Valentines Day 2015, what are you doing?
Well here we are again, February 14th and the marketing extravaganza for all things heart shaped, padded red satin and cutesy teddies.
If you want a lovely romantic day, and to stay within your budget, how about some of the ideas from this post from last year. Lots of things to do that don’t cost any money at all. Picnics in the park, ideas for love letters, links to vouchers for you to fill out with romantic things and lots of other ideas too. If you need to stay on budget, try not to let the advertising convince you that you need to spend to show your affection. We’ve all experienced those heart melting moments where a small child presents us with a card lovingly made at school, or a first girl/boyfriend gives a small treasure with great ceremony, or our partner does something really thoughtful. It really isn’t the money spent that melts our heart, it’s the loving thoughtfulness.
Last year, I came up with a celebration meal that I grandiosely called a ‘Stunning 3 Course Valentines Day Menu at £1.84 a head’. It started off with a Smoked Salmon and Crispy Toast starter, continued with a warm Asparagus, Bacon and Egg Salad, and finished off with a pudding of Chocolate Cherry Cake and cream.
This year, my suggested menu is Raw Carrot, Apple and Cashew Soup, in small portions in pretty bowls or tea cups. A pudding of Lemon Cheesecake. Both of these from the Thrifty Lesley archives. In the cheesecake, you could use Muscovado sugar, as in the recipe, or just ordinary sugar. Zest in the lemon peel, and as much of the juice as you need. And for mains? I thought a trio of tapas. Patatas Bravas, Spinach Dumplings in Tomato Sauce, Lemony Butter Beans with a touch of Honey.
Everything can be prepared in advance, with the tapas being gently heated, covered, in the oven, when you want to eat.
For the Patatas Bravas, sauté an onion (5p) in a little oil, chop up 100g chorizo or salami (about 90p) and add to the pan. Meanwhile cook 300g potato (about 20p), and when done, chop into chunks. Add to the pan and toss in the garlicky juices. Total cost £1.15, 57p each. As we have tomato sauce on the spinach dumplings, I haven’t used it here.
I would make the full spinach dumpling recipe and use them elsewhere in the week or freeze them for another day. They freeze well.
For the Butter Beans drain a tin of beans (62p in Asda) and rinse well. In a small bowl, whisk together the juice of half a lemon (30p) and a little of the zest with a squeeze/tblsp of honey (5p) Use the rest of the lemon in the cheesecake. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Dress the beans with the lemon and honey and leave to marinate. Total cost 82p (counting half of the lemon), 41p each
The soup is 35p each. The spinach dumplings are 28p for a full portion, you would probably only want a third portion here at most, so about 10p. The Patatas Bravas are 57p, the Lemony Butter Beans 41p. The cheesecake is 33p.
So a delicious 3 course celebration dinner, for £1.76 a head. I’m pretty pleased with that. What will you be doing on Saturday?
Take care of your family and your budget
Before putting together the meal planners, Lesley surveyed what was needed. Of the existing 14 budget meal plans, most are cheap meals for 2 people so can be sized up or down. Others are cheap family meals for 4 people, or meals for one