A friend and I recently had a lovely week in Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire. Must be one of the most enchanting and delightful places to stay even if there is an awful lot of up, and we had a good time.
Neither of us are exactly flush with dosh and we both live on a limited income. If there is one thing that will pile up the expenses on holiday, it is food. Great to eat out all the time if you want to and/or if you can afford it. Fortunately neither of us are gasping for the hots spots or night life when on holiday but we do need to eat.
As we were renting a cottage and self catering I decided to sit down and work out a menu for the week, much as I did when I had small children and a husband to cook for. I find I don't do this so much these days but after the holiday am determined to do so. We both have bus passes so trolling around our part of Yorkshire was fun and free and, liberated from the wheel, I could look around and enjoy the scenery. I wanted to have money left over to spend on things we both wanted to (books in the second hand bookshops of York for one) and I would rather do this than spend about £8 for a panini and a coffee in Starbucks or whoever.
So I sat down and worked out a menu for the week and this is what I came up with:
Saturday - driving up and as I did not want to waste money at an overpriced service area I made sandwiches, bunged in fruit and plenty of water. As it happened, the drive was awful and we hardly stopped at all except for a quick cup of tea.
On arrival, as planned, fish and chips so no cooking It was delicious
Sunday - roasted a chicken and roasted all the veg along with it. Cheese and biscuits and/or fruit for dessert.
Monday - leek and bacon quiche which I had made and brought with me. Sauteed spuds also. Stripped chicken and boiled up bones etc for stock. Rest of chicken in fridge for next day.
Tuesday - remains of quiche for lunch with salad. In evening chicken risotto made with the stock and the left over chicken
Wednesday - in Whitby so had fish and chips at a restaurant down by the harbour. Fresh fish, superb, and wonderful chips. In evening sandwiches etc
Thursday - Mince and onion pie which I had made and brought with me with plenty of fresh veg.
Friday - remains of pie cold with salad in the evening. We had been in York and had a toasted sarnie for lunch.
Breakfast was cereal or boiled eggs or whatever was our choice. I had also baked a walnut and banana bread which lasted us all week and was good to eat in the evening with a cuppa. I had also taken a bag of pasta with me and a jar of tomato sauce but in the end we did not use that and it came back with us. There was cheese and biscuits and a bagful of Kit Kats in the fridge as well.
Our two meals 'out' which we did not cook were fish and chips. In such a location it would have been daft not to have these as the fish was fresh and tasted simply wonderful. Both of us felt we had eaten well all week and did not feel deprived of treats in any way. There was a great coffee shop we visited in the Bay a few times where they served a wonderful variety of teas and also a great strawberry shortbread. Lovely to sit in the sun and free wifi so we spent a lot of time there sipping, emailing and just looking out at the glorious views.
My daughter Helen and her husband both love to eat out when on holiday and treat themselves to a great restaurant now and then and when I am with them when away, we usually go out to lunch. As I was in catering myself for several years I do find it difficult to eat out without wondering how much the mark up is and knowing what the ingredients cost etc and I know this is a guaranteed enjoyment spoiler, but afraid I cannot help it. I dislike spending money in expensive restaurants but, funnily enough, am quite happy to fork out for a good pub lunch where I feel I am not necessarily paying for the ambiance.
By planning in advance and taking everything with us that we needed, we spent very little extra on food, and were able to spend our money on more important things. As I said we discovered the bookshops in York, and the two in Robin Hood's Bay and our expenditure there was only possible because of this planning. £5 for a paninini or two books. No contest as far as I am concerned.
I am now sitting down and thinking about applying this menu planning for myself at home. It really makes sense. I intend to write about supermarkets as well and how I feel about them all.
Gosh this column is exciting isn't it?