LIFESTYLE
29/01/2018 15:34 SAST | Updated 29/01/2018 15:34 SAST

A Valentine's Day Dinner That Saves You Hundreds Of Rands

It will cost you just under R500 if you cook at home.

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Valentine's Day, for a number of South Africans, painfully falls just before pay day – which may make things challenging if you want to spend tons of money on your sweetheart.

But "celebrating love" need not be an expensive affair.

"I think there are great ways to show love without spending too much money, and for me this is cooking. It's a love language," says our resident foodie and chef, Duenna Mambana.

This three-course meal, tested in her kitchen, is not only delicious, but it's relatively easy to make, affordable and perfect for a Wednesday-night dinner.

STARTERS – French toast nton ntons = R100

"To make this, you would not need to scratch your head, because 80 percent of the stuff you probably already have in your kitchen. However, even if you were to buy all the ingredients, it would cost you just under R100."

Ingredients:

2 slices of bread

Boerewors, cooked

2 eggs

Salt and pepper for seasoning

Chilli sauce, Dijon mustard, or a dip of your choice

Method:

Prepare french toast as you normally would, by dipping bread into the beaten eggs.

Wrap the cooked boerewors in the dipped bread and fry on medium heat until the toast is cooked.

Leave to cool, then slice and serve with a dip of your choice.

"This dish is great, because you can have the leftovers for breakfast the following morning."

Main – Grilled Moroccan chicken on couscous = R200

"Whipping up this dish will take no longer than an hour, and it's so easy to make – yet on the plate it looks like it was put together by Gordon Ramsay. After all, they say we eat with our eyes first. For this dish, you are looking at spending no more than R200."

Ingredients:

1 cup couscous

Chicken portions (thighs, preferably)

Broccoli, asparagus or green beans

Moroccan spice – or any chicken rub of your choice

Salt and pepper for seasoning

Method:

For the couscous, follow the ridiculously easy instructions on the box.

You can prepare the chicken ahead of time – rub in your spices with some oil, and leae it in the fridge overnight.

To cook it, grill in the oven until it's cooked through.

In intervals of 15 minutes, baste it with leftover spice mixture (marinade), to make sure it doesn't dry out

Steam your broccoli/asparagus/green beans for a few minutes, until cooked but still firm to the bite ("al dente")

DESSERT – Choco bake wannabe trifle = R180

"You don't need to be a dessert person or a maven in this department to be able to pull this off. It allows you to take many shortcuts, yet the end product looks like you spent hours labouring in the kitchen."

Ingredients:

For the sponge

A big slice of store-bought chocolate cake (alternatively, you could bake your own)

For the filling:

Crème fraîche

Mascarpone cheese

Fresh peaches or fruit of your choice

Slab of chocolate (for garnishing)

Method

Mix mascarpone and crème fraîche

Layer with your fruit, sponge cake, and the filling – alternating as you go

Garnish with grated chocolate

*Costs may vary depending on where you buy the ingredients