are hoping to raise awareness of just how difficult it can be to eat well on a limited budget.

I managed to come up with a 3 course meal which will feed 2 - 3 adults.  It was a challenge to stretch the £3 budget but this is the reality for millions of people and families in the UK everyday.  Many have less than that to spend on food each day, in fact 13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK.  It is a shameful fact that whilst the UK is one of the top 10 richest countres in the world, many people living here struggle to feed their families.  The Trussell Trust partners with churches and communities to open new Food Banks nationwide.  With almost 400 Food Banks currently launched, their goal is for every town to have one.

 You can take part in the challenge and come up with your own recipe to help raise awareness or visit the Trussell Trust website and find out how you can help in other ways such as donating to your local foodbank (there are collection points in many supermarkets), raising money by donating an amount via phone, online or as you do your online shopping.

I decided to devise a menu that contained as many vegetables as possible and was also filling and tasty.  The cost of my menu, not including the cost of butter, oil, herbs and spices, was £2.86.  The cost including butter and oil is £3.34.  The herbs used were free as I grow them on my windowsill and have dried herbs preserved from those grown at our allotments.  With any remaining money from the budget you could buy a banana to slice and have with the crepes.  Here's the menu:

Spicy Tomato Soup

Serves 2 – 3 adults

A little oil
1 onion  16p
1 clove of garlic  3p
1 carton chopped tomatoes with chilli and peppers  50p
1 vegetable stock cube  2p
Water as needed
Add a little more chilli powder, salt and pepper to taste
Total cost 71p

Peel and mince the garlic then peel and finely chop the onion.  Put a little oil into a saucepan over a medium heat, add the garlic and onion to the pan, cooking until the onion softens.  Pour in the chopped tomatoes and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, add the stock cube dissolved in 250ml of boiling water then simmer for a further 5 minutes.  Take the soup of the heat, leave it to cool a little then blend until smooth with a stick blender.  Add a little water, if necessary, until you have the consistency you like.  I sprinkled our soup with chopped fresh parsley and some crispy cheese flakes which surrounded the scones on the lined baking tray.  Serve with 2 or 3 cheese scones per person.

Makes 10 scones

75g Butter
300g Self Raising Flour  9p
200ml Milk  10p
75g grated cheese  40p
Total cost  59p

Mixed Vegetable and Pearl Barley Risotto

Serves 3 adults or 2 adults generously

1 onion  17p
1 clove garlic  3p
2 stock cubes  4p
1 or 2 tsp dried mixed herbs or 1 Tblsp chopped fresh mixed herbs
200g pearl barley  26p
300g frozen mixed vegetables  25p
25g very finely grated cheese  14p
Total cost  89p

Peel and mince the garlic, finely chop the onion.  Put a little oil in the bottom of a large saucepan set over a medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, cook until the onion softens.  Add the pearl barley and cook for a couple of minutes.  Dissolve the stock cubes in 750ml of water and add this to the pan with a teaspoon of dried mixed herbs.  Cook the pearl barley, stirring occasionally, for 35 - 30 minutes until tender.  You may need to add a little more water if it looks dry.  Add the mixed vegetables to the pan and cook until the vegetables are tender.  Serve topped with finely grated cheese and some chopped fresh herbs if you have any available.

Crepes with Melted Chocolate

Makes 8 - 10 crepes, serves 2 - 3 adults

150g flour  5p
2 free range eggs  33p
20g melted butter
20g sugar  2p
300ml milk  17p
30g dark chocolate  10p
Melted butter to grease the pan
Total cost  67p

Put the flour and sugar into a bowl, stir to mix.  Make a well in the centre.  Use a whisk to mix together 2 eggs, 300ml milk and 20g melted butter together.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour and sugar then whilsk, gradually mixing in the flour until you have a smooth and well combined mixture.  Cover and leave to chill in the fridge for half an hour. 

Heat an 18-20cm frying pan over a medium heat.  Lightly grease with a little butter.  Pour 60ml crepe batter into the middle of the pan then swirl the pan around so the mixture spreads out and coats the base of the pan. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until the crepe turns golden and the edges look cooked.  Carefully turn the crepe over and cook for a further 30 - 60 seconds.  Transfer to a plate and repeat until all the batter has been used.  I served mine folded into quarters and stacked on a plate then sprinkled with grated dark chocolate.

As well as entering this dish into The £3 Challenge, I'm also entering this post into Credit Crunch Munch, created by Helen and Camilla.  The theme this month is Food Poverty and it is being hosted by Sarah over at Dinner with Crayons.


  1. Totally amazing work. Well done Michelle.

    1. Thanks Kelly :) It was tricky but I enjoyed the challenge.

  2. You are a legend Michelle.

    Seriously you should be doing a budgeting / meal planning book

    1. Thanks Helen xx Not sure about the book though, a ton of work.

  3. That's fantastic - tasty and cheap and making a very good point too. Very well done you.

  4. This meal is fantastic as there is no compromise on taste. You should get a job creating meals for the NHS or our schools as they could do with your talent! I now want to buy some barely as I haven't used it in ages:-) Thank you for such a great entry to Credit Crunch Munch. Camilla x

  5. Clever girl and it all looks wonderful> Just shows you what you can do if you need to.

  6. I think this is really creative and lovely - I think there should be more emphasis in the cooking world on low cost cooking....


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