The ultimate romantic stay-in-and-chill Valentine’s meal

Staying in this Valentine’s Day? Celebrate with our sexy – and simple to cook – menu…

The classic Valentine’s date night is going for a meal, but it’s a busy night for restaurants and they can sometimes feel more rushed than romantic on February 14th. Why not give it a miss this year with our easy-peasy Valentine’s menu? Pop a cork or two and celebrate!

Sophisticated nibbles

Go for finger food – it’s easy to make in advance, clears away quickly and is, of course, sexy. Compile a sharing platter doesn’t involve much that is more complicated than opening packaging, and it’s easy to tailor to your individual tastes.

Ideas for your platter
Pick 4-5 so you’re not too full for the rest of the meal

• Olives
• Stuffed Peppadew peppers
• Artichokes
• Smoked salmon blinis
• Mini sausages
• Parma or serrano ham
• Hummus and crudites
• Tortilla chips and salsa
• Cubed cheese
• Breadsticks
• Sushi
• Oysters
• King prawns

Mouthwatering steak and chips

Steak and chips is a classic combination that it’s hard to go wrong with, and you can make much of it in advance. Chill the mushroom butter in the fridge until you’re ready, and the potatoes can be kept warm in a very low oven – they’ll only get crisper and yummier!

50gm butter
Handful dried porcini
Black pepper
2 steaks
Mixed salad leaves
Salad dressing (optional)
450gm floury potatoes
1 garlic clove, crushed

1. Put the mushrooms in a bowl of hot water to soften, and if you keep your butter in the fridge, take it out now to bring it up to room temperature
2. While you wait for the mushrooms, chop your potatoes into wedges – there’s no need to peel them. Wash them and leave them to drain.
3. After they have been soaking for 10-15 minutes, drain the mushrooms and chop very finely.
4. Add the mushrooms and a good grinding of black pepper to the butter, mashing it all together so it’s evenly distributed. Roll into two balls, wrap in clingfilm or greaseproof paper, and put it in the fridge to re-solidify.
5. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Dry the drained potatoes with a tea towel and put them on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the crushed garlic clove. Roast for 35-45 minutes and until crisp and golden.
6. When you’re ready to eat, divide the mixed leaves between two plates and add a dressing (if using).
7. Heat a glug of olive oil and a bit of butter in a frying pan, then add the steaks to the hot pan. Cook for 2-4 minutes each side, depending on how rare you like your meat.
8. When cooked, add the steak and potatoes to the plates, topping each steak with the flavoured butter.

Chocolate-dipped strawberries

Keep the pudding light so you’re not too stuffed. Chocolate-dipped fruit is light and ideal to feed to your loved one!

1 punnet strawberries (cherries work well too)
200gm good quality dark chocolate

1. Line a plate or tray with greaseproof paper
2. Melt the chocolate, either in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water (taking care that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).
3. Dip each strawberry in the melted chocolate, and put them on the greaseproof paper. Leave them to set in a cool place for two hours.

And when the love feast is over, Fairy makes light work of the washing-up, whether you’re doing your dishes in the sink or in the dishwasher.

What’s your favourite date night recipe? Let us know in the comments below.