Thursday, 29 August 2013

Three Minutes On Thursday #5

3-minutes [3]

The fifth and final post in this series on how to spend a few minutes making a meal seem a little bit more special.

First – napkins [or serviettes or whatever you call them in your house]


We don’t use them at every meal, but sometimes they’re a good idea [esp if you have messy ‘finger foods’] Here are some easy ways to present them. Two ‘cutlery pockets’ which you can put at a place setting.


FIRST IDEA Fold the napkin in half longways, and arrange knife fork spoon at the top.

Fold up the bottom edge.

Remove cutlery, turn over and fold in one third from each side and tuck in.

Turn over and insert cutlery into the pocket you have made.

IMG_0227SECOND IDEA Fold in half widthways, and then fold down the top right corner. Fold the right half over the left.

Now turn this over, and fold in the sides to the centre.IMG_0228IMG_0230IMG_0231

Turn back and tuck the cutlery in the pocket.

If you have a glass by each place setting, then fold the napkin into pleats. Fold it in half and tuck loosely into the glass so that it fans out.

Works with a fancy wineglass or a plastic Miffy Tumbler! [they are now re-writing Miffy stories for “modern children” I am told!]IMG_0232IMG_0233

And finally, I took these pictures for last week’s post, but couldn’t upload them due to PC problems.

Cucumbers are great in salad, but the centre part is mostly water. Cut your cue in half, and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon


Now cut in half again and slice, or just slice into arcs. They will retain their ‘bite’ and not make the rest of the salad soggy.

IMG_0416Garnishes – a small cube of cheese [shown here with £1 coin for reference] if grated on a microplane grater, will make a garnish to sprinkle over salads or soupsIMG_0417.

This piece cost less than 4p, and will make a garnish for at least 2 portions [3 if you spread it thinly]


I don’t eat cheese, IMG_0418but I know that I can grate one small-to-medium sized carrot to produce a colourful topping for four portions of salad.  My final garnish is one I am rather pleased with.IMG_0419

Take one bourbon biscuit [Sainsbury’s basics – less than 1p] and slowly but firmly crush it with a rolling pin. That picture shows the crumbs you get from just one biscuit.

That costs you less than 1½p and contains 66 calories.

I used this to make a generous topping for a couple of rice puddings – and put the remainder in a small jar.


The following week I made 2 pseudo black forest desserts using leftovers. Sadly I forgot to take a picture before we ate…

[Per person] In a small dish, 1 slice Sainsbury’s basics choc swiss roll, topped with a few blackberries [picked on our walk through the Sandringham Estate with Steph and Mark] and spread half a pot of Sainsbury’s basic strawberry yogurt, then sprinkle with bourbon powder.

The dishes looked quite splendid, and worked out at less than 10p per person. And I was very pleased when Bob said “Is this grated chocolate on the top? I didn’t know we had any chocolate left?” I think he was impressed to discover my latest thrifty idea.

Thanks everybody for the positive comments about this little series [explanation here if you missed it earlier] It doesn’t take much time, effort or money to make a meal a little bit special, and show love for those who will eat it.  As Bob is often fond of quoting at me

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.

Anybody else got any 3 minute tips to share? Doesn’t matter if they are not original – it is always good to be reminded of old ones we may have forgotten.


  1. It's a fast day today - I think I'm allowed the cucumber!!

  2. and if you put the biscuit/s in a polythene bag before crushing the bits don't fly everywhere! Thank you for all the tips.

  3. I'm really sorry that this series has come to an end. I've enjoyed it. Thank you.

    1. Thank you - perhaps I should repeat it sometime?

  4. Lovely ideas, Ang. I like the bourbon one, and will try it sometime.

  5. I would probably have all that cheese on one portion...and more! Although I do have a bit of a cheese obsession! and the swiss roll thing sounds amazing - I'll have to try it :) x

    1. You MUST regard the cheese as a 'garnish' not an essential part of the meal, or you will end up eating way too much!


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