Are you like myself, a freelance web designer? Are you planning a dinner party but haven’t had a web design client in 6 weeks? We’ve all been there – and I’m here to help.

There’s no reason why eating on a freelance web designer’s budget should be any less edifying than eating on, say, the budget of the Sultan Of Brunei. It’s just a matter of shop-sense and improvisation.

Shop-sense: either shoplift your main ingredients or buy them somewhere extremely cheap… such as Lidl.

Improvisation: Exactly what it says… improvise. Fancy some oysters for instance? Yes, of course you can’t afford them: and maybe you’re too scared to nick them. Don’t worry. There’s a free alternative if you live by the sea. They’re called Limpets, an abundant supply of which you’ll find clinging to any pier or sea defence wall worth its name. Turmeric and cumin a bit pricey? What’s wrong with crumbled up earth? You get the idea.

The following set-piece menu is from the Delia Smith Cordon Bleu Cookbook. It’d impress your guests but would set you back at least two website clients. Impress those same guests with the equivalent menu prepared from freelancer ingredients, however, and you’d have enough money left out of your last clients deposit to buy fifteen bottles of cider and a scratchcard.

OYSTER ROCKEFELLER

• 12 oysters, opened and on the half shell
• a handful of rock salt
• 3 shallots
• 1 stick celery
• 225g spinach
• 115g butter, softened
• tablespoon chopped parsley
• tablespoon chopped chervil
• 2 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
• tablespoon Pernod
• dash of tabasco
• dash of wocestershire sauce
• salt and freshly ground pepper

COQ AU VIN

• 2 kg free range chicken cut into 8 joints
• 25g butter
• tablespoon pine-nut oil
• 225g unsmoked streaky bacon in one piece
• 16 button onions
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 2 sprigs fresh thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• 725ml red wine
• 225g dark gilled mushrooms
• chopped parsley to garnish
• salt and freshly milled black pepper

SUMMER PUDDING

• 450g raspberries
• 225g redcurrants
• 110g blackcurrants
• 150g caster sugar
• 8 slices white bread
• 2 tablespoons brandy
• 275ml clotted cream

LIMPETS ROCKEFELLER

• 64 limpets, opened and on the half shell
• a few shakes of Saxo salt
• a small onion
• a bit more onion
• 225g cabbage
• 115g Better’n’Butter (Lidl)
• tablespoon chopped grass
• tablespoon chopped ferns
• 2 tablespoons Lidl Yummywhite breadcrumbs
• 5 melted Fisherman’s Friends
• dash of Vitakrone Tomato Ketchup
• dash of Vikatrone Brown Sauce
• salt and powdered white pepper

TURQ AU CIDE

• 8 Lidl turkey burgers, de-breadcrumbed
• 25g Better’n’Butter (Lidl)
• tablespoon melted Better’n’Butter
• 225g Lidl Bacon Bitz, squashed together
• onion cut into 16 pieces
• dash of powdered white pepper
• 2 sprigs fresh fern
• 2 leaves
• 2 cans Mega White Cider
• tin mushroom slices in brine
• chopped grass to garnish
• salt and some more powdered white pepper

GIREAU PUDDING

• tin of mixed fruit cocktail
• another half tin mixed fruit cocktail
• 20 sugar cubes (nicked from cafe table)
• 8 slices Lidl Yummywhite
• 2 tablespoons cider
• Lidl longlife milk mixed with breadcrumbs

More Recipes aimed at Impoverished Web Designers like myself coming soon!