Could you cook a meal for two on a £3 budget?

There was a time when I was privileged and blinkered enough to not even know that foodbanks existed. Now they’re the topic of everyday conversation, sadly enough, and even my tiny daughter has been on a trip to the local one to make a donation with her nursery class.

At the same time, food blogs are heaving with low-cost recipe ideas; leading the charge is the marvellous Jack Monroe, with her now-infamous kale pesto. Now Buyagift, a retailer that lists lots of luxury foodie experiences, is aiming to bring out food bloggers’ creativity, shed a spotlight on the issues involved and raise funds for a fast-growing foodbank charity. The task is to create at least one course for at least two people, on a strict budget of £3 (discounting for part-used ingredients is allowed, and butter, oil, herbs and spices aren’t included, so that actually gives quite a lot of scope).

Usually I’m a bit wary of awareness-raising and charity competitions, but I have to admit this one really appealed to me. There are some lovely prizes, but my competitive element isn’t really sparked – challenge me to a game of Monopoly if you want to feel like a loser – as no matter who takes the crown The Trussell Trust wins £600. For me it’s an opportunity to be both creative and thoughtful at the same time – because I’m still privileged and blinkered enough not to have to be all the time. I’m not even going to pretend that my budget is this low, but I’m certainly familiar with a stretched budget, and I have blogged before about how I want to be more conscious of the food my family is eating. I really want to learn something from this and be less wasteful and I hope that others do it and learn something too; that, for me, is a bigger win than any competition prize.

The competition is open from the 15th of November to the 15th of December, so there’s plenty of time to plan out a recipe sticking to your budget if you want to take part. You can find out more about it here.