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  • FIRST POST
    • Former MSE Wendy
    • By Former MSE Wendy 2nd Jun 09, 5:44 PM
    • 868Posts
    • 1,782Thanks
    Former MSE Wendy
    0 WOW
    Great 'Summer Party' Hunt. Tips & hints on cheap booze, food & garden gear
    • #1
    • 2nd Jun 09, 5:44 PM
    0 WOW
    Great 'Summer Party' Hunt. Tips & hints on cheap booze, food & garden gear 2nd Jun 09 at 5:44 PM
    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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Page 1
  • thebuff1
    • #2
    • 3rd Jun 09, 6:29 AM
    summer fiesta
    • #2
    • 3rd Jun 09, 6:29 AM
    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
    • #3
    • 3rd Jun 09, 8:18 AM
    • #3
    • 3rd Jun 09, 8:18 AM
    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?
  • ajdavey
    • #4
    • 3rd Jun 09, 9:12 AM
    picnic
    • #4
    • 3rd Jun 09, 9:12 AM
    Hi Sean,

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



    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?
    Originally posted by Sean M
    • porlock
    • By porlock 3rd Jun 09, 9:34 AM
    • 186 Posts
    • 375 Thanks
    porlock
    • #5
    • 3rd Jun 09, 9:34 AM
    • #5
    • 3rd Jun 09, 9:34 AM
    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!
    • Dabooka
    • By Dabooka 3rd Jun 09, 9:44 AM
    • 794 Posts
    • 442 Thanks
    Dabooka
    • #6
    • 3rd Jun 09, 9:44 AM
    Ask everyone to bring stuff
    • #6
    • 3rd Jun 09, 9:44 AM
    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.
    Last edited by Dabooka; 03-06-2009 at 3:50 PM. Reason: Grammatical error (your should have been you're)
  • soozi_q
    • #7
    • 3rd Jun 09, 10:46 AM
    • #7
    • 3rd Jun 09, 10:46 AM
    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!
  • humblebumble
    • #8
    • 3rd Jun 09, 11:24 AM
    • #8
    • 3rd Jun 09, 11:24 AM
    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
    • #9
    • 3rd Jun 09, 1:19 PM
    • #9
    • 3rd Jun 09, 1:19 PM
    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.
    • budeman
    • By budeman 3rd Jun 09, 1:31 PM
    • 91 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    budeman
    bad advertisement
    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
    Originally posted by al_yrpal
    Which copy is the one your selling then??
  • colemanbrown
    Punch: Cheap booze for the masses
    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.

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    Last edited by Former MSE Rose; 09-06-2009 at 7:12 PM.
  • diggerjb
    summer parties
    we recently did a pre exam party for our teenage daughter and friends. It was a 'Pimms and strawberries' party which included buffet lunch. Huge success and didn't cost a fortune. We bought the 'Pimms' from Aldi ie their mock Pimms and frankly with fruit and lemonade we couldn't tell the difference! It cost a fraction of the price and we were controlling the strength of each jug as we made each one, so no danger of them overdoing it.

    Aldi also do a low alcohol lager with lime in it - also very cheap and the age group we were dealing with were happy.
  • jiblets1
    Amongst my friends everyone ALWAYS brings their own booze (then usually shares) and we usually ask everyone to bring some food. We let them suggest what they want to bring, but we let them know if someone else is already bringing the same food incase they want to swap. Not only does it work out a lot cheaper (we just supply buns, mixers and one lot of meat), but it's much more sociable.

    This especially works well, as other friends of ours haven't quite got room for so many guests, so the parties are often at ours! It's never a problem because everyone "pays their way" and everyone helps wash up. It also means hubby and I get to party without having to organise transport. Bonus!

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    Last edited by Former MSE Rose; 09-06-2009 at 7:09 PM.
    Am not witty enough to put something cool and informative here
  • fimalula
    I find that the value ranges in any of the supermarkets are not too bad for bbq's. Tesco have packs of 12 sausages (6 bbq, 6 piri piri) for 2. Packs of belly pork slices dont run to much more than about 1.50 (cover with your own tasty marinade) Asda have the 3 for 10 packs of meat that include pork chops, Most of the supermarkets do there own bbq range that only cost about 2 each for kebabs etc, alternatively buy some veg and fruit and make your own kebabs keeping some that are solely veg and adding chicken or prawns etc to others.

    I normally spend about 50 on mixture of food and drink for about 10 people. I find that most people will bring some drink with them and i make it clear that "some" beer will be supplied ( I always take my own spirits if going to a party (cheaper brand only) and also ice cubes dont go amiss, if asked by younger guests or somebody not in good financial situation i usually say to bring soft drinks and ice cubes and some bread rolls as they are the staples, that makes the guest feel good and doesnt drain them.

    One tip i have found is that i never cook all one thing at the same time ie all sausages, all kebabs etc, i mix them so that the food keeps flowing and doesnt get boring. I find that not everyone likes the bread side of bbq's especially dieters, so jacket potatoes cooked in oven wrapped in foil keep getting put onto the warming rack of bbq and salads on tables.



    I love reading the tips they're normally tried and tested.

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    Last edited by Former MSE Rose; 09-06-2009 at 7:10 PM.
    • hellokitty08
    • By hellokitty08 4th Jun 09, 1:06 PM
    • 1,862 Posts
    • 1,299 Thanks
    hellokitty08
    I agree, as the host have plenty of bread, sauces, etc, but I have even done away with the salad as I find it never really gets eaten, just go for the meat (or vegi burger). Never had any problems with people bringing their own. I know some people who think its odd, but i dont mind, either they bring their own and we have a party, or they dont and stay at home! hehehehe
    • troubrs
    • By troubrs 4th Jun 09, 1:34 PM
    • 107 Posts
    • 165 Thanks
    troubrs
    Pimms anyone?
    If you're into Pimms & Lemonade, try Aldi's Austin's summer drink, I just can't tell the difference, yet it's a fraction of the price of the real thing.

    I always make my own burgers using breadcrumbs from leftover bread I blitz then freeze.
    • z4harry
    • By z4harry 4th Jun 09, 2:17 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    z4harry
    I topped up my freezer in lieu of the BBQ season a few weeks ago at Lidl.

    They have loads of meat packs starting at 1.50. I've never shopped there before but saw the advert outside and thought I'd give it a try. I went back and filled the freezer (especially as the store were giving away 10 off a 50 spend vouchers)

    Don't ever buy flavoured meat. A marinade sauce takes just a few minutes to apply, put back into the fridge for a hour before grilling. Much cheaper.

    My children love putting the kebabs together (just watch they wash their hands before and after).

    An absolute sensation at a childrens BBQ I had recently was fruit kebabs (no cooking necessary). Just skewer lots of different fruits on a stick, give to kids, watch disappear. Simple!

    We also did loads of non-alcholic cocktails. Tesco do a superb range of fruit juices in addition to the usual Orange apple and Pineapple you can also get Peach, Coconut and Pineapple and Pear, etc. Just consult any cocktail book and adapt recipes. Paper umbrellas and fancy straws are available at most discount stores (B&M, Instore Etc)

    The golden rule to any BBQ is:

    NEVER GO EMPTY HANDED
  • StAPaul
    Cook Off!
    How about challenging guests to make burgers or use their secret marinade on some chicken and bring it along to take part in a cook off. Keep it fun, and it should increase the quality of the food that everyone is bringing?

    It is very commonplace in North America. 'Pot luck parties' - everyone brings a dish that they have prepared. I agree that it is fine to ask people to contribute, and not just to BBQs. New Years, Christmas, Halloween. Anytime there are a lot of people who want food with their drink.
  • Nusso1435
    I have recently come back to live at home in the UK from Australia. Over in Australia it is quite the norm to ask guests to bring their own meat and booze, and the host supplies the sundries i.e: plates, cutlery, salads, rolls, sauces and a dessert!
    • jools0001
    • By jools0001 10th Jun 09, 10:26 PM
    • 29 Posts
    • 37 Thanks
    jools0001
    DIY dip recipe
    A few years back when I was out of work I catered a party at my place for about 10 with frozen potato wedges, home-made dip, and some cheap salad. Cooking potato wedges in the oven might not be so appealing for summer, but the dip usually goes down pretty well at barbecues and picnics.

    I got this recipe reading a magazine over a friend's shoulder - I didn't even pay for the magazine so how's that for cheap! It's so easy I managed to remember it from just that one reading, so you'll never need to write a shopping list for this one, and it's as good as anything in the shops...

    Ingredients:

    1 'normal' size tub of Philadelphia-style soft cheese. (I find the full fat one a bit stiff to work with, so I usually go for the 'lighter' version. All the supermarket brands taste the same to me.)

    A few tablespoons of mayonnaise. (I think the cheap stuff works best because it usually tastes a bit stronger.)

    1 small tub of sour cream - and if you can't get that, don't worry too much, just use more mayo.

    Whatever you want for flavour - I usually start with 2-3 spring onions and take it from there with whatever's in the cupboard depending on what variety of dip I'm aiming for (herbs and garlic, curry powder, honey and mustard, leftover mexican seasoning from fajita night with a little tomato puree... whatever).

    Method:

    Mash the cheese with a fork, and blend in the other ingredients.

    Umm... that's it. If you make it ahead, bear in mind it will get thicker after a while in the fridge, so make it a bit thinner than you need. If you make it the night before, it will get stronger so go easy on the garlic!

    Actually that's not *quite* the end of the method, but the next bit takes longer and is more difficult to plan. What you do is teach the recipe to a few friends, and they come up with their own variations which they tell you next time you're at theirs. Then, years down the line, you throw a party and you find that every time the dip runs out it gets magically replaced by a new batch someone just knocked together in your kitchen while you were out of the room - cool!

    I have a friend who always makes this at five minutes notice, so never uses sour cream always just mayo. She adds grated mature cheddar, garlic and onion, and it's great. Another friend did a variation with loads of basil that goes really well with carrot sticks. My favourite is dill and lemon which goes great with some smoked salmon and a baked potato.

    I think I remember from the magazine where I saw it that you can even do a sweet version: instead of mayo use single cream, and add a little caster sugar and some vanilla for the base, and take it from there. (Am I right in thinking that's more or less just a runny cheesecake mix? Anyway I've never tried that one, so if you do, let me know!)

    Oh, and it has about a million calories per serving so don't even try to count.

    Enjoy! :rolleyes:
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