Happy Friday friends! Today I’m bringing you a sponsored post with Lidl to show how I put together an easy (and veggie!) feast using some sneaky shortcuts. A three-course French dinner party that takes less than an hour of your time? Yes please!
I don’t know if you have a Lidl near you, but I’ve been shopping there more over the last couple of years since I moved to Beeston – there’s one nearby. I love their fresh fruit and veggies, and I always buy my nuts there – so much better value than the other supermarkets. And their continental cheeses are to die for – (price wise and taste wise) especially the french goat’s cheese – I can never believe it’s only £1.75 (for a huge log). That’s why I was happy to say yes when they approached me about this sponsored post for their French Week – because I really do use and love their products and recommend them to friends – like my blog readers!
Lidl have just launched their French Range, which is in stores now and so I thought I’d use some of their products to show you how to put together a fancy pants dinner party in next to no time! I can be guilty of wanting to make everything from scratch (well, homemade is better!), but there are some shortcuts you can take for a meal that will still be incredibly delicious, but won’t cause you any extra weeknight stress, leaving you plenty of time for a glass of rose and catch up with your friends!
The French week products are available just for the next few days – I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there tend to be different products in all the time based on different countries – I got some Italian blueberry balsamic glaze at a recent one for under £2 that was delicious! Complete salad life changer! That’s one of the things that impressed me the most when putting together the food for this post – a French themed offer could mean some mass produced croissants, but these products really do have the provenance to back them up!
The champagne: AOP Brut Rose
I much prefer Rose champagne – it’s fruitier and more fun somehow! This one (shown above) is £16.99 and is part of Lidl’s new wine cellar range.
Starter: Baked Brie with freshly baked French bread
To bake your brie, just pop it on a baking tray and into a hot oven (about 170C) for 8-10 minutes. It should be oozey, but not melting. Serve with chopped fresh apple, crackers and french bread. The baguette is a bake-at-home one (John-Pierre) which takes under ten minutes in the oven and tastes great – it has that real artisan baguette look and taste.
(A whole wheel of brie is under £3, and the baguettes 55p. Which means you could feed 6-8 people this starter for under a fiver!).
Main: Veggie Cassoulet with parmesan
You can buy huge tins of cassoulet in Lidl, but as a veggie I decided to make my own! It’s packed full of hearty autumnal veggies like butternut squash and sweet potato, and I used Linda McCartney veggie sausages, which are cheaper in Lidl all the time than when they’re on offer in Tesco (£1.35 for 6 – I buy a lot of veggie products and they can be pricey, so I notice the difference!).
This was a really yummy, filling and different autumn meal – I’d definitely make it again! I used this recipe and loved the crunchy cheesey breadcrumbs on top! It’s delicious with (yet more!) French bread!
Dessert: Gateau au Chocolat with raspberries
Gasp, a cake mix! I know! While a boxed cake wouldn’t normally be my first choice, I’m not averse to using them in some situations – as long as the taste is good! In fact, I used to ABSOLUTELY love Green’s chocolate brownie mix, they were the best brownies ever. I still look for them in the supermarket even though it seems to have been discontinued years ago!
I was really impressed with this one (I wouldn’t be recommending it to you otherwise!). The ingredients are pretty much what you’d put in if you were baking it from scratch, but it really does save time – you just put it into the mixer and add in 150g of butter and four eggs, mix it for a few minutes and then put it into the oven.
The resulting cake is soo chocolatey, and the cocoa nibs and chocolate flakes give it a really interesting texture. Normally you’d bake the gateau for 35 minutes until cooked through with a slightly squidgy middle, but I baked for a shorter 25 minutes for a really impressive fondant like finish. It tastes like the gooey-est chocolate brownie ever. With raspberries or some other zesty fruit, it’s a pretty impressive dessert, and not one anyone will guess you’ve only spent three minutes on it… and of course, it’s so much more economical than making brownies from scratch – this mix was just £1.49!
Coffee: With madeleines and macarons
This is basically second dessert, but hey, you know me! End of meal coffee (or tea in my case!) should always come with something small and sweet to nibble. The madeleines are absolutely delicious, with a really soft tender crumb, and a rich, buttery taste. I’ve never made madeleines myself but these taste incredibly close to homemade in my opinion. Warmed up slightly in the oven and dusted with icing sugar? I’m pretty sure no one will guess you didn’t make them. They’re £1.49 for a packet which has about 10-12 in. They’re all individually wrapped too, so they’re a handy portion controlled treat to have around for cake-aholics (like me!).
The macarons were also really tasty – they’re impressive, perfect little bite-sized treats and the pistachio flavour is to die for. As someone who has tried and failed to make impressive looking macarons, these good value store-bought versions are really useful – they can cost a fortune from other retailers! They’re £2.99 for a box of 12.
Annnnnd I don’t need to eat for a week!
Do you shop at Lidl? What do you think of them?