Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Eating out, what is the best way to split the bill - equally or pay for what you eat?

Payment of the bill often seems to be a sensitive issue when dining out and while reading up on this recently on the web, I came across lots of views on the best approach… split the bill evenly… work out what each diner has spent… split the food equally and the alcohol only between those partaking… let the most sober person work it out… so many possibilities, but which one is the best?

My husband and I often eat out at various bars, restaurants and cafes in the Cotswolds and depending on whom we are with the etiquette around how to split the bill varies. With close friends we typically split the bill equally and make an allowance for people who are not drinking, which to be honest pretty much never happens with our friend group! With close family a parent usually picks up the bill (!) or we split it equally, while with extended family we often go down the calculators at the ready route. I always find in this instance that it is a good time to enjoy a final glass of wine, while a more zealous family member diligently works out to the penny exactly what everyone owes. At least doing it this way avoids the not enough money from some people saga!

Unless we are out with the usual crowd, I always think it is a good idea to decide at the start of the meal what the group want to do with the bill. That way everyone knows at the outset what to expect and any potential awkwardness and unspoken questions such as "I am the only one not drinking and they have ordered another bottle of wine... I wonder if they are expecting me to pay towards that?" are taken away and everyone can focus on enjoying the meal and the company.

Anyway, my own personal preference is splitting the bill equally (making an adjustment for the non-drinkers) and if we absolutely have to go down the pay for your own meal route I recommend leaving it to the most sober member or the group while you sit back and enjoy one final drink!

What do you think is best? Split it or pay your own?

T :-))

NB. Coming soon the controversial issue of should you tip and if so how much?!?!?

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Peanut butter chocolate fudge (little pieces of heaven)!!

Close friends of my husband and I call Sundays "Lazy Sundays" and devote the whole day to easy living, before their hectic work week begins - I wholeheartedly endorse this idea! Last Sunday inspired by their example I decided to look for a quick and easy sweet treat to make at home using ingredients I already had in the flat. Perusing the web I came across lots of recipes for peanut butter chocolate fudge. Peanut butter is one of my favourite toppings to spread on toast, crumpets, sandwiches and just about any other type of bread product, so when I came across the recipe and realised I had all of the ingredients to hand (well most of them anyway), I could not wait to try it out! Being a little short on caster sugar I made up the difference with granulated sugar. This made the fudge slightly grainy, however it still tasted really good and my husband's and my colleagues in our respective offices (aka my food guinea pigs) did not complain and the fudge soon disappeared... I am also going to put this one on the list to make with my girl guides this winter, as being young ladies they love anything to do with chocolate and this is right up their street!

I came up with my own version of the recipe (adapted from

1 cup of icing sugar
1 cup of chocolate pieces (I used giant chocolate buttons)
1 cup of smooth peanut butter
1 cup of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla flavouring (optional)

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, add the butter and stir until melted. Take the chocolate and butter mix off the heat and stir in the peanut butter, icing sugar and teaspoon of vanilla (optional). Mix until smooth and then place the mixture into a greased 8x8 inch dish and chill until firm. When completely set cut the fudge into little pieces and store in an airtight container.

A few ideas I am going to try out in my next batches are...
  • Using crunchy peanut butter instead of smooth
  • Adding a teaspoon of something alcoholic (possibly cherry brandy, as I love this and think the rich flavour would work well)
  • Swirling melted white chocolate through the mixture after it has been placed in the setting tray to create a marbled effect
This was a really lovely little recipe to make and went down well with everyone who tried it. I will definitely be trying this one out again soon!

Happy sweet making!

T :-))