Treat your loved one to a Valentine's feast

Glass of rosé wine being poured at a picnic setting on a summer's day.
Glass of rosé wine being poured at a picnic setting on a summer's day.

The trick with cooking on Valentine's Day is not to slave over a hot stove all evening - you'll want to spend the time with your loved one instead. So you either need recipes that are really quick to prepare and cook, or ones where you can do as much as possible in advance.

Read your chosen recipe through, buy the ingredients in advance, and decide what you can do the day before. For example you can often chop vegetables and store them in the fridge overnight, covered in clingfilm.

Then, on the night, start off with a delicious cocktail before you get going with your feast.

If you fancy a pudding, why not make a double portion that you can share with two spoons? Again, go for one that can be made the day before, or one that only takes a few minutes. Most benefit from being taken out of the fridge to come up to room temperature.

Cocktails with the wow factor
If you can get your hands on some raspberries, crush them, put a tablespoonful of the puree in the bottom of a champagne glass and top up (gently) with Prosecco. Alternatively, what could be more romantic than a French Martini? Or if it's a cold night, try a heartwarmer with delicious sloe gin

Cooking to impress
Grilled lobster with Bloody Mary linguine
Delicious seafood pasta
Prawn and pea risotto (takes about an hour)

Red-blooded classics
Meatballs in tomato sauce (this is what Lady and the Tramp were eating in the Disney film, surely?)
Sirloin steak with handcooked fries
Allegra McEvedy's classic chilli con carne (can be made the day before)
Duck breasts with lentils (takes just under an hour)
Piccadillo tortillas (make the meat sauce the day before)

Meat-free options
Spinach and feta filo pie (can be made the day before and gently reheated)
Pear and walnut salad with Stilton or Roquefort cheese
Rocket and goat cheese omelette

Mixed berry Eton mess (takes about 10 mins)
Blackberry and cinnamon cranachan (takes about 20 minutes)
Rich chocolate pots for your Valentine (make them the day before)
Salted butter caramel cake (make this the day before)
Panna cotta with rose syrup (make this the day before)
Gordon Ramsay's pannacotta with pomegranate glaze (make this the day before)

And finally...
If you want a quick and easy breakfast to impress, look no further than this rum and raisin eggy bread. Good luck!

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