Valentine’s Day is just two days away and you may have already planned out your night, but you may still be scrabbling around for ideas of what to get as a gift or to cook as a ‘special’ meal. I thought it would be good to write this blog and give an idea of what to cook for those who are on a budget, or even if you’re spending the evening with friends.
If I’m being perfectly honest, Tom and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. I think it’s a bit of a con and we’re pretty good (or so I like to think) at treating each other and showing we love each other every week, rather than just one day of the year where we feel we have to. However, on the flip side, I don’t know why Valentine’s is restricted to just couples in love. Ok, you can argue it is the day of love, but Love isn’t just hopeless, romantic, sweep-me-off-my-feet sort of love. I believe that all of us have two loves of our lives: our partner/ soul mate and our friends. There are many situations in life where we simply wouldn’t get through them if it wasn’t without our friends. They’re the ones we rely on in the darkest of times and the worst of times (I don’t mean to sound like Dickens). So, this Valentine’s, why not spend it with the ones you love – whether romantically involved or not – and just enjoy being together?
I wanted to put a post/ pictures together of a Valentine’s dinner idea that didn’t take the day or itself too seriously. I thought for a few days about what to cook/ make but many of my ideas seemed too cliched or trying too hard. So in the end, I chose something that was perfect for those with food intolerance’s, vegetarians, or just good old meat eaters – homemade pizzas.
This isn’t a blog with a recipe (for a change) just one for you to get ideas and to get myself back into the blogging game! I think sometimes there’s SO much pressure on couple on Valentine’s Day to “prove” how much they love each other by spending the most amount of money. I really wanted to give myself the task of cooking a main and dessert (with a Valentine’s theme) for £20.00 or under. I think a max of £10 per head for two courses is more than reasonable and also takes away the pressure. A home-cooked meal is worth way more than some cheap crap that neither of you will ever use!
Home-made food is the best, no matter what it is. It’s made with love and with one goal in mind – to make someone else happy. Tom and I made our pizzas on Saturday night and we found it so much fun, not to mention super tasty!! I went to Lidl to buy the ingredients because I think you get amazing value for money there. Particularly if you’re buying los of little bits like different meats and cheese’s! The only thing I couldn’t get there was the ready rolled pizza base (there was no way I was going to make it!), plus you get the tomato sauce with it! So we went to Sainsbury’s for that. And it turned out to be second biggest expense with the packet costing £2.80. However, for this you get two big bases and we had loads left over that we ate for brunch the next day!
In total, I spend £18.70 and I was thrilled with that! I’m not usually frugal when it comes to buying food so I actually find it quite hard to have a budget. Lidl was the perfect shop to go to for this. We ended up being able to make two big pizzas then a small one with the off-cuts from the dough that wouldn’t all fit on the tray! We had some ingredients already at home like the goats cheese, balsamic glaze, jalapeños and parmesan, so we had to buy everything else. The best thing about doing something like pizzas is you can cater for everyone! obviously, if you need to buy vegan cheese it will cost you more money, but on the whole it should be relatively cheap for you to get. We had a selection of continental meats, grated mature cheddar (only £1.49 a bag!), mozzarella (45p), sun-dried tomatoes, sweetcorn, diced red onion and green pepper, caramelised red onion chutney and fresh basil. I think we actually bought a bit too much as ours were very loaded!
I also made two sides to go with the pizzas so it didn’t seem too heavy. We had homemade coleslaw (literally shredded white cabbage, grated carrots and thinly sliced red onion mixed with mayo) which is so cheap to make and it goes a LONG way. Plus, it tastes much better than shop bought, and we also had a rocket salad with some parmesan and balsamic glaze. This one was great value as I only needed to buy the rocket and it was 49p a bag! We had it as a side the next night too.
For dessert, I managed to get a tub of chocolate Haagen Dazs for an absolute price of £2.50 and some melt in the middle chocolate pubs for £1.50. We haven’t actually eaten them yet as we were just too full!
Tom bought me a gorgeous bunch of mixed roses from Lidl for just £4.50 and I honestly think they’re better than more expensive bunches from ‘high-end’ supermarkets or florists. They last longer and take their time to bloom so you can get much more enjoyment out of them.
All in all, homemade pizzas are the one if you don’t want to spend money on a takeaway and put whatever you want on it! It’s not something we will make a habit of as we have the most amazing pizza shop on Mersea, but, if you have friends round for food and drink, they’re fabulous because you can either share or have your own, plus it gives you the freedom to experiment as it won’t break the bank!
Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day whether you’re romantically involved with someone or not! It’s a day to spread the love and be kind to others!