Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Fellow Challenger

The poster that came with my Ration Pack.

And the reverse of it.

If you would like a really good read about all the ins and outs of the Ration Challenge then a fellow Challenger has written a brilliant blog post that encompasses all the questions that new Challengers need to know.

It's here on his Blog Life the Universe and Everything.

Aftab is a great guy that also took the Challenge last year, and he has been a mine of information for so many of this years first timers and is always ready with a witty reply.

Thank you so much for all your support, today I am mostly playing with flatbreads  😃

Sue xx

Monday, 10 August 2020

Ration Challenge - Trials

Over the course of the next two weeks, every couple of days I am going to have a go at recipes that I could potentially make with my ration Challenge ingredients when I start this challenge on 13th September.  It's a real luxury to have this time ahead of me, as last year I signed up right at the last minute and pretty much winged it.  This year I should be able to make a good menu plan and know that barring any mishaps everything on it should work out!!

One thing I was keen to try first after not being able to make it last year ... due to me running out of flour after going mad making flatbreads when I finally got the recipe just right ... was pastry.

Blogging buddy Lesley Negus perfected a technique a couple of years ago and posted about it on her blog HERE.  Now I didn't have the recipe in front of me when I set to with my 100g of flour, 50g of oil and a jug of water.  But I thought if I treat the oil as though it were a solid fat, use the same ratio of half fat to flour and then gradually add the water it should work out.

And it did, but I think I added a touch too much water as it was a very soft dough.  I rested it in the fridge for a while wrapped in flour sprinkled clingfilm to help it firm up enough to use.

And using two sheets of floured clingfilm to help me roll it I then dropped the filling on top of it ... this was some leftover potato, onion and spinach mixture, also a bit sloppy ... I wasn't helping myself much here was I!!  I managed to pull the sides of the pastry up and around the filling and plop it unceremoniously over and into a non-stick pie dish.

It came out of the oven after 25 minutes at Gas 6 looking like this, now my only choice was eat it out of the tin or try and get it out of the pie dish.

You can see which option I chose 😄

Now it might not look brilliant, but the taste of that pastry is amazing.  The shortest, crumbliest and yet still shortcrust pastry that I have had in a long time.  Whether it will appear on the Ration Challenge menu is still to be decided, as I have just learnt of another method of making something that is short and delicious out of exactly the same ingredients.

I feel a comparison bake off coming on.

And as you can see if you nip over for a quick peek or to make a donation, we are doing so well.  Already we have raised enough to feed FOUR refugees for an entire year and we are on our way to being able to feed FIVE.   How fantastic is that. 

Thank you so much for all your donations and encouragement up to now 💓

Sue xx

Friday, 7 August 2020

Team Vegan Squad ... and the Support of Others

I think I mentioned on another post that for this years Ration Challenge I have joined a team.  It's just a virtual team, we can't actually meet up but we do chat on Facebook Messenger and keep in touch with ideas etc.

The benefits of joining a team hit your larder straight away as you are able to use all of the spices that both you and your team mates have chosen during your Ration Challenge week.  I have chosen to use Cumin again this year as it worked out so well last year,  and as you can see from my nifty labelling my teammates have chosen -

Chilli Powder
Garlic Powder
Ground Cinnamon.

And you also get a small milk allowance ... just 210mls ... which is a surprisingly small amount.  It just about covered my morning Weetabix when I tried it out for size.  I think I'll use it to make some rice pudding with my rice allowance.

A huge thank you to everyone who has sponsored me since the last post, as you can see the list of names on the sidebar is growing rapidly.  Each and every pound makes such a difference to the lives of refugees and I am finding it very moving how generous you are all being.

And you are very welcome to go over and have a look at the new, much higher total and read some of the lovely messages I am being sent.

Thank you again.

Sue xx

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Reading on a Wet Day and Setting Myself a New Target

After the glorious sunshine of the last few days ... were we really sat outside drinking wine and putting the world to rights until it went dark only a couple of days ago ... today is chilly and wet.  

The doggy walk this morning was followed by a brisk towel down for Suky and a nice cup of coffee and a slice of toast for me, and gave me the chance to start properly reading through my Ration Challenge Resource Pack while the rain pounded down on the caravan roof making this little home seem like the perfect safe haven.

The pack contains so much useful and fascinating information and also so much that makes me feel very privileged to have been born where I was born, in the time I was born.  Why is the human race so cruel to it's fellow members, will peace on earth and just allowing people to live their lives EVER be a thing.

Anyway there's not really that much I can do is there ... but I have to be positive ... and I will be doing everything in my power to try to help a few peoples existence be just that little bit better in the next few months.  If it takes me living out of the teeniest, tiniest box and being experimental with the food I have been given then I am doing it.

The reading went well, and as I went through the booklets I photographed the pages so I will be sharing some of them with you over the next few days.  You could of course sign up yourself and receive your own box of food and resource pack.  If you do please let me know and we can support each other through this.

The back of the Toolkit booklet just jumped out at me. 

 Living in these conditions for so long and now Covid-19 on top of everything else!!

After much deliberation I decided to up my target.

It's not just about me earning little extras to put in with my rations it's about feeding people.  

Last year with the help of friends, blog readers and family I managed to raise £780.90, which worked out at just a smidge under being able to feed five refugees for a whole year.  Gosh some people spend this much on a months shopping or a quiet Christmas!!

This year I have decided to up my target to £942, as it says above in a quote from the booklet, this is enough to feed an average refugee family for a year.  That works out at just 43p per day per person.  No challenge I have ever done has seen me be able to manage that sort of subsistence living.

I am humbled and determined.

If you can help in any small way, and I believe the minimum donation the page can accept is £2 then please do.  If you don't have the funds available then please don't feel bad, you being here reading my words and inspiring me to carry on is help enough and I thank you for that.

But if you can help financially then here is my fundraising page link, where you can also see my new total, read the inspiring messages from my friends, blog readers and family and read the little snippets of news that I put into the sidebar along with photos.

Sue xx

Monday, 3 August 2020

Having a Go at Lentil Pancakes

I decided I would have a try at the Lentil Flatbread recipe that I shared the other day via the YouTube link.  

I didn't want to use some of the Ration Challenge weeks limited supply of lentils if the finished result was going to be a flop, having the luxury of lots of time this year to practise things or work out an even better menu than last year is brilliant. 

So I weighed out 40g lentils ...

... after giving them a quick rinse I added 80mls/g water and left them to soak for about four hours.

Next I just tipped them into the small cup of my Nutribullet and whizzed them for a lot longer than you would think.  Three separate bursts of whizzing until there were no visible whole lentils or even large bits of lentils.

And then I sploshed the first bit into the lightly oiled frying pan.

The resulting flatbread/pancake even though very thin took a lot longer to cook in the already heated pan than I thought it would, and needed a bit of encouragement around the edges to not stick to the pan.  

With just a sprinkle of salt it was delicious. 

The second one was much bigger and fluffier as I was slightly heavy handed pouring it into the pan, it also was not as tasty and took ages to cook.

The third and final flatbread looked the part perfectly but tasted heavy and stodgy.

So I have learnt that yes, this simple little recipe works really well, but for ultimate tastiness the thinner pancake like flatbreads are the best.

I think I will be using perhaps 30g of my red lentils to replicate this during Challenge Week.

Thank you so much to everyone that has donated to my fundraising page up to now, every penny helps and some of you have been very generous with your pennies.

Thank you so much.

Sue xx

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Yay ... I Have Extra Protein

Thanks to all your wonderful sponsorship I have now reached a new level, that of being able to add 120g of protein to my Ration Challenge pack food.

My food of choice as a non-meat eater will be Peanut Butter.  I need to find an empty jam jar and weigh out 120g of the glorious brown stuff.  It doesn't sound much does it when you think it comes in jars that weigh 454g and I can go through one in a week if I put my mind to it  😊

I got this email first thing this morning just after the donation that took me over the £400 mark pinged onto my fundraising page.

*** *** *** *** ***

Egg-straordinary Job!

Hello Sue,

You’ve raised £400 - enough to provide food for two Syrian refugees for an entire year. Refugees have already been living a nightmare; and now, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many more will face devastating hunger.  I cannot think of a better gift for someone who has been through so much.

On top of that, because you’ve raised £400 you now get to add 120g of protein to your rations. This could be eggs, your choice of meat, or protein alternative. You will appreciate it more than you know when Ration Challenge week comes around.

Share this post on Facebook right now to ask your friends to help you raise £600 to achieve your next reward:

Thank you! You’ve helped me to earn 120g of protein to enjoy. I’m now working towards the next reward - 330ml of a hot or cold drink to enjoy during my week of refugee rations! This might not sound like much, but it will be a luxury for me during Ration Challenge week. Can you help me reach £600 so I can enjoy what might be the best drink of all time? You can support me at https://www.rationchallenge.org.uk/sue-hall

Keep up the great work. 

Best wishes

The Ration Challenge Team

*** *** *** *** ***

Knowing that between us we have already raised enough to feed two Syrian refugees for an entire year is amazing.  And puts a lot of perspective into the amount we spend on food here in the UK each and every week.  I am finding all this very humbling.

And is also available by clicking on the top photo on the sidebar of the blog, under which you will also see a list of all those that have donated up to now.  The only monetary amounts showing are those of the anonymous donations as I thought this is a way for the people that wish to remain anonymous to see that their money has reached the right place.

Thank you to everyone that has offered their support both monetary and in the form of comments and encouragement ... it all helps, it really does. 💖

Thank you.

Sue xx

Friday, 31 July 2020

The Grand Unboxing of My Ration Pack

It's here 😃

 My Ration Challenge pack arrived just before I left home in Wales and headed via Mum's in Manchester back to the Van near Garstang, and back to my Van Life after a few days babysitting the chickens and Ginger while Alan worked down South.

I quickly did an unboxing video and left it uploading while I got myself sorted out, and here for your delight and delectation ... as some famous presenter used to say, I forget which one ... are my delightful Mancunian tones talking you through the contents of the box.

I then weighed out the additional things I'm allowed, the flour and rice from the vouchers, my sardine replacement 120g of extra red lentils and then bagged everything up ready to bring to the Van.  Even if I end up travelling with my food it's not going to take up much room in the car is it, so it will easily be transportable.

Thank you so much to everyone who has so very kindly sponsored me already.  I know it's still early but it is so good to see the level of sponsorship rising and to know that we are between us doing something so worthwhile.


At the time of writing this I was at number 68, but as you can imagine we all move up and down like little yoyos.  I am in team Vegan Squad on the Team Leaderboard and obviously under my own name on the individual one.

Sue xx