Summer Cookin’ Is Summer Lovin’

We’re well into the thick of it now, summer is pounding along. The UK is especially being gifted or cursed, depending on your viewpoint, with a hot flash. Trouble is, this hot flash or heatwave has been going on for more than 30 days. So it looks like it will be the similar pattern for the rest of the summer. Maybe it’s not even fun anymore as cries of ‘it’s too hot’ are ringing out around the country. Even the Met Office has warned people to try and stay indoors and away from direct sunlight. Fair enough, that’s sound advice, but it doesn’t mean summer enjoyment has to stop. Food glorious food, comes to the rescue. Summer is a brilliant time to make some wacky and fun recipes for children. If you’re short on creative ideas, you’ve come to the right place.

Chilled juices

With this heat, you’re probably wishing you had a juicer because who doesn’t love a glass of chilled fruit juice in temperatures above 30 degree Celsius!? If you have one, you’re in luck, because there’s a plethora of summer juice recipes that you can make for the kids. Try out this watermelon and mint mixture, with little black currants thrown in the mix. The flesh of the watermelon can be used as pulp. Throw in some ice cubes and a funky-coloured paper straw and the children will gladly be consuming one or more of their five-a-day. If they want a spike of natural sugar, then juicing strawberries, grapes and apples into one juice concoction, with some ice cubes is going to quench their energy thirst. Get experimental, make some new recipes yourself!

 

A hint of the Mediterranean

When we picture an image of summer, barbecues immediately spring to mind. The modern versions are so easy to use. Gas barbecues especially need not have skilled grillers manning the helm. They function just like a normal stove does. You can get tall and slim versions if you’re not looking to spend a lot or heavyset wider variants. Either way, it’s time to make some Mediterranean food! Maybe here in the UK it doesn’t come across but the Med is known for its culture of fast-fire-cooked food. Try out this lemon and yogurt flatbread recipe that uses the acidic flavour of the lemon, together with a little spice to create a classic Greek-style snack. For something a little simpler but perhaps even more scrumptious, try out some chopped and charred chorizo, sat on a bed of creamy salad.

 

Coffee milkshake

Making a milkshake is easy. For some reason people have got it in their heads that it’s complicated, so they don’t go near it. Here are two simple styles. Take a teaspoon of coffee granules. Melt them in some lukewarm water. Pour the coffee into a blender that’s been half-filled with milk. Take a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and slide it into the blender. Blend the ingredients up to where the mixture becomes slushy. You still want it to be of a thick consistency and not watery. Now, enjoy!

Is summer food the best kind? It’s a time where you get to make recipes that wouldn’t feel right at any other time of the year. Grilled meats, mixed with cold salads, cold juices and colder milkshakes, don’t just taste great but cool you off in the process too.

 

Cut The Cost Of Christmas Dinner

Christmas dinner is one of the most costly parts of your festive celebrations. Between buying the perfect turkey or other meat, the vegetables, side dishes, desserts AND drinks… it can become a little bit too expensive for some of us to handle. Over the years I have managed to bring the price of our Christmas dinner right down.

Luckily there are ways to control your spending on Christmas dinner and in turn save some money for the rest of your festivities or just for your family.


Get your mits on vouchers!

First of all you need to start utilising websites such as Voucher Codes PRO. They are ideal for helping you stay on top of your costs by offering coupons for some of the biggest supermarkets in the area. You could cut your bills down by half just by using vouchers and making sure that you pay attention to the promotions which supermarkets hold in the run up to Christmas.

To reduce what you spend you may want to get into the habit of asking family members to pitch in with either a side dish, a dessert or some drinks. That way you are still hosting the day but you aren’t spending all the money you have on the food for everyone else. Plus, it might make people happy that they get to feel involved in the whole process and make some things themselves. Get dad to bring peeled spuds, Grandma can bring the pudding, Auntie can bring the Bucks Fizz!

 

It might sound like sacrilege, so apologies in advance- but turkey is incredibly expensive at this time of year. With thanksgiving and then Christmas a month later, turkeys become a commodity which everyone wants in their house. The problem with this is that supermarkets will take advantage and hike up the prices of this big bird to make a tidy profit. It may be a better idea to buy a chicken instead to roast, or check out a veggie nut roast instead! A whole turkey can be wasteful, especially if you’re a small family. Go for just a turkey crown instead, for a fraction of the cost.

The best way to save money when cooking your meal is to cook several things in the oven at once. Of course, your meat will take much longer than everything else to cook, but everything else can be cleverly timed to make sure that you save energy and serve everything at the same time on Christmas Day.

If you have the freezer space, buy reduced vegetables in the lead up to Christmas. Chuck them in the freezer until Christmas Day. 10p parsnips purchased in October, taste just as good as £1 parsnips bought on December 23rd! Read more about freezing food here.

 

Boil all of your veg together in one pan for 5- 10 minutes, then you can put them all on the same roasting tray at the same time if you want them roasted in goose fat, or separate the potatoes and then cook them in the oven on sewerage tray. The same applies to most of the side dishes- if you have small baking trays you can stack them next to each other in the oven.