Easter is traditionally a time for getting together with family or friends or neighbours. For some it is a deeply religious festival, for others it’s an excuse to eat their body weight in chocolate eggs. For most of us though it’s just a great reason to cook lovely food, sit down with our nearest and dearest and celebrate Spring and all that it has to offer.
This year, while we’re still in the depths of the cost of living crisis, trying to work out what we can afford this Easter is challenging. Food is just so expensive right now. But don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you.
Read on to find out how you can feed six people on Easter Sunday for under a tenner.
STAYING IN BUDGET
Let’s start with the meat eaters’ most expensive item: the lamb. The average half leg joint costs anywhere from around £10 to nearly £30, so already that’s our budget blown. If you can’t do without your lamb joint, then you will need to pay more for your meal. However, there are alternatives.
Added to which Aldi are cutting the price of some of their veggies down to 19p this Easter from 4th-9th April. That’s the sort of bargain we like here at MoneyMagpie.
If you are prepared to be flexible and to make a stew rather than a roast, you can throw in some veggies with the stewing lamb and have the added bonus of making the meal so much easier to prepare! But do remember this is a slow one that takes time in the oven, so get cooking well in advance of your meal time. Leave at least 3 1/2 hours before you sit down.
BBC Good Food has a delicious recipe that I’ve used and can vouch for:
800g diced lamb – £4.00 (Waitrose)
2 tbsp vegetable oil – 6p (£1.99 for bottle from Aldi)
1 large onion – 31p (Aldi)
4 large carrots – around15p (Aldi)
1 tbsp tomato puree – less than 1p (Aldi Cucina, 49p per tube)
1 tbsp flour – less than 1p
750ml lamb stock – 32p (pack of 8 for £1.30 from Tescos)
2 bay leaves – less than 10p (jar for 90p Tescos)
rosemary sprig – 45p (89p for pack from Morrisons)
On the side:
Greens of your choice, eg frozen peas 200g – 20p (Aldi bag for 89p)
Mashed potatoes – 19p Aldi
TOTAL – £6.19
Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/Gas mark 3
First scrub or peel your carrots and roughly chop the onion.
Prepare your stock (add two cubes to boiling water in a jug)
Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and batch fry the lamb so that it is browned on all sides and remove to a plate on the side
Next add the onion and carrot and cook for 8-10 mins until starting to colour.
Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then stir in your tomato puree and cook for a few minutes more.
Tip the meat and any juices back into the dish and stir to combine with the veggies
Gradually pour over the stock, stirring as you do so, tuck in the herbs, season and bring to a simmer.
Cover with a lid and pop into the oven for around 2 hours – 2 hours 30 minutes, until the meat is tender.
About half an hour before you’re ready to sit down, cook and mash your potatoes and boil the peas
You could also prepare this dish using your slow cooker. Here’s the method:
Scrub or peel your carrots and roughly chop the onion. Add to your slow cooker.
Prepare your stock (add two cubes to boiling water in a jug).
Heat some oil in a large frying pan, and briefly fry the lamb to brown it. Pop it into your slow cooker.
Sprinkle in the flour, then stir in your tomato puree and stock. Stir to combine with the veggies.
Tuck in the herbs and season.
Cover with the lid and pop onto low. Check it after 1 hour and 30 minutes. Leave to cook until the meat is tender.
About half an hour before you’re ready to sit down, cook and mash your potatoes and boil the peas.