Host your own garden party on a budget

If you can’t get to Spain, why not bring Spain to you! Lucia in our training team gives you her tips to make a Mediterranean feast on a budget…

Phew, we can all breathe a sigh of relief…summer has finally landed. Well, that’s what my calendar tells me, but the weather’s saying differently at the moment!

At this time of year all my friends want to spend the weekend in the pub, and the cost of this can soon add up.

As an alternative, how about asking the girls round for a summer garden party? If you’ve not got a garden you could easily pack up the food and take it to the park, or even have an indoor picnic. With a little bit of creativity you can whip up some tasty food and drinks without breaking your food budget. If everyone helps out and brings a bottle, you can still be the hostess with the mostess!

garden party

Now, being half Spanish, my favourite way to do this is by creating a Mediterranean feast.

My menu below caters for impressive looking party nibbles for 15 people, and all for less than £1 per head!

  • Bruschetta with tomato, mozzarella, serrano ham and rocket
  • Spanish tortilla
  • Summer Sangria to wash it all down!

Ready to give this a go? Read on, and I’ll tell you what you need to do…

Spanish tortilla

This recipe makes either two smaller tortillas or one REALLY big one, depending on the size of your frying pan. I’ve got an awesome one that’s huge and really deep so I like to make the big one!

You’ll need…

  • 1.5 kilos of potatoes
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 large white onions
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Olive oil (for frying)
  • Salt

Start by peeling and slicing your spuds in half, and then cut them into slices about the thickness of a digestive biscuit. Bang these into salted water and par boil for 5 minutes.

Thinly slice the white onions and a clove of garlic, and add these to your frying pan with a little bit of olive oil and salt.

Drain your spuds well, and then chuck these in too with a bit more oil. You don’t want everything to turn brown, but just nicely fry them till they become a bit softer. Careful to not break up the spuds!

Crack all your eggs into a big bowl, add some more salt and a splash of milk. Break up the eggs with a spoon, but don’t whisk them or you’ll have a puffy tortilla!

Tip in your spuds and onions into the bowl with the eggs and give it a stir. Add a bit more oil to your pan, whack the potato and egg mixture back in there, and leave it on a low heat till it looks like it’s starting to firm up (I usually find this takes about 15 minutes). To finish it off, pop it under a grill till the top looks nice and browned.

Turn everything off, and leave it to cool. I think this is best done the night before an event, so it can be cut into slices when cool. YUM. (Make sure you cool it properly – you don’t want your guests to fall ill!)

Bruschetta with tomato, mozzarella, serrano ham and rocket

This recipe makes 72, so you’ll need plenty of plates at the ready!

You’ll need…

  • 2 part baked ciabatta
  • 1 bag of rocket
  • 2 packs of vine tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 mozzarella ball
  • 110g serrano ham
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Slice your ciabattas into thin slices (you can normally get around 36 slices per loaf) and pop them all onto a big tray. Put them in the oven on a low heat until they all crisp up. You’ll need to shake them around and turn them over. Don’t let them brown or burn!

Finely chop your garlic, and pop in a big bowl with some salt and olive oil. Chop up your tomatoes, red onion and mozzarella and add them to the bowl. Mix it all up, and you have your bruschetta mix. This is best left for about half an hour to get really tasty.

Grab your bread out the oven, and put them out on some serving plates. Then start to spoon out some of your tomato mix on each one. Then, add a few rocket leaves and a little tear of ham.


You can actually top these with whatever you want, and if you want to keep them veggie it will cost you even less. The recipe gives you enough for 4-5 per person if you have 15 people.

Summer Sangria

This recipe makes 2.5 litres. Make sure you’ve got plenty of ice in the freezer and some jugs to serve it all from. 

You’ll need…

  • 2 bottles of sangria mix
  • Bottle of lemonade
  • Ice

This bit is really easy! Get some jugs, pop in loads of ice, add the premixed sangria and top with lemonade. This drink is very refreshing and not too boozy. It looks lovely with some sliced fruit in it, but that’s not essential. 2.5 litres gives everyone a wine glass of this simple but delicious drink.

If you’re holding your party in a park or public place, it’s best to check whether the local laws allow you to drink there. And remember, be DrinkAware!

So, all that’s left is your shopping list, and proving how little this feast costs!

My shopping list:

  • Part baked ciabatta X 2 @ 59p each = £1.18
  • Rocket leaves x 1 @ 79p
  • Vine tomatoes x 2 packs @ 69p each = £1.38
  • Mozzarella ball x1 @ 49p each = 49p
  • 110g packet of Serrano ham = £1.39
  • 1 large red onion – Approx. 12p
  • 2 large white onions – Approx. 22p
  • Bag of basic white potatoes (1.5kilos) – Approx. £1.39
  • Box of 12 eggs – Approx. £2
  • 2 cloves of garlic – Approx. 4p
  • Sprinkle of salt – Approx. 1p
  • Good glug of olive oil (about 100ml) – Approx. £1.19p (Depending on price of oil. This is based on an own branded oil.)
  • Bottle of sangria mix x 2 @ £1.99 = £3.98
  • Bottle of lemonade x 1 = 49p

All of this came to under £15! I went to a well-known budget supermarket, but you might find the cost of these ingredients vary depending on where you shop.

I hope you enjoy your girly garden party. You never know, your friends might even return the favour!

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Posted by in Budgeting