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Romantic meals on a budget – here’s some inspiration!

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My mum had a long chat to me about relationships a few months ago – and she gave some some wonderful advice.

She told me that too often people get bogged down with life and the everyday mundane things – and forget to nuture their relationships. This idea really hit me because it’s something I am paranoid about.

Mum also told me something else extremely valuable. That you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do something nice together. It can be as simple as lighting some candles and watching a movie. It can be making sandwhiches from leftovers and driving to a nice spot for a picnic. It could even be going for a walk. But, my favourite idea has been cooking a lovely meal, lighting some candles, turning off the TV and sitting down together. To be honest, we do this most nights. But, “date night” is different. We get a little bit dressed up, we crack open a bottle of wine – and I try to make something simple, yet special.

The reality of it is that even if you wanted to put in the effort and cook three courses – chances are it would cost you less than going to a decent restaurant. But, over the past few weeks I have cooked one course, and maybe brought a block of chocolate or some popcorn to have as our dessert. Obviously on date night, I don’t want to be slaving in the kitchen. Matt pitches in too, and it’s been really wonderful and something we both look forward to.

What can I say? Sometimes a mother’s wisdom is priceless!

So, here’s a great recipe we had a few weeks ago – and it involved mussels. It’s certainly the best seafood not only for taste, but at $5 a kilo – this meal sure didn’t break the budget!

Do you have some kind of “date night” with your nearest and dearest? What kind of ideas have you come up with to make it a special time for you as a couple?

Mussels in white wine, chilli and tomatoes

  • 1 kilo of fresh mussels, washed and beards removed
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 3 rashers of bacon, cut into strips
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced (or you can add more, if you like it really hot)
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 200gm of chopped tomatoes (half a can)
  • 1 handful of basil, roughly torn, or parsley, if you don’t have basil


Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large, heavy-based pan.
Cook the bacon, until it’s getting slightly crisp – then add the onion, garlic and chilli and season with salt and pepper. Cook over a medium heat until onion is soft.
Turn up the heat and add the wine, allowing it to simmer briskly for a minute or two.
Add the canned tomatoes and once they start to simmer. Add the mussels.
Cover and cook for a minute or two, or until the mussels have opened (it doesn’t take long – and this is how you tell they are ready). Add the fresh basil and serve.

Important: As you serve the dish into bowls, ensure that you discard any unopened mussels. If they are closed, then they are no good.

If you are cooking this as a main course, toss through some freshly cooked pasta at the end. If not, just serve mussels as they are, with some fresh sourdough bread to mop up all those awesome juices.

Don’t forget to tell us what you do to enjoy the company of your partner in the comments section below. And, if you don’t do anything regularly, maybe now is the time to start! No matter how busy your life is – I don’t think there is anything more important than making sure your other half is happy and showing them that you love them 🙂

Speaking of happiness – it was Matty’s birthday on Tuesday. He’s had a hard week with exams – the first of which was on his birthday – but he had a great day starting with brekky and pressies 🙂 Coffee was a top priority!

Ta Da!!

Penny enjoyed the box

And then there was family dinner and cake! Chocolate ripple, lovingly made by Matt’s mum. YUM!!! Our neices and nephews were there to help out with the candles too 🙂

So, this song is for Matty – because it’s one of his favourites. Happy birthday!! XO

And despite the post on romantic dinners at home – we’re heading out for dinner tonight to celerbate the end of exams and to enjoy some time together. Can’t wait!



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