How to prepare a successful Valentine's Day meal

  • By
    Lily Barclay - Senior writer - bbcgoodfood.com

Wondering what to serve this Valentine's Day? Follow our dos and don'ts of romantic cooking to make sure your dinner date is a sophisticated success.

Tia Maria chocolate creamsDon't panic

If you've left things to the last minute, you can still restore your romantic reputation with quick and simple suppers like, linguini with prawns & spring greens, simple squash risotto or Tia Maria & chocolate creams.

Do your research

Take the time to tailor your recipe to the tastes of your date - oysters may look special but if your dates polite and not a fan it could be a long evening.

Spaghetti with hot-smoked salmon, rocket & capers Don't make it messy

Slurping isn't sexy - so try not to make anything too messy to eat, unless of course you're going to be munching your spaghetti Lady and the Tramp style in which case all rules go out the window.

Do keep it simple

Your Valentine wants to see you not a fired-up Michelin-starred chef, yes? Sticking to a dish you know can save a lot of stress on the night, classic steak & chips, pan-fried seabass and double chocolate pots are all bound to hit the spot.

Don't dine al-fridgo

Don't take inspiration from the fridge scene in 9 ½ Weeks - in any realistic situation a mixture of milk, chilli and jelly does not end in romance.

cherry shortbread heartsDo keep things sweet

End your evening on the sweetest of notes with light desserts like passion cake, cherry shortbread hearts or romantic rose cupcakes. These shouldn't leave you feeling too full for an after dinner tango or two.

Don't go garlicky

Unless your date seems to have forgotten their shadow it's probably best to go easy on the garlic - when it comes to breath less is definitively more.

Do keep it clean

Nothing will cut a date short like a bit of spinach caught between the teeth, we recommend staying away from this highly sticky ingredient at all costs.

Don't go too hot

A red face and running nose is a difficult look to pull off, so it might be a good idea to stay clear of anything really spicy.

Finally... do have fun

As Bridget Jones proved you can dish up blue soup and marmalade and still win your loved one's heart, the main thing is to relax and enjoy.

Check out our Valentine's Day recipe collections for more inspiration.

Let us know your top tips for romantic dining below.

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