5 ways to enjoy fancy foods without blowing your budget

Take your meals from dull to delightful with these budget friendly tips.

15 Sep 2017

We all like to indulge in some fancy foods every now and then, but sometimes it can seem like the only food we can get on a budget is more dull than delightful. Well our hospitality teachers are here to change that with these simple tips to take your meals from drab to fab.

Perfect the cheese board

Fancy foods include cheeseboardsNothing beats a good plate of nibbles. Biscuits and dip, cheese and crackers, you name it, we love it. While dip and crackers can be fairly cheap they’re not always the most exotic choices. Spice up your cheese plate by adding some grapes, olives or sundried tomatoes. You can purchase these from a grocery store or deli, fresh or a jar from the shelf so you can save some for your next plate of glory. If you do have a little more budget, try adding some proteins like salami or prosciutto. Finally, serve your selections on a wooden chopping board to add a trendy twist to this entertaining classic.

Eat out like a budget savvy pro

Enjoying your favourite fine foods at a restaurant, complete with white napkins and wine glasses is wonderful, but can also blow the weekly food budget. Try hitting up your favourite restaurant at lunch time. Some venues serve smaller portions with cheaper prices at lunch, so you can get a taste of fine dining without the hefty price tag. Alternatively keep an eye out for the budget savers that are coupons and vouchers.

Up your home cooking game

There’s something just a little bit special about a meal that’s been lovingly prepared in your very own kitchen. Get your baker on with this simple recipe for homemade bread rolls. From our very own chef and teacher, Jason Ford, this recipe is sure to impress even the harshest of critics.

Chef Ford’s foolproof bread rolls


  • 500g    bread flour
  • 10g      milk powder
  • 30g      butter
  • 10g      salt
  • 35g      fresh yeast
  • 300ml  water


  1. Combine all your ingredients and knead to a smooth, silky and elastic dough. This can be done in an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment, or by kneading by hand on your kitchen bench; the important thing is that the dough can stretch easily without tearing.
  2. Place the dough in a bowl, covered with cling wrap and placed in a warm area of the kitchen to allow the dough to prove (grow to double its original size).
  3. With your fist, knock the air out of the dough with a couple of gentle punches until it is deflated again.
  4. Cut the dough into 50g pieces, roll into ball shapes and place on an oven tray covered with baking paper. It’s nice to brush them with a little egg wash and sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds.
  5. Leave them in a warm place again until they double in size – then place them in an oven at 200oC until risen, baked and golden brown (approx. 15 -20 minutes). Serve with butter.

Makes approx. 20 rolls

Add a little French to your food

Add some French to your fancy foodsWhen we think French food, we think fancy! It doesn’t even have to be complicated. Grab the occasional fresh crossaints or baguette from your local bakery and add your own fillings. Or get your French on with this recipe for ‘asperges saupoudrées d’avocat et d’oeufs pochés’.


Master the dessert plating

Garnishes take nothing to somethingDessert can be the most simple and the most delicious meal of the day. Add a little pizazz to your pudding by getting creative with your plating. Garnish your favourite sweets with a dollop of cream or a drizzle of sauce. Add a sprinkling of coconut, mint leaves, or fresh fruit and you’ve got yourself a perfect score for dessert.

To learn more about hospitality and cookery courses at TAFE Queensland call 1300 308 233 or visit our website.

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