DIY Date night: Creating a restaurant meal on a budget using supermarket products

A sponsored post for Woolworths

Right now with 3 kids aging from 3 to 12, settling back into the school year (hello exhaustion, freak outs, tiredness and meltdowns) with a little separation anxiety thrown into the mix and not a lot of extra cash (hello BAS and electricity bill and rates and school fees) there is little to NO chance that Rob and I can get a babysitter and get out for the night. Especially mid week, and especially not for Valentine’s Day.

But you know what? With all these stresses running SKY high, now is an important time for us to connect with our partners. To stop the treadmill, even just for a few hours, eat something delicious, have a glass of something and reconnect. There may be a toddler asleep in the room next to you, a teenager still awake in their room, but it’s allowing you to take the time out of your lives to have a meal together, maybe even pop on a frock (yes even for your own house).

This year, I have got us all (myself included) for a DIY date night for Valentines Day or any day for that matter that you can create using products from your weekly shop at Woolworths, that won’t break the budget and won’t have you slaving away for hours. Simple, quick and delicious food, worthy of a restaurant that you can create at home.

Much like how easy it is to re-connect with people that we love (get off your phone and pop on some music and have a chat) it’s just as simple to create a great meal at home worthy of any date night. Get the kids involved with creating menus or even waiting on you – or even better get them to bed and out of sight so you can enjoy each others company.

I have created a simple and delicious 3 course meal that can be made ahead of time so you can enjoy a few glasses of bubbles and not be slaving over the oven.

Keep the decorations as simple as possible. I grabbed a $10 bunch of white roses from Woolworths with the shopping – whacked it into a jug and threw as many tea lights onto the table I could find. Candlelight really is the best light for creating atmosphere and something different to the everyday. Get the good stuff out: what are you waiting for to use it? I’m talking pressed linen napkins (can we discuss these monogrammed ones I got from my Mum for my 40th?!), white dinnerware and clear glassware. Classic is best sometimes – and when it’s a setting for two you can have fun with decorating as it’s not too overwhelming.

My go to Prosecco and my absolute favourite of all time is this little drop that you can get for $17 from BWS when you do your shop. You may even be able to get it cheaper from Dan Murphys. Light the candles, pour the Prosecco, pop some your favourite old tunes from days gone by and let the night begin!

STARTER: Salmon rillettes with fresh baguette

Who doesn’t love a little seafood for something special? If you are really stuck for time then pre-order one of these seafood platters for two from Woolworths for just $25 (half a dozen oysters, salmon, tiger prawns and lemon) and it’s all done for you! There are a whole heap of different platters you can order from Woolies which is worth thinking about for any future entertaining.

I decided to create some salmon rillettes for our starter as they could be made ahead and then quickly served with drinks and all you have to do is cut up a baguette. A rillette is a preparation of meat, similar to pate, spread on bread. You can make them with salmon too – delicious with some fresh herbs too.

Salmon Rillettes

1 packet Woolworths hot smoked salmon for $6.50
1 cooked salmon fillet
Half bunch dill
Half bunch chives
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons butter
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt & pepper

1. Flake the hot smoked salmon and cooked salmon fillet into a bowl

2. Add on top the sour cream, butter, herbs, lemon juice and salt and pepper and then mix roughly with a fork making sure you don’t break up the fish too much (you want a little texture)

3. Spoon into a jar and refrigerate. If you wanted a traditional seal, melt some butter and pour on the top before putting in the fridge. This gives you a butter seal you break through. You don’t have to do this though! I just served with sliced baguette and a lemon cheek (we had it outside catching the last of the day before darkness).

MAIN: Beef on the bone with béarnaise and green salad

Whenever we eat out I know that Rob will usually have a steak of some description, so for my DIY date night I made sure I had a good piece of beef, something fancier and bigger than I would normally cook at home and a rib eye on the bone is perfect for this. It can seem a little overwhelming to cook but I want to show you in a few simple steps how you can make a béarnaise (literally takes 60 secs with a stick blender and this beautiful meat just 15 minutes).

Beef on bone with béarnaise

500 gram beef steak on the bone
100 grams melted butter
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Woolworths Mixed green salad bag $3.00
Salt & Pepper

1. To prepare the sauce separate two yolks and place into a long jar or jug with 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar

2. Melt the 100 grams of butter until bubbling and slowly pour into the jug with the yolks in with your stick blender on at the same time. Keep the blender on as you mix it in until all the butter has been added in: it will thicken in about 60-90 secs. You can add chopped tarragon in there too if you like, taste to see if it needs some salt or pepper then set aside until you are ready to serve. I keep it on the bench (as it will go hard in the fridge).

3. Now to prepare the steak. Turn your oven onto to 220 degrees fan forced and place a baking tray in there so it heats too. Take it out and season well with salt and pepper on both sides and get your pan on your stovetop HOT with a drizzle of olive oil.

4. Once your pan is HOT place the steak onto it and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until you have great colour then turn and do the same on the other side, then transfer onto the hot baking dish in the preheated oven.

5. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes for every 450-500 grams (this will allow pink in the middle) so leave for longer if you prefer it to be more well done.

6. Take out of the oven and place onto a piece of foil, then wrap it up for 10 minutes. Same amount of time resting to cooking. It won’t get cold…the foil keeps it warm and allows all the juices to go back into the meat and get tender.

7. Once it has rested for the same amount of cooking time, carve it up into thin slices off the bone. You can serve it on a board like this (I think it looks great) with the sauce on the side. This should be more than enough for the two of you…I just served it with a simple green salad because we had bread to start…but add in potatoes if you need or want to!

DESSERT: Cheat Ice cream cookie sandwiches

These are the BEST desserts to serve to groups of friends, to kids, you name it. They are cheap, they are SO easy to make, you can use any variation of flavours you like and they can be made ahead and whacked into the freezer. The perfect no fuss dessert. These will become a cult classic I am sure of it!

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

1 packet Woolworths cookies (I used Peanut choc chip HELLO) $3.00
1 litre Woolworths vanilla bean ice cream $4.70

1. Take the cookies out of the packet, add in one decent tablespoon of ice cream onto the flat part of the cookie, add on a top and place into a Tupperware container to store and place into the freezer. That’s IT!

These are great to make in a big batch and store in the freezer…such a great treat to have any time of the week, but even easier on date night to sit and eat at the table as there is no washing up!

Crank those tunes, talk about stuff from life before kids, don’t talk about school, or budgets. but ways that you are grateful for each other, times you have made each other laugh, felt supported and loved. This raising families business is quite the business; make sure you don’t forget who you guys are along the way.

You’ve got this. You’re doing a good job, you really are. Both of you.

You can check out the full range of platters and Valentine’s Day specials from Woolworths and remember that you can create anything at home without too much hassle that is worthy of being out.

What are your Valentines Plans?
Do you date night out or at home?
Got any tips for connecting with your partner when life is just SO full on?


  1. Fabulous menu – looks delicious, special and not too difficult! You’ve been cooking up a storm lately. Thanks for all the inspiration.

  2. Thankyou for this inspiration… I’m totally doing this

  3. Now that looks delicious! I love your napkins, and agree you can’t go past classic. Your jug with flowers, I have a platter with that pattern ‘Asiatic Pheasant’ which my Nana left me. It’s a lot older than your jug of course. But isn’t the pattern just beautiful! x

  4. THANKYOU! We have a four year old who just started school and a five month old so no getting out of the house for us this year. I love your ideas and I am going to give them
    a crack!

  5. Love this ♥️

  6. This is the best babe. I’m gonna give it a whirl and love that quick bearnaise recipe 💥

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