Celebrate May Day in affordable style with this bargain Beltane banquet
Smile and whip up a bank holiday feast for your friends – they won’t have a clue that you’ve spent less than twenty pounds on them!
For your May Day treat we have come up with a spread of wonder! Whether you’re dining with friends and family or are hoping for something more intimate, we have a meal plan- which will cost you a mere £17 and will provide seven dishes to last you through the weekend – and if you’re really thrifty and have a freezer, well into next week.
One of the best ways to be economical with food is to make as many dishes out of the same ingredients as you possibly can. That means you don’t keep going back to the supermarket and spending your hard earned cash and means less food waste- which is better for us and (you don’t need me to tell you this…) the environment.
These dishes are designed to invoke the lightness and freshness of early summer. Meat lovers beware, these are meat free dishes, not because we are meat Nazi’s but because meat can add a great deal of expense to the average meal… but if you have some needing to be used, feel free to add meat to certain dishes.
What you will need to buy with your £17:
(Prices based on high street supermarkets)
- 1 bag of fresh spinach – £1.30
- 1kg- plain flour – 50p
- 4 bulbs of garlic – £1.70
- 3kg potatoes – £2.00
- 1kg onions – £1.00
- 12 free range eggs – £2.50
- 1 block Greek feta cheese – £1.50
- 600g (2 punnets) baby tomatoes – £2
- 700g bag of value mixed peppers (about seven small peppers) – £1.50
- 1kg frozen sweetcorn – £1
- 1 small tub of cream – 60p
- 250g butter – £1
What we hope you will already have in your kitchen stores:
- olive oil
- chilli powder
- stock cubes (chicken or veg)
What you will magic these into:
- Sweetcorn chowder
- Potato soup (add chicken, ham, bacon, fish even)
- Mash potato with garlic and spinach
- Spinach and feta salad
- Spinach quiche (add bacon for meat treat)
- Spanish omlette with peppers (add Spanish ham for meat treat)
- Roast tomato and pepper salad
You can either serve this as three meals for 2 – 4 to last you the weekend or as one big buffet, or even two moderate buffets.
The beauty of these is that if you are cooking for a hoard you can prepare the soups and the quiche the day before. And the Spanish omelette can be served hot or cold. If you are cooking for a small group you can mix and match the dishes to suit the mood! None of the dishes take very long to prepare… what will take the longest is the quiche but don’t be put off as the majority of the time is waiting for it to cook in the oven.
Crush four cloves of garlic and start cooking them in a pot with a knob of butter and one chopped onion.
After a few minutes when the onion is translucent add two large potatoes, two medium sized peppers (any colour- red look best, but try to use up any green ones) and just over 250g of the frozen sweetcorn.
Add about two pints of stock and a few pinches of chilli powder and cook for about 30 minutes.
That’s it. The end result is a colourful, tasty treat that helps you well on your way to five a day!
Heat a splash of olive oil in a pot. Add two crushed clovesof garlic and two chopped onions. Sweat on a very low heat for 10 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
Add three large chopped potatoes and stir. Then add 500ml of chicken or vegetable stock.
Simmer until the potatoes are tender and falling apart (about 40 minutes). Puree or mash and serve with a drizzle of cream.
Mash potato with spinach and garlic
Boil 6 large potatoes (I prefer skin on) until soft and tender and, well, ready to mash basically. Drain well (any excess water is a no no).
In another pan very gently heat 4 oz butter with 3 crushed cloves of garlic.
Mash up the potatoes with a hand masher (its hard work but it will burn off the calories your about to pile on!). Add the garlic butter, a splash of cream and a quarter of your bag of spinach (chopped) to the mash. Keep mashing until light and fluffy. Yumo!!
Spinach and feta salad
So easy! Wash and place half the packet of spinach in a salad bowl (you should have a quarter of a bag left). Add half of the block of feta (chopped) and 6 cherry tomatoes (halved)…
Viola! To dress mix some crushed garlic, olive oil and either vinegar or mustard. If you don’t have that then go without dressing- its means less fat!
Super lovely spinach quiche
The shortcrust pastry
Go for it! Make your own pastry! Go on! We have faith in you. Short crust pastry is soooo easy and cheap to make.
Put 8 oz (230g) of plain flour in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add 4 oz (115g) of cubed butter.
Now for the fun part, crumble and mix together with your fingers until it looks like bread crumbs. Make sure there are no lumps of butter left.
Gradually add drops of cold water and mix with a knife until a dough forms. You do not want it to be a wet dough so be careful when adding the water.
Place the dough in a plastic bag and put in the fridge for half an hour whilst you get on with something else.
After this, roll out to size and place into a greased flan dish. Prick with around the base with a fork and bake bilnd in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees for about 15 minutes.
The quiche filling
Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and add to it 2 chopped onions and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Warm in the pan on a low heat until the onions are tender- DO NOT BURN.
Take off the heat and then add the last of your spinach. You don’t want it to cook but only to wilt slightly.
In a bowl mix together 7 spoons of cream and 3 spoons of water, half your feta (crumbled) and 3 eggs.
Take your blind cooked pastry and place your spinach mix on the bottom. If you want to, add some halved cherry tomatoes on top of the spinach. Then pour on your egg mixture.
Put it back in the oven at 150 degrees and cook for 40 minutes. It will be so delicious- I wish I was eating some now!
Spanish omelette with peppers
Get a lightweight non-stick frying pan- about 10 inches. Peel about 6 potatoes and cut them into slices. Chop 1 onion and fry together on a low heat with a splash of oil and lots of seasoning for a minute. Reduce to a simmer, place a lid or plate on the frying pan and gently cook for 20 minutes. Keep checking so that they don’t over cook or stick it to the pan.
After about 10 minutes add 2 sliced peppers (any colour but, again, try and use up any green ones).
In a bowl lightly whisk 5 eggs then season well. Add the potato mixture to the bowl and mix together thoroughly.
Heat another decent splash of olive oil in the frying pan at a medium heat and then add the mixture. Turn the heat down low and cover with a plate or pan lid. Then let it be ladies, let it cook itself slowly for about 25 minutes. Go round the edge with a knife every now and then but other than then just chill!
After 25 minutes there should be no liquid left, and what you need to do now is flip the omelette! You can do it – yes you can… Simply turn the omelette on to the plate that has been covering it then slide it back into the pan. Simples! (This is the point where it could all go on the floor though, which will only lead to May Day rage so do be careful.) Cook for another few minutes, then let it settle for short while. Serve in slices hot or cold.
Roast pepper and tomato pasta
Take your left over 3 or 4 peppers, preferably not green, all your left over cherry tomatoes (about 300g) , 3 whole cloves of garlic, 1 thickly chopped onion and place all in a roasting tin.
Sprinkle with some sugar and roast for about 40 minutes at about 175 degrees.
After 30 minutes or so (10 minutes before the vegetables have finished roasting) boil up some water and cook your pasta (any kind within reason, i.e. not lasagne)- amount depending on how many people you are feeding.
When the veg is all lovely and roasted take out of the oven. When cool enough, squeeze the garlic out of its skin and into a bowl with the drained pasta. Stir in the rest of the roasted veg and serve!
That’s it- your Beltane Banquet, which will either go in one day or could last you for weeks!