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Great 'Summer Party' Hunt. Tips & hints on cheap booze, food & garden gear

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Great 'Summer Party' Hunt. Tips & hints on cheap booze, food & garden gear

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Food Shopping & Groceries
27 replies 28.2K views
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Food Shopping & Groceries
Summer fiestas can be fun, but if you're not careful the costs can quickly swell. So we thought after all the summer sunshine we'd tap MoneySavers' knowledge on where to find the cheapest booze and BBQ meat.

What are your top recipes for impressing your friends and how can you deck out your garden without it costing the earth.

Click reply to discuss

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Replies

  • thebuff1thebuff1 Forumite
    79 posts
    Really looking forward to your replies as we always have at least a couple of BBQs every summer and notice that people will arrive with a bottle or some cans and will eat loads and leave quite late into the evening even if we have started early in the afternoon.

    That sounds awful as we feel if you invite your friends then it is up to the host to entertain, yet we are lucky to be invited to more than 1 BBQ by the same set of friends that always come to ours and the last one a couple of weeks ago, we had 30 people including children here and we reckon it cost us about £200 to put on which to be fair includes the cost of paying for a dogsitter etc to ensure that everyone is comfortable and happy, but we do not feel that we can do it again for this summer. I feel entertaining is enjoyable but it can be hard word and I never seem to be relaxed as there is always something to do during the day.

    I make my own burgers and all the meat is always from the local butcher and salads and all other things are homemade as we make for ourselves so whilst I could certainly get 'cheaper' alternatives, it is not really what it is about.

    Last year when we went to a work colleagues bbq, we were all told to bring our food and drink , he provided a few bits of chicken and that was it all the rest we bought ourselves, yet when he came to ours he turned up with a case of beer and proceeded to drink most of it throughout the day and ate extremely well. A different colleague expressed surprise that we always provide our own food as she felt everyone chipping in was the norm yet this is not our experience so would be good to hear what people think.
  • Sean_M_3Sean_M_3 Forumite
    1 posts
    I have a problem/question on this topic and I'd like to get reader's advice.

    My wife and I regularly go to a set of friends of ours who live in a share house and while we always take along our own meat and drink they always provide all the salad, rolls, nibblies etc. Both of us feel guilty that they are constantly forking out for this expense (which isn't huge but it's the principle of the matter) but unfortunately as the apartment we live in isn't big enough to host a bbq or party we can't really reciprocate.

    Taking them all out for a meal isn't really an option as our finances are a little tight at the moment but at the same time we want to be paying our share. Any suggestions on what the right thing to do is?
  • ajdaveyajdavey Forumite
    2 posts
    Hi Sean,

    What about taking them for a picnic now that the weather is nice?


    Sean_M wrote: »
    I have a problem/question on this topic and I'd like to get reader's advice.

    My wife and I regularly go to a set of friends of ours who live in a share house and while we always take along our own meat and drink they always provide all the salad, rolls, nibblies etc. Both of us feel guilty that they are constantly forking out for this expense (which isn't huge but it's the principle of the matter) but unfortunately as the apartment we live in isn't big enough to host a bbq or party we can't really reciprocate.

    Taking them all out for a meal isn't really an option as our finances are a little tight at the moment but at the same time we want to be paying our share. Any suggestions on what the right thing to do is?
  • porlockporlock Forumite
    190 posts
    thebuff1 - everytime we have been to a friend's barbecue, we have been asked to bring booze & meat. It's probably a good idea to have some stuff in, but limit it. Make your nice burgers, by all means, but only a handful, then get some cheaper sausages & burgers for latecomers/emergencies.

    The other thing is, my friends & I are all reasonably young and we don't all have homes with spaces to have barbecues in. You might have some keen garden-less cooks who are dying to try out that new kebab recipe but it's just not the same in their kitchen grill!

    In short, I think it's totally the norm to ask people to bring food to a barbecue - after all, it's your house, and your time spent cleaning up after, so a burger or two is the least your guests can do!
  • edited 3 June 2009 at 3:50PM
    DabookaDabooka Forumite
    839 posts
    edited 3 June 2009 at 3:50PM
    When we moved in to our new house last summer, we held a BBQ to say thanks for those who helped, and have a bit of a home warming. However, we did ask for everyone to bring their beer and burgers, mainly as we didn't have the time to shop and prepare. It worked really well!

    What I would do is get everyone to bring their own beers and burgers, but you do salads and buns and pop. Suggest this is because so many invitees are unsure if then can or can't attend and it's had to guess how many you're catering for otherwise.
  • soozi_qsoozi_q Forumite
    3 posts
    I don't have a garden/yard so BBQ impossible. And I'm not really a meat-eater so we recently had a 'bring a cheese' party. People bring something they like to drink and a cheese; we provide the mixers plus crackers, bread, fruit etc. V cheap to host, and everyone gets to try lots of new cheeses. Some clever-clogs always brings Dairylea or Primula but you'll end up with some weird n wacky types too, and maybe cheese straws and cheesecake! And you'll have plenty of leftovers to share at post-party picnics over the next week too!
  • POUNDLAND
    They sell loads of summer outdoor essentials!! Disposable party ware, disposable bbqs, parasol lights, mosquito repellant wipes and sprays, outdoor lanterns, garden toys for the kids, picnic blankets, covers for your outdoor furniture. Multi packs of crisps, soft and fizzy drinks and (to coin a phrase!!) much, much more!!
  • el_gringo_3el_gringo_3 Forumite
    368 posts
    If you are a meat eater having a BBQ with some vegetarian guests:

    1. You can't BBQ a bean burger/ vegetable quarter pounder. It has to be some sort of 'fake meat'. You'd be surprised how many BBQ's i've been to and been served a burnt mush.

    2. Said fake meats usually take an awful lot less cooking time than their real meat counterparts.

    3. Some products BBQ a lot better than others - sausages are a nightmare. Morrisons own brand veg sausages are terrible BBQ'd (even though they are lovely grilled) as the middle doesn't seem to cook. Linda McCartneys sausages (which are revolting cooked any other way) are brilliant on a BBQ. Quorn ones are somewhere in the middle imo.

    As for value, as a rule Farmfoods TENDS to be the cheapest for branded veggie BBQ things, unless some place else has special offers on . Also on a hot day (such as this weekend was) a lot of the supermarkets tend to sell out of veggie burgers.
  • budemanbudeman Forumite
    92 posts
    al_yrpal wrote: »
    Burgers like shoe leather- ZZZZ, blackened bangers - yawn....., potato salad - Oh No, not again!!!! The same old overcooked crud, loaded with grease....

    My tip - Get Ainlsey's Barbecue Bible, full of great recipes that are totally amazing.

    Crunchy salads with bite, the puy lentil with balsamic gets raves from everyone. Cool salsas - the pineapple & mango one is heaven , chicken breast with a cooked banger in the middle + tomato sauce, yum yum!

    I love doing barbecues based on this book and basking in the compliments

    Al

    Which copy is the one your selling then??
  • edited 9 June 2009 at 7:12PM
    colemanbrowncolemanbrown Forumite
    22 posts
    edited 9 June 2009 at 7:12PM
    Learn to make various punches and you'll find that your BBQ can withstand any kind of culinary disaster. Here are few of my cheap favourites (note the idea is not to make anything too strong, the sun will help you get drunk):

    Cold Cider with a Bite :
    One Jug of Ice
    One Big Bottle of Non Fizzy Cider (try the large Weston's jug at Morrisons)
    One Big Bottle of Ginger Beer (as firey as you can)
    Lots of Limes
    Mix together equal amounts cider and ginger beer over ice. Squeeze in lime to taste. Serve to waiting guests. The Ginger beer reduces strength of the cider and the cider calms the fire of the ginger beer. The perfect lunch time drink.

    House Party Punch (you can source the ingredients from Lidl):
    Cheap Red Wine (the lambrusco red fizzy stuff does well)
    Various fruit juices
    What ever fruit's on offer
    That cheap rum someone got you once.
    What we have is the makings of a basic sangria style drink. Mix together and place in a bowl. Tip: The fresh fruit will hide the taste of cheap booze more than fruit juice. Esp. Pineapple.

    The main advice in making punch is to go easy on the booze. People make the mistake of thinking more alcohol makes a better party (it just means that some one is going to throw up on the coats). Imagine that you are running a cheap bar on the Costa Del Plonk - that's the level of watered downess you want. It keeps people happy but not !!!!ed.

    Be drinkaware. :beer:

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