As a family, we’ve always used this blog as a bit of a recipe resource. If the boys are making brownies or a pasta bake, they’ll look up the recipe on here, and I love that they’ll always have that connection with home. With Charlie just about to go off to university (we’re going to Universal for Halloween Horror Nights – yay! – then he goes practically as soon as we get back – boo) I thought it would be nice to share a few of our family favourite recipes so that he (and any other student looking for decent, great-value recipes for sharing) would be able to recreate them when he’s away from home. I’m starting with this easy, step by step lasagne al forno. If I’m taking my time and making a lasagne at home, I’ll make the sauce with red wine, carrots, celery and tomatoes (hit me up for the recipe, I’ve got a fab one), but there’s no shame in using a jar of tomato sauce, especially not when you’re in a hurry (or on a budget – a 500g jar of Tesco Bolognese pasta sauce is about 75p – also, look out for any that are on offer and stockpile them in a cupboard at home). Likewise with the cheese: Parmesan is lovely, but cheddar is cheaper.
This week (and weekend) has been absolutely manic. All of a sudden, everyone who couldn’t do any work for weeks decided that they could do it RIGHT NOW, so suddenly, after living in a building site since June, we were having worktops delivered and choosing tiles and living off baguettes and cheese (which is actually not much of a hardship) as our cooker and hob were out of action. If you’ve been following my kitchen story, you can skip this bit, but if not, let me take you back, waaaaay back *does weird wobbly hand movements to indicate going back in time*.
So what sort of holiday do you yearn for? We were recently debating this as we’re planning on taking a trip with the Disreputable One and his good lady later on this year. All was well until the subject of board came up: ‘of course, we’ll be going half board’, said my Dad.
‘Oh’, I said, ‘only we really like going all inclusive’.
My Dad was a bit surprised as, being a food lover, he thought I’d be happier to get out and about and try different places for dinner. The thing is, though, as I explained, when taking a beach break with kids, it’s easier to go all inclusive, given the constant stream of requests for cokes, ice creams, snacks and more cokes. It’s so much easier to budget when you know everything’s paid for in advance.
It’s also rather nice for them to have the independence to wander off and get their own snacks and drinks rather than constantly having to ask. On our recent trip to Mexico, the Mad Professor would alight from his sunbed, have a stretch and then say, rather magnanimously, ‘right, it’s my round then’.
And yes, I am a food lover, and on different holidays we’d maybe choose B&B or self catering, then eat out – especially with city breaks – but on a good old ‘slob out on the beach’ holiday, the last thing I need is to be constantly badgered for my purse.
Interestingly, then, First Choice, the holiday company who have recently changed all their holidays to all inclusive only, have come up with a new ‘calculator’ tool so customers can measure the cost implications of self-catering versus all inclusive.
First Choice say that recent research has shown that choosing an all inclusive holiday can save a family of four £500 compared to going self catering over a week’s holiday.
If you want to have a go at First Choice’s new all inclusive calculator, click on http://blog.firstchoice.co.uk/all-inclusive-calculator/ – be warned, you have to let it do its bit before you can enter your own information. It’s an interesting guide, though, and will even let you enter how many fizzy drinks or meals you think you’d normally use on your hols.
It’s a clever app and pretty thought provoking. Now, whose round is it?
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