Bon appe-cheap

By on February 1, 2011


 We don’t need to break the family budget in order to have a decent Valentine’s Day celebration. If taking the family out to a special dinner is not an option, here are some ideas how to fake an expensive-looking dinner course right at the comfort of your home.


Tomato Bruschetta

Approx: ¥700

  • 1/2 baguette
  • 3 whopper variety tomatoes, diced
  • 3 tbsp chopped basil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Italian herbs
  • Salt

1. Slice baguette. Lightly brush one side of each slice with olive oil and toast lightly. Set toasted slices aside.


2. Put diced tomatoes in a small bowl, add garlic and olive oil a tablespoon at a time as you stir the tomatoes, herbs and cheeses (optional). Season with salt.


3. Put on top of each baguette slices. Finish up by drizzling olive oil on each slice. Makes 4-5 slices.


Pasta Putanesca

Approx: ¥1,500

  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 med. tin size tuna meat
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 1 tin sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 300 grams of spaghetti (for 4 people)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper



1. Put pasta in salted boiling water.

2. Follow time instruction on pasta label.

3. Remove from casserole and transfer to a strainer when done.



1. Saute garlic in olive oil until golden brown.

2. Add tomato paste and blend little by little with hot water. Allow to simmer.

3. Add tuna, capers and black olives

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Mix with pasta and top with parmesan cheese.


Choco cream dessert

Approx: ¥800

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • Whipped cream

In a measuring cup add 1/2 cup of the cold milk to the cornstarch. Mix thoroughly and pour into medium saucepan. Turn to medium heat and immediately add cocoa powder, sugar, salt, balance of milk, and three beaten egg yolks. Mix well. Stir constantly until the mixture just begins to simmer. Add half and half and vanilla extract and continue to heat until the pudding thickens. Do not boil! When it has thickened (approximately seven minutes) remove from heat and add chocolate. (The mixture may appear lumpy, that’s ok, don’t worry it will smooth out just fine) Stir the chocolate until completely melted and incorporated into the pudding. Pour into serving dishes, and refrigerate for 2 hours until completely cooled. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

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