Valentine’s Day is coming up and as a student that can sometimes mean that grand romantic plans are quickly stifled when you check your bank balance. But there’s no need to panic or look down the sofa for spare change as Residential Advisor; Rosalyn shows you how to show your care without breaking the bank…
I’ve put together a three-course meal for two, all for under £10! The recipe requires a bit of preparation but isn’t too complicated, so pretty much anyone can make this delicious meal and enjoy Valentine’s Day from the comfort of your own home without taking out an extra student loan! Here’s what’s on the menu…
Dough balls with garlic butter
Pizza with any topping you fancy!
Getting your special someone involved in the pizza making and choosing the toppings can also be a fun activity to enjoy together on your date. I asked one of the other RAs, Laura, to join me when I made this meal, and she couldn’t turn down the offer of free food! Buying all the ingredients for meal this came to under £10, but check your cupboards before hitting the shops as I’m almost sure you’ll have some of them at home already. Part of the beauty of making pizza is that you can keep it cheap and simple with a classic margarita, or splurge a bit with more extravagant toppings if you feel like it! I found that I had some of the ingredients left over afterwards, so next time I make this meal it will be even cheaper! It’s also useful to know that you can make extra pizza dough and freeze it, so next time all you’ll have to do is get it out of the freezer the night before to defrost and it’s ready to go!
For the pizza dough
300g strong bread flour (95p for 1.5kg)
1tsp instant yeast (64p for 125g)
1tsp salt (27p for 70g)
200ml warm water
1tbsp olive oil (£1.33 for 250ml)
For the garlic butter
100g unsalted butter (85p for 250g)
1 garlic clove (crushed) (25p for 1 bulb)
For the pizza sauce
100ml passata (35p for 500g)
1tsp dried basil (69p for 14g)
1 garlic clove (crushed) (price as above)
Anything you want! I went with the following…
Mozzarella (43p for 125g)
Pepperoni (£1 for a pack)
For the chocolate pots
100g chocolate (30p for 100g)
50ml hot water
60ml double/whipping cream (60p for 150ml)
I made the dessert first, as it needs plenty of time to set before serving. Milk or dark chocolate, or a mixture of the two can be used depending on what you prefer. I also added some berries when serving, but this is optional as it bumps up the price of the meal! Here’s how to make it in a few easy steps:
- Melt the chocolate (either in a microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water).
- Add the hot water a little at a time. It is important to add the water gradually to avoid the mixture splitting.
- Stir the double cream into the chocolate mixture.
- Split into two pots, bowls or mugs and put in the fridge to set for a least 1 hour.
Next I made the pizza dough, which is used for both the pizza base and the dough balls. (If you only want to make pizza, you can either make two, freeze half the dough or use half the ingredients).
- Add the flour, yeast and salt to a large bowl and mix. Make a well in the middle an add the warm water and olive oil. Bring the ingredients together with a wooden spoon until you have a soft, sticky dough.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth (approx. 5-10 minutes).
- Leave the dough to prove (rise) for 1 hour in the large mixing bowl, covered by either a tea towel or cling film.
Whilst the dough was proving, I used the time to prepare the pizza sauce, t
oppings and garlic butter.
- For the garlic butter, melt the butter and stir in the crushed garlic, then put in the fridge to set.
- For the sauce, mix the passata, basil and crushed garlic together and set aside until needed.
- For the toppings, grate/slice any cheese, chop up any vegetables into small pieces and make sure any meat is cooked thoroughly and also cut into small pieces. (For my pizza, the pepperoni was pre-cooked and sliced, so all I had to do w
as cut the mozzarella into thin slices.)
Once the dough has had time to prove, gently knead it, then split into two (half for the dough balls and half for the pizza). Pre-heat the oven to 220
For the dough balls
- Using half the dough, split into 12 even balls and space them out on a greased baking tray. Put in the oven and bake until they start to turn golden brown (approx. 5-6 mins)
For the pizza
- Roll out the remaining dough to form a rough circle (approx. 25-30cm across) on a floured surface, and transfer to a floured baking sheet.
- Smooth the sauce over the base and add your chosen toppings.
- Place in the in the oven and bake until crisp (approx. 8-10 mins).
It’s really easy to achieve tasty results with this recipe, and it’s also fun to make! Changing the toppings each time you make it and experimenting with new combinations also adds to the fun. I would recommend using mozzarella as a base for your toppings, but here are some suggestions for different combinations to inspire you when making your own:
Spinach and goats cheese
Chicken, red pepper and pesto
Caramelised red onion and ricotta
Ham, mushroom and mascarpone
Olives and feta
Barbeque chicken and sweetcorn
It’s also a nice idea to find out what your other half’s favourite toppings are before the date, to give it that extra special romantic touch. Enjoy!