Entertaining on a Budget

I have friends coming over for dinner tonight and I have to confess my cupboards are bare!! Ever been there before? Well it can be daunting and stretching especially since I only get paid tomorrow and all I have in my purse is $17. Well I need to be as creative as I can on this one – we are a family of 6 and I will be feeding 3 more. I see that I have some cabbage and a few carrots in the crisper drawer in the fridge – that will make a coleslaw and I have a couple of tins of beetroot to add to that. I whizz down to the store and find some mince that has been reduced for a quick sale  for $7 – because I will use it straight away that will be no problem. I grab a jar of the storebrand fruit chutney for $1-99 and some orange juice for our visitors at $3-99. That just leaves me with $4 for washing powder which I desperately need (pity we can’t eat it!!!). I find a big box on special for $2-99 – Yippee I get to come home with a dollar!! Even small savings like this are great in the current economy. I will now use my few ingredients to whip up  a traditional South African dish called “Bobotie” for dinner tonight together with the last few goodies in my cupboard.

Here is the recipe:


Fry up a chopped onion in some oil and butter till cooked through. Add mince to pan and brown. When mince has browned add the following to pan. Add some curry powder ( I add about 2 to 3 tspoons depending on strength of curry powder) , 1 Tblespoon of lemon juice or vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. In a separate bowl soak 3 slices of bread ( the staler the better) in about 300ml of milk. Squeeze excess milk out of bread and throw bread into  mince mix. Break up the soggy  bread into mince so that it is mixed evenly (use more bread if you wish to bulk it out more). Add about 3/4 jar of fruit chutney to the mince mix. You may add extra raisins/sultanas to mince mixture if you would like it more fruity – I usually find that the chutney has enough fruit (and it is better disguised from fussy little eaters who think fruit should not be part of the main meal). Your mince mixture should be quite fruity and sweet. If not just add a little sugar to taste. Beat 3 eggs and add to the excess milk from the bread. Scoop mince into ovenproof dish and pour over egg mixture. Bake at 180 degrees for about 40mins or until egg has cooked through.

This dish is delicious served with  rice and is a different and tasty way to make mince. It is also very quick and easy. If you want to make it look more exotic, add some tumeric and raisins to your rice to make it yellow rice. Delicious!!


Now I need to bulk the amount of food I have so I am breaking the cardinal rule of entertaining – I am trying a new recipe -I am attempting a bread to go with it – I am rather daring as I don’t even have the right ingredients but I’m giving it a go anyway. I have mixed up  1 Tbsp of surebake yeast with 4Tbsp milk, 1 tsp sugar and 1 cup warm water. Leave to stand a few mins. Then I added 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1tsp salt. Into that I mixed 3 cups of flour and kneaded  till I had a pliable dough. Put in covered bowl and leave to rise for couple of hours. Then knead again and break into two pieces of dough and plait into loaf. Brush with milk and  allow to rise for 30mins. Bake at 180 degrees until golden brown. This recipe is time consuming so not a great idea if you are in a rush.



What are we going to have for dessert? Again I don’t have too many ingredients in my cupboard so need to come up with something simple.

Fresh Lemon Loaf

125g butter creamed with 3/4 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Add 2 eggs and beat well. Sift  2 cups of flour and 3 tsps baking powder into butter mix. Add 1/2 cup milk  and mix.

Pour into greased and lined loaf pan and bake for 45mins at 180 degrees until loaf springs at touch. Pour glaze of 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of sugar over hot loaf. Leave in pan till cold.

Please note that the baking recipe may not work well for you if you live in another part of the world to me but it’s worth a try anyway!! Enjoy – that’s me done for dinner tonight – I’ve had time to blog this between cooking so it can’t have been that hard. Hope you enjoy.

Finally, I enjoy laying my table for dinner when I have guests. I don’t have any flash tableware , tablecloths or cutlery, but I still like my guests to feel that I have made an effort. I will use the beautiful candle  holders I was given for my birthday with the gorgeous vanilla candles and then I will find some flowers that are flowering in my garden and throw them into a vase.


3 thoughts on “Entertaining on a Budget

  1. embejo

    Loved this post! We also enjoy Boboetie but I haven’t made it for ages. I’m about to review our food budget or rather lack of one because it’s all getting a bit out of control.

    Oh and wow…all these new posts! So glad I came back to visit!

  2. embejo

    Oh, and if you want your comments on other blogs to bring people to your site make sure you make your name ‘clickable’ To do this on a wordpress blog you just have to be logged in. On another type of blog make sure you fill in the website bit. Of course if you don’t want people finding you that way you can leave it blank.

    1. 4maze Post author

      Thanks, I’m still trying to learn all the tricks with blogging – will get there eventually I suppose.


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