A Simple Guide for Planning the Perfect Romantic Dinner
It could be Valentine’s day, a birthday, or a regular Friday night. The truth is, you don’t need a special occasion to give you a reason to plan a romantic dinner at home. It is the ideal way to create a memorable, intimate moment between you and your partner that doesn’t require you to leave the house.
For those of us that are not gifted in the cooking department, it can become an intimidating process. But by following a few simple tips, leaving yourself enough time to properly prepare and buying one or two extra items, such as Adairs table runners, to make the setting extra special, your perfect night will go off without a hitch.
Clear Your Schedule
Making sure you and your loved one will be available to attend is vital. With the chaos of everyday life, it can be easily overlooked. If you have children, this is the evening to cash in on that babysitting offer. Or, if you have a roommate, speak to them about going out for the evening to give you much-needed privacy.
Additionally, it is a good idea to set some extra ground rules, like having a no-tech evening, by turning off the tv and putting away phones. It can feel somewhat contrived to schedule this time together, but it is a guaranteed way of protecting your time and ensuring life doesn’t get in the way.
Planning the Menu
Once a date has been decided, the next task is figuring out the menu. During this process, remember which fresh produce is in season, as it can heavily affect how easy it is to find. In addition, bear in mind any dietary requirements either of you might have. Stick to foods you know and like, and avoid trying anything brand new and completely unfamiliar.
Instead, splurge on buying that lobster you both have been eyeing or a high-class cut of steak you enjoy. Elevated versions of the food you already enjoy will always be a winner. Lastly, don’t forget the drinks and dessert. These extras can be the perfect companions to your menu, pushing it over the top.
Dress for the Occasion
Even though you won’t be leaving the house, make an effort to dress up for the occasion, and request that your partner does the same. It will make the evening feel more special and contribute to the overall atmosphere you are trying to create.
It doesn’t have to be an evening gown and tuxedo. Anything you feel appropriate wearing for an evening out of fine dining will fit the brief in this moment.
Prepare in Advance – One Week Prior
If the kitchen is not a place you feel natural in, preparation will be very important. First, choose a recipe with ingredients and cooking techniques with which you are familiar. Then, play to your strengths and allow them to become the star of the show. For example, try a new spice rub or marinade if you can sear the perfect steak. Or if baking is more your forte, an over-the-top dessert will give your meal an extravagant end.
There is nothing romantic about feeling stressed, so the more time you give yourself to plan the perfect evening, the more in control you are going to feel. You don’t need to be a master in the kitchen to have a successful meal. The simple things done right always translate into delicious food.
Instead of waiting until the day before to complete the grocery shop, start buying the items needed at least two days in advance. Not only will you feel less rushed going through your ingredient list, but you will also allow yourself some extra time to tackle any unexpected issues that can arise, mainly unavailable ingredients.
Double-check everything you need to avoid any last-minute trips to the store; ice for drinks, a lighter for the candles, or garnishes for the meal. If you previously bought an ingredient that has been frozen, take it out to thaw slowly in the fridge.
The Day Before
To make the day go as smoothly as possible, prepare as much as you can the day before. Take out the crockery and cutlery you plan to use, set the table, and prepare your cooking station.
Pre-chop any vegetables you will be using, measure out spices and sauces needed, and if your main course contains a protein, season or marinate it in advance for the best flavor. This will also be the perfect time to double-check how long your dessert will need to be set before eating. Typically you need at least overnight for it to be perfect.
The Big Night
The day has finally arrived for all your planning and hard work to come together. Start by adding any finishing details to your table setting or room decoration. Double-check that the candles are safe for use and that any silverware and glasses you use are clean.
Make sure to prep everything you can ahead of time. Part of being a great hostess is not being overly stressed.
If anything needs to reach room temperature before cooking, remember to take it out in the morning. Also, read over your recipe before starting to ensure you haven’t skipped any ingredients and to avoid missing any cooking steps.
All that is left to do is turn on some romantic music, snap a quick picture to remember the evening, and enjoy each other’s company while having the perfect meal.