Grilled oysters with fennel and lemon butter

Valentine’s Day date recipes

Cooking for your Valentine can be a minefield. Do you go super romantic? Try something different? What if you’re pressed for time, or can’t get a babysitter? Here at olive we’ve come up with seven different menu ideas for Valentine's Day to help you have the perfect evening whatever situation you’re in

Whether you’re looking to wow your Valentine’s date with your culinary skills and a romantic meal for two, or simply want to avoid the formality of a restaurant setting, here at olive we have crafted perfect menus for every situation.

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Left it to the last minute? Fear not! Our collection of quick romantic recipes will take you no time at all to rustle up. Or perhaps you’re embracing Galentine’s Day and hosting a girls night in? Look no further than these Valentine’s Day dinner recipes, featuring everything from grilled oysters and champagne cocktails to a romantic steak dinner, tear-and-share garlic bread and self-saucing chocolate pudding. 


Looking to impress

Want to wow your Valentine with your culinary expertise and sophisticated style? Look no further than this classic menu, featuring oysters, steak and rich dark chocolate

Aperitif: Homemade grenadine and champagne cocktails 

Get your evening off to a sparkling start with these striking champagne cocktails

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To start: Grilled oysters with fennel lemon and butter

Famously aphrodisiac, oysters embody the luxury of Valentine’s Day. Excite your date with this simple but impressive recipe

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Main course: Feather steaks with chimichurri and sweet potato fries

Easy to rustle up, this fresh steak recipe is full of flavour and a lighter twist on the classic dish

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Dessert: Chocolate soufflé with hot chocolate sauce

Dark chocolate, vanilla and a dash of rum add decadence, but the lightness of the soufflé keeps things delicate

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Long term relationship

Surprise that special someone and remind them just how much they mean to you with this menu that avoids conventional options while oozing refinement and sincerity

To start: Whipped goat’s cheese with baked figs

Simple to whip up, the lesser-known aphrodisiac quality of figs suggests subtle but sophisticated romance

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Main course: Anardana gosht (lamb cooked in pomegranate)

Spice things up with this succulent, flavoursome lamb. Serve with more pomegranate seeds to take full advantage of the pomegranate’s status as a symbol of love and fertility

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Dessert: Crémant poached pear, hazelnut praline and hot chocolate sauce

End your evening on a luxurious note with these plump pears poached in sweet sparkling wine and drenched in hot chocolate sauce

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Fun and light hearted

New relationships can be tricky on Valentine’s Day. If you want to keep things casual and light-hearted, try out this colourful menu, which steers clear of all the traditional stereotypes

To start: Avocado and prawn cocktail toasts

Quick to make and a modern twist on the classic prawn cocktail, these toasts are fun and fresh

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Main course: Roasted broccoli and feta flatbreads 

Bursting with colour and flavour, this vegetarian main keeps things casual, although the pomegranate seeds and red chilli add subtle romantic undertones

Roasted broccoli and feta flatbreads

Dessert: White chocolate, orange and raspberry pots

Easy to prepare in advance, these white chocolate, orange and raspberry pots are given an unexpected twist with a dash of Cointreau

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Restaurant style

Fancy treating your guest to gourmet restaurant-style food but want to stay in the intimate setting of your own home? If you’ve got all day to prepare, take a look at these fancy recipes from restaurants around the country

To start: Glazed lokma doughnuts with spiced chicken liver parfait

This recipe for glazed lokma doughnuts with spiced chicken liver parfait comes from Le Bab in London and makes an impressive starter, full of unusual and delicious flavour combinations

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Main course: Veal rump, potatoes, broad beans, girolles and celeriac puree

A beautiful recipe from Alistair Craig of The Horseshoe Inn near Peebles. Perfectly cooked veal rump is paired with a creamy cauliflower puree, girolles and broad beans

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Dessert: Jasmine set custard with strawberry sorbet

Delight your Valentine with this elegant dessert from Bulrush in Bristol. It’s a bit of a challenge, but your hard work will pay off

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Left it to the last minute

Somehow missed the stands of heart-shaped chocolates at the end of every supermarket aisle? Restaurant double booked? Fear not! Olive is here to save the day with our menu requiring as little preparation time as possible

Aperitif: A clementine ‘last minute’ cocktail

Need to buy yourself a few extra minutes? Whip up this cocktail to delight your guest while you finish off in the kitchen

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To start: Melon and prosciutto

Ready in just 5 minutes, this classic sweet-and-savoury starter is both refined and refreshing

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Main course: Steamed salmon with couscous

A pretty and delicate dish, the salmon is presented on a bed of steamed broccoli, couscous and watercress, and sprinkled with pumpkin and pomegranate seeds. Nobody would guess it only takes 15 minutes to make!

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Dessert: Swirled chocolate and ginger pots 

Sweet and spicy, these rich chocolate and ginger pots are the perfect Valentine’s finale. Whip them up in just 20 minutes then pop them into the fridge to chill while you’re eating

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Galentine’s’ Day

Being single is no reason to wallow on Valentine’s Day. Get your closest girlfriends together for a night of indulgence and fun, and let them know how much they mean to you

Aperitif: Pink lemonade cocktail

Deliciously pink and sweet, the perfect way to kick off your girls’ night

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To start: Best-ever tear-and-share garlic bread

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to get all your single ladies together… and the best thing is garlic isn’t off limits!

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Main course: Mix and match mac ‘n’ cheese bar

Place this comforting cheesy dish the middle of the table surrounded with the toppings in little bowls and let everyone dig in – no need for fancy presentation

Mix and match mac 'n' cheese bar

Dessert: Self-saucing chocolate pudding

Pudding doing it for itself, sisters certainly doin’ it for themselves! Prepare this indulgent chocolate dessert in advance and pop it in the oven when you start eating

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Family night in

Just because you’re in with the family doesn’t mean you can’t embrace Valentine’s Day! Check out these tasty recipes loved by kids and adults alike

To start: Cheesy garlic dough balls 

Why not get the kids involved in helping roll the mozzarella cubes into these cheesy garlic dough balls?

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Main course: Best-ever spaghetti bolognese 

Our favourite bolognese recipe, with pancetta, pork sausages and lots of herbs and veggies to really ramp up the flavour. Make it in a slow cooker to give yourself more time for family doughball production!

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Dessert: Strawberry and cream lollies

A fun, easy, prepare-in-advance recipe that kids will adore and adults will secretly enjoy too

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Written by Rachel Dinsdale


or if you prefer an alternative foodie Valentine’s date (no three-course dinners and red roses here) listen to our podcast here

olive magazine podcast ep38 – alternative foodie Valentine’s dates and Scottish food FTW