Frugaldom's Big Summer Barbecue(s) on a Budget
I was recently invited to take part in 'The Charcoal Challenge', a bloggers' competition run by Moneysupermarket.com, so I jumped at the chance to throw the ultimate summer barbecue and the chance to win £250! (See www.moneysupermarket.com/home-insurance/competitions/the-charcoal-challenge/ for full details.)
£20.68 - Chicken fillets, sausages, bread, peppers, red and white onions, tomatoes, snacks, sweets, kitchen rolls (cheaper than napkins) and reduced packet trifle.
£ 3.80 - Plastic cups
The herb arrangement is made up of lemon balm, lavender, rosemary and bog myrtle. It does help a bit, even if it is just to swat at the pesky flies and midges if it doesn't keep them at bay. These herbs are all growing around my patio but they still don't stop the midges having a bite now and again.
Finishing touches for this barbecue included inviting the immediate neighbours, raking out all the picnic plates (plus reusable plastic 'glasses' bought from local shop), borrowing some extra patio chairs from next door, finding the radio/CD and digging out some music. By 7pm, we were cooking with charcoal to feed our impromptu party of 7 and a jolly decent evening was had by all.
I apologise to my guests for subjecting them to a photograph and sorry that all concerned weren't captured in this freeze-frame for posterity, but I'm sure all would agree that the evening went quite well.
|The new barbecue|
Monday morning dawned fair and dry (it's also Glasgow Fair Weekend, meaning this was a holiday weekend in some parts of Scotland) so we decided to head out for a walk before having coffee and cake on the patio. We'd just sat down to the mid-morning cuppa when the postman arrived, with this...
Well, you know what that means, don't you? We have the BBQ, we have charcoal, we have 2 chicken breast fillets plus some peppers, mushrooms and onions remaining, plus some wine and 'nibbles' leftover...
BBQ #2 in Frugaldom - the all new, 'use it up' barbie on Monday 15th July 2013. Leftover diced chicken breast, yellow peppers, mushrooms, white and red onions. Add to that a half bottle of elderflower fizz and it all adds up to yet another tasty al fresco meal. Yum!
This £50 budget was stretched to the limit. The next visitors to Frugaldom arrived on Saturday, 20th July! I'd ordered some savoury vegetable rice, sparkling elderflower and apple juice, marshmallows and Texas style BBQ dressing from Approved Foods* and my £50 had already bought a new barbecue and fed 9. Let's see how much further it can stretch and how many more can be fed and entertained. I had a balance of £10.89 remaining to pay for enough food to allow for BBQ #3.
Summer socialising in the sunshine is great fun - and I did check my home insurance to make sure we are covered for any third party liability and I do use some basic health and safety plus food hygiene common sense, despite my absent-mindedness. However, I can't wave a magic wand and alter time.
|1kg of marshmallows!|
So far, my £50 had fed 9 and then there were another 7 mouths to feed. To all intents and purposes, people must think I keep a pet gran, but it was just too warm for my eldest guest, my spritely, eighty-something-year-old next door neighbour, to sit outside in the garden. Instead, she sat indoors, next door in her own house, but I made sure she was well fed and didn't miss out on the chatter. She even provided music from her conservatory, which is adjacent to my patio, albeit separated by the garden wall and gates between is.
BBQ #3 - To make the most of the remaining few pounds, I called in the help of my son, who popped into the supermarkets in town with my list, got the best deals he could and then delivered the groceries to me on his way home from work. This was a great help, as it meant I got all of the following:
|£10.02 in supermarket|
- Chicken breast fillets - £3.95
- Mixed peppers - £1.98
- Mushrooms - 95p
- Onions - £0.25
- Sausages - £1.60
- Tomatoes - £1.29
- Lettuce, herbs, fresh eggs and chives from the garden to make up a bowl of salad.
But hold on, I must be able to do something with 87p, surely? Dessert, anyone?
|87p for 8 desserts|
Strawberry jelly bought for 19p from Asda (19p)
Angel Delight bought 3 for 99p from Approved Food (33p)
Tin of sterilised whipping cream bought 4 for £1 from BB4L (25p)
Tinned mandarins bought 10 for £1 from Approved Foods (10p)
Fruit picked from garden (Free)
Chocolate - already had some but there was also a free Yorkie bar with last week's Approved Food order
It was brilliant catching up with the Birmingham guests, especially as I hadn't seen them for four years! Everything that got cooked got eaten and the last of the berry fizz got drunk. Max, the visitor's little dog, even had a BBQ sausage.
From the supplies bought, there was still salad stuff, several bottles of elderflower and apple juice, savoury rice, two desserts, a pack of veggie sausages that never got used and masses of marshmallows. Most of it got used up the following day, when we polished off the leftovers.
It was excellent weather throughout both weekends and everyone said what a great time they had. Neighbours had supplied extra lettuce, cucumber, a couple of extra chicken fillets and beer. Last weekend's guests brought wine, flowers, juice and fresh bread, then my further-travelled friends brought a superbly thought out frugal gift of cheese, milk and dried yeast for bread-making!
Not content with all of that, my lovely next door neighbour gave me a wooden dining table that was, otherwise, being ear-marked for the dump! Add to this the fact that we were unable to eat and drink all the leftovers and it makes the £50 look like a fabulous amount. I could easily have fed 25, even after buying the barbecue!
For all of these things, I am truly grateful. I love it when friends visit and this challenge was a real tonic. Thank you to all who helped make the days special and thank you to Moneysupermarket.com for providing me with £50 and the chance to show how much frugal fun can be had, not to mention feeding an overall total of 20 over the space of four barbecues, on such a small budget. And lest we forget, here's what was left over for future use. There are also the 30 reusable plastic glasses that have been washed, dried and stored away for future use.
All in all, this was a great challenge and showed me that it is still possible to feed partying guests for £1 per person and approximately £2 per person for special occasions such as the above barbecues. I love money challenges!
This is Frugaldom's entry into The Charcoal Challenge. I hope you have enjoyed reading how I spent the £50. You can catch up with all the other entrants by using #TheCharcoalChallenge on Twitter.
Until next time, Frugaldom.