Could you cook a meal on $5?

Natasha Rudra
Frances Crimmins at the Food Hub.
Frances Crimmins at the Food Hub. Photo: Graham Tidy

Could you make a fresh, healthy family dish for just $5? 

The YWCA of Canberra wants you to try it out for a new campaign called Fiver4Food.

The aim is to raise money for their Food Hub service which provides desperately needed food supplies to about 100 families in the Tuggeranong area - the number of people who need help is rising with winter and funds are short.

Frances Crimmins at the Food Hub.
Frances Crimmins at the Food Hub. Photo: Graham Tidy

Chief executive Frances Crimmins says the Food Hub, at Lanyon Marketplace, allows vulnerable families to get groceries and fresh or long-life food from a little shop staffed by volunteers from the aged care home across the road.

"A lot of people who access the Food Hub actually have very poor levels of knowledge of how to cook. Their reliance on packaged food is very high. So we try to stock things like canned soup, canned tuna, canned salmon. We also supply recipes," she says.

There's a soup kitchen in winter, called the Lanyon Ladle, and other services, such as tax help, therapy, and youth services to help families get through. It was the only Canberra site for Jamie's Food Revolution.

"A lot of children are cared for by their grandparents and they get to come in and eat with their children, see what they are eating and actually get a lot of healthy fruit, vegetables and lean meat. I think it's incredibly important that we are able to provide these experiences for them at a young age," she says.

"The other thing that we've done is actually teach them how to shop and that's very interesting but actually how to go around a supermarket, how to avoid bad choices, how to budget."

Crimmins wants people to think about the reality of cooking a meal for $5 - because that's all that many of her clients can afford. She wants you to think of a $5 recipe, and then share that recipe with the YWCA, and donate the ingredients to the food hub. Or donate $5. Or both. They need $10,000 by July.


If you want to drop in with supplies they need things like tinned tomatoes, wraps, tacos, rice, crackers, jars of Vegemite, canned soup, muesli, baked beans, pasta. And they also need personal care supplies, such as toothpaste, shampoo and body wash, sanitary products.

You can also do a $5 challenge with friends and colleagues - everyone cooks a $5 dish, brings it in and shares recipes and food. You sit down to a shared meal and then all of you donate $5 or the ingredients to the Food Hub.

It's a challenge that Crimmins is taking up. "My children love cooking so I'm going to get them to help me come up with something. Their favourite dish right now is nachos and my son is coeliac and I'm going to see if we can do that dinner for $5," she says.

For the chance to win a foodie gift pack from The Canberra Times and Good Food, host your own Fiver4Food event and send the YWCA a picture of your event on Instagram and Twitter @YWCACanberra. Tag the story #fiver4food. Send in your entries by COB July 18. Follow The Canberra Times on Twitter @canberratimes

$5 ham and roasted capsicum frittata

5 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup chopped ham

1/2 cup grated cheese

1 roasted red capsicum, chopped

3 spring onions

Cooking oil (olive if you have it in the pantry)

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 240C. Cut the capsicum into quarters and remove seeds and membranes. Place on an oven tray with skin side up and drizzle with cooking oil. Roast in preheated oven until the skin blisters and turns black. Remove from oven and cover with cling film until cool. Peel away skins and chop, ready to use in frittata.

In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk and Dijon mustard. Add ham and half the cheese, half the chopped roasted capsicum and half the spring onions. Season with salt and pepper.  Pour the mixture into a greased pie dish or square pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, capsicum and spring onion. Cook in a preheated 180C oven for about 20 minutes or until the frittata is golden and the eggs are set. Put under a grill for another two minutes or until frittata is golden.

See for details.