These easy recipes are all you need for the ultimate at-home date night

Valentines day is a little difficult this year.

The fancy restaurant, your favourite cute and cosy pub as well as a weekend away somewhere are all out of the question. No fancy drinks, no edible chocolate hearts with your coffee and no cute little heart shaped cake for dessert.

This year, we have to get a little creative with how we mark the day and show our appreciation for our S.O. In some ways, this is a welcome disruption to the usual. Valentines day can get overhyped and pressurized, with everyone trying to one-up the year before and each other on Instagram. It could be nice to take it back to basics, with something like a home-cooked meal.

And just because it’s homemade doesn’t mean it can’t be lush, right?

We’ve put together the perfect four course meal menu to make Valentines night as special as if you were out in the fanciest restaurant in town!

Course One: Cocktails

Glasses and flowers on white surface

Love Potion

  • 2 shots raspberry vodka
  • 2 shots lime juice
  • 300ml cranberry juice
  • 100g grenadine.
  • 6 raspberries

red wine in clear wine glass

1. Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

2. Put on the lid firmly and shake until well combined.

3. Put on the strainer and pour cocktail into two long-stem glasses with raspberries. Cheers!

Course Two: Starter

Cupid’s Caprese skewers

(insidetherustickitchen.com)

These are tasty but light little bites to start the night off of. Light the candles and settle in for your night of romance with these easy-to-make starters!

  • 10 basil, leaves
  • 10 baby tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 10 mozzarella balls, mini
  • 10 toothpicks/skewers

1. Cut baby tomatoes in half at an angle, rounded at the top and tapered at the bottom.

2. Push both halves on the toothpick, aligning the bulbous parts to create a heart shape.

3. Below the tomatoes, push the mozzarella balls and twice folded basil onto the toothpick.

4. Drizzle in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to season. Easy peasy!

Course Three: Mains

Creamy Prawn Pasta

cooked shrimp food

Decadent and delicious, this creamy, cheesy sauce pairs gorgeously with succulent prawns and a light, white wine.

  • 500g shrimp, fresh
  • 40g flat leaf parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 500g spaghetti alla chittara
  • 1tsp kosher salt
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1tsp red pepper flakes
  • 8tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 300g heavy cream
  • 50g parmigiana Reggiano

person grates cheese on top of pasta

1. Put a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt into a pot of water and heat until boiling. Add pasta and strain once cooked.

2. Put butter into a pan on a medium heat and allow to melt.

3. Add prawns and season with salt and red pepper flakes.

4. Add in chopped shallots and chopped garlic and allow them to sauté. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan and bring it down to a low heat.

5. Pour in heavy cream and parmigiana and stir into the mixture to create the creamy sauce.

6. Put the cooked pasta into the pan and mix it into the sauce.

7. Serve with a parsley garnish for that extra little flourish and freshness!

Course Four: Dessert

Sumptuous Strawberries

Chocolate Coated Strawberries

The perfect way to top off the night, these gorgeous and festive little treats add a special something to the evening.

  • 1 punnet of strawberries
  • 1 bar dark chocolate
  • 2 bars white chocolate
  • 1 bar milk chocolate
  • Red food colouring
  • Desired toppings - eg: crushed nuts, sprinkles, sweets etc.

red strawberry on brown wooden table

1. Wash strawberries, divide into 4 groups and set aside.

2. Put a pot of warm water on the stove and heat gently. Using a non-heat bowl, place it in the pot rim, without allowing it to sit entirely into the pot.

3. Add your dark chocolate bar into the non-heat bowl and stir until it melts.

4. Select one of your four portions of strawberries and dip all of them except the stalks into the melted chocolate.

5. Set them on a tray and sprinkle your desired topping over them. Leave them in the fridge for 1 hour to set.

6. Repeat steps 2 to 5 for the milk chocolate and one bar of the white chocolate, cleaning the non-heat bowl for a new chocolate each time. With the second bar of white chocolate, once it’s melted, add in a drop or two of red food colouring to make a pink chocolate.

7. Add desired toppings and allow to set in the fridge for 1 hour.

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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