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.
If your romantic dinner date is just round the corner, but you are suffering from a creative block, our 10 top tips are here to help! This practical advice will help you to sail through Valentine's Day menu planning with finesse. So prepare to sweep your other half off their feet with a moreish medley of starters, mains and desserts.
1. Don't panic
If you've left things to the last minute, there's still a chance to restore your romantic reputation with quick and simple suppers like linguini with prawns & spring greens and simple squash risotto. For desserts, opt for speedy yet impressive plate-ups such as Tia Maria & chocolate creams or boozy chocolate fondue.
Get more inspiration for quick Valentine's Day recipes.
2. Do your research
Take the time to tailor your recipe to the tastes of your date – oysters may look special but if your date is not a fan, it could be a long evening.
3. 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.
See our classic Valentines’ menu for more traditional treats.
4. 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. This next level spaghetti carbonara is comfortingly rich without having excess levels of sauce, allowing you to dine with elegance.
We've got plenty more sensational spaghetti recipes.
5. Don't dine al-fridgo
Don't take inspiration from the fridge scene in 9½ Weeks – in any realistic situation a mixture of milk, chilli and jelly does not end in romance.
7. Don't go garlicky
Unless your date doesn't have a shadow, it's probably best to go easy on the garlic – when it comes to breath less is definitively more.
6. Do keep things sweet
End your evening on the sweetest of notes with light desserts like passion cake, cherry shortbread hearts, easy jam tarts, romantic rose cupcakes or slice-and-bake Valentine's biscuits. These shouldn't leave you feeling too full for an after dinner tango or two.
Discover more Valentines' Day desserts.
8. Do keep it clean
Nothing will cut a date short like a bit of spinach caught between the teeth, so we recommend staying away from this ingredient at all costs.
9. 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.
10. 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.
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Let us know your top tips for romantic dining below.