The idea of a dinner date might be stressful in principle, but they can actually be much easier than you think. I’m not just saying that as someone that’s used to cooking and sharing recipes – even food bloggers get the jitters, especially when it comes to treating a partner. But when it comes down to nailing the perfect dinner date, all you really need is a smooth atmosphere, clean presentation and food that tastes great. Who cares how you make it?
Here are my top tips for impressing your dinner date, jitter-free.
Ambiance is essential
Setting the right ambiance is non-negotiable, but that doesn’t mean it should take you hours. A simple playlist to set the mood, the right lighting – dimmer is better – and a few candles will do the trick. Simple white china will create the perfect canvas, while cloth napkins show you take setting the right tone seriously.
Don’t be afraid of frozen food
If you’re short on time or just short on energy, frozen food is a fast-track option for creating gourmet meals. Even if it’s just heating up a side dish like McCain Gourmet Chips while the meat stews in the slow cooker, you’ll spend less time chopping potatoes and more time chatting to your date. He or she will still get triple cooked chips in the end, so everybody wins.
Elaborate-looking yet very simple desserts
Desserts that look as elaborate as the Eiffel Tower don’t mean they necessarily need to take as long to build. In fact, desserts can be as easy to make as they are to eat. Layering is a stress-free technique that makes for incredible-looking dishes, just think of a simple trifle in a tall glass, or a tempting ice cream sundae. Neither take long to put together and both can be made before your date arrives.
Plan your menu strategically
When you’re the host of a dinner date, the ball is very much in your court. That means you’ve got the power to choose the menu – and base your dishes on meals you already feel comfortable with. In order to avoid dinner stresses, try choosing dishes that don’t require much last-minute prep. The longer you can leave things cooking without having to fiddle with the details, the better.
Go simple with the hors d’oeuvres
Hors d’oeuvres can be tricky business. They help set the tone for an evening, but can be a little time-consuming for something that isn’t one of your main courses. You also don’t want your date to fill up before the real dining commences. For this reason, it’s a better idea to go easy on the hors d’oeuvres and choose something simple, like a cheese and herb bread or even finger foods you can cook from frozen.
Presentation, presentation, presentation
You don’t need to buy any fancy new contraptions to present your food with, in fact it can be as simple as using what you’ve already got. Try stacking the different elements of your dish, with colourful veggies on the bottom and meat on top. Add a garnish of spices and herbs to complement the dish, and don’t be afraid to wipe up any excess sauce with some kitchen roll!
The simple gesture of having someone over for a dinner date is impressive in and of itself, so I’ve got total faith that you’ll get the job done. How have you made a dinner date to remember in the past?
*This is a collaborative post