Save your bacon: whip up a last-minute V Day feast for under R300

A cheat's guide to cooking (read buying) a Valentine's Day meal for two. All you've got to do is pick one of our themed menus and swing past your favourite supermarket

14 February 2020 - 00:00
Stay far from the maddening crowds and celebrate Valentine's Day at home this year.
Stay far from the maddening crowds and celebrate Valentine's Day at home this year.
Image: 123RF/Dean Drobot

Forgot to make restaurant reservations for Valentine’s Day and now everything’s fully booked? This cheat's guide to whipping up a romantic feast for two will get you out of hot water.

We've put together three budget-friendly menus that are sure to go down well with that someone special — all you've got to do is pop past your favourite supermarket and pick up some convenience foods. The trick is to use a sprinkling of ingenuity to make the dishes look like your own creation. 

Start by choosing your serving dishes — supermarket containers are a dead giveaway that you left everything to the last minute. Next set the scene; some flowers and candles on the table will show you've put in some effort. Lastly, add a few personal touches to the meal: incorporate some fresh herbs or a touch of spice, make your own salad dressing, or whip some cream for dessert.

THE SHARING-IS-CARING MENU

THE SUPERMARKET: Checkers

ON THE MENU:

For starters, play pick-up sticks with beef koftas served with a herby and spicy pesto dip.

For mains, serve up a gourmet pizza fresh from the oven with a ready-made salad. This pizza from Checkers, aptly named the Tuxedo, is a favourite of mine. It's a good interpretation of the original and is made with stone ground flour, but it’s the topping that really makes it — a generous spread of cream cheese with a hearty helping of caramelised balsamic onions,  a sprinkling of bacon and feta cheese. Delicious.

A decadent pudding which combines white chocolate and caramel will sweeten the deal.

This sharing is caring feast from Checkers costs R204.96.
This sharing is caring feast from Checkers costs R204.96.
Image: Supplied

SHOPPING LIST:

  • Simple Truth Beef Koftas with Coriander Chilli Pesto, 120g for R34.99             
  • Bella Vita The Tuxedo Pizza, R79.99
  • Readymade Seasonal Salad, R19.99
  • The Menu White Choc & Caramel Swirl Dessert, 400g for R69.99

TOTAL COST: R204.96

THE FEAST OF EXOTIC FLAVOURS MENU

THE SUPERMARKET: Pick n Pay

ON THE MENU:

Hummus served with warm pita breads makes for the perfect fuss-free starter. I like the new version of hummus from Pick n Pay, it’s made with beetroot - hence the lovely colour - and is rich and creamy.

For mains, cook some flavoursome ready-marinated chicken espetadas over the coals or in a preheated oven; the trick is to leave them long enough to get those crispy charred bits around the edges. Temper the spicy chicken with the creamy richness of a potato bake.

Tiramisu, meaning ‘pick me up’ in Italian, will certainly enliven the mood. Serve it with a shot of Kahlua.

This feast of exotic flavours from Pick n Pay costs about R242.25 (depending on the weight of the chicken espetada).
This feast of exotic flavours from Pick n Pay costs about R242.25 (depending on the weight of the chicken espetada).
Image: Supplied

SHOPPING LIST: 

  • Beetroot Hummus, 120g for R24.99
  • Mini Pita Bread 10s, R29.99 (currently on special for R27.99)
  • Moroccan Flavoured Braai Chicken Espetada, average price R69.29 (R98.99/kg currently on special for R76.99/kg)
  • Creamy Potato Bake, 850g for R44.99 (currently on special for R37.99)
  • Tiramisu Dessert, 400g for R72.99

TOTAL COST: About R242.25 (depending on the weight of the espetada)

THE LUXE ITALIAN-INSPIRED MENU

THE SUPERMARKET: Pick n Pay

ON THE MENU:

The starter I'm suggesting for this menu is not really Italian, but I couldn’t resist the Valentine's Day-inspired packaging of Woolworth's oak smoked salmon. Serve it with squares of buttered bread and some lemon wedges.

For an indulgent main course, boil these little porcini mushroom pasta parcels just before serving with a ready-made sauce. You can dress them up with some Parmesan shavings and a sprig of fresh herbs, if you wish.

Seal the deal with a kiss for dessert — an Italian kiss, that is. These ones are made of quality chocolate-coated vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Remember to take them out of the freezer 10 minutes before serving.

This luxe Italian-inspired feast from Woolworths costs R289.95.
This luxe Italian-inspired feast from Woolworths costs R289.95.
Image: Supplied

SHOPPING LIST: 

  • Oak Smoked Salmon Slices Cured With Beetroot & Lemon Zest, 80g for R99.99 (currently on special for R62.99)

  • Sliced Multiseed Bread, 480g for R42.99

  • Fresh Porcini Mushroom Triangoli, 250g for R66.99

  • Simply Heat Sachet of Cheese and Mushroom Sauce, 200ml for R33.99

  • Belgian Chocolate & Madagascan Vanilla Italian Kisses, 416g for R82.99

TOTAL COST: R289.95