Anyone that knows me well will know that I am not keen on mentioning the word Christmas before December. However this year I have decided to abandon my normal rules and bring it up in November.
In an attempt to keep with the remit of the blog, I decided to attempt a budget Christmas dinner, that while not breaking the bank, still had enough glitz and glamour to be served on the big day. I wanted something more than just another roast.
With all this in mind, I started searching the yellow sticker section in the supermarket for an appropriate meat to serve. It became fairly clear early on, that this christmas we were going to go turkey free.
Belly pork is a fairly cheap cut of meat anyway, but when you find 1.1kg for £3.48 it is even better value for
money. So I grabbed it and chucked it safely into the freezer for a later date.
Next step was how to build a nice meal around roasted belly pork. It had to stand out. I wanted glitz and glamour! With the words ‘more than just a roast’ swirling around in my head. I started to make plans.
If you’re like me, you would rather spend more time with the family over Christmas and less time in the kitchen. I wanted something that elements of it could be prepared the day before and cooking on the day kept to a minimum amount of time. I also was mindful of my £5 budget. Is it even possible to cook a Christmas dinner for four people and keep to a budget of a fiver?
- Jazz up a roast dinner
- Keep to a budget
- Spend minimal time cooking and prepping
How hard could this be?
Not that hard as it turns out.
To cut down the amount of time spent in the kitchen I would keep the pork fairly simple and just roast it and make sure that plenty of crackling would be available for all to enjoy. For some extra flavours I wouldn’t just steam the vegetables. I would add subtle yet festive flavours using different methods of cooking them instead.
Let me present to you;
Roast Belly Pork on a bed of mustard cabbage, with carrots with a ginger and orange glaze, together with steamed tender stem broccoli, fine beans and pigs in blankets. Served with homemade apple sauce and homemade gravy.
With the roast belly pork taking the longest to cook, I started by placing that into a heated oven. I then started on the potatoes. And finished with the vegetables. The apple sauce and gravy had been made previously. Total time in the kitchen was around 1 hour and 45 minutes. Time could be cut even more, by prepping all the vegetables the night before.
All the recipes I used can be found here.
I thought it may help and make it easier for you. So have included a timeline of cooking times.
- 00.00 Pork into oven
- 00:20 Start potatoes
- 01:25 Start carrots
- Pigs in blankets in
- 01.30 Meat out and set to rest
- 01:38 Steam broccoli and beans
- 01:45 Serve
So, did I manage to cook a Christmas dinner for £5. In short, no!
This is the cost of each item;
- Belly Pork – £3.48
- Potatoes – 20p
- Carrots – 10p – 20p to make recipe
- Cabbage- 49p about 60p to make recipe
- Pigs in Blankets – 85p (cooking bacon and chipolatas from yellow sticker)
- Broccoli and beans -79p
- Apple Sauce & Gravy – 30p – both batch made and frozen
In total it came to £6.42. Savings could be made with different yellow sticker items. But in all honesty a full Christmas dinner for less than £6.50 isn’t bad and with a bit of organisation, minimal time can be spent cooking. Which in turn means you get more time with your family.