First published on Kettle Mag http://www.kettlemag.co.uk/article/not-so-ready-ready-meals-valentines-special
For Valentines, I had it planned. I had the chicken ready and I was going to cook a romantic meal. I would put out some candles, maybe put some fancy clothes on and then wine and dine my fiancé.
Then I realised I do not have any chairs. How romantic can it be to sit around the coffee table whilst watching Football?The plan had to change.
The Waitrose adverts worked perfectly, lovely music, billboards, TV, on my phone and across the internet. Maybe they know I am a foodie. So whilst I was buying the valentines card and walking past Waitrose, I slid the brakes on and swerved inside. Let me just have a look I thought, and there it was the shelves packed full of meal deals for two. Starter, mains and sides, desserts and a bottle of wine. £20 for that is the reason why I didn't go to a restaurant on Valentines evening. It is not that I didn't want to treat my fiancé but not at the expensive prices that restaurants out on for the special weekend. I wanted a nice evening and good value.
Searching for good value.
The special day of Valentines is like Christmas or the summer holidays. The establishments put on a new menu, dim the lights and therefore, want to charge you a lot more than usual. The whole reason you go to a restaurant is because you like their food, so why would they change their usual menu, which you like, especially for a special occasion? Value is important and my plan this year, like many others I know, is to go out on another day and cook and stay in on Valentines.So why does this make me feel guilty? I feel like I cheated in a way and I did not cook a romantic meal. I mean it was tasty, convenient and such good value - I mean just £20. I think, it makes me feel like I did not cook properly. Well, I did.
From Student to Chef.
For starters with the paté, I used the bread I had, cut off the crusts and then sliced through the middle to create thin wafer type pieces of bread. These were toasted and used to scoop up the paté. Therefore, I became a gourmet chef.
With the Steaks, I cooked once at room temperature, I seasoned as a chef would and cooked the steak medium rare, just as I like it. See, you do not need to go out of your way to make your partner feel special.
The rest of the meal was all Waitrose- for which I thank them. The sides of fries and veg were stuffed into the oven and cooked and devoured. To end it all, a delightful salted caramel tart.
This is value and is great for students, for couples, for singletons, for anyone. All of the food above and in addition, a bottle of red wine too. I love going out to restaurants as anyone who knows me will tell you. However, I also love to cook and appreciate value. £20 for two for an evening out, is unheard of, putting in extra effort to cook is priceless.