Yes, you really can put a tasty Valentine’s Day meal togerher after getting home from work *gasp* – in fact, we've three menus for you to choose from

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Image: Prep-ahead foolproof meal for two

Photograph: Yuki Sugiura

The whole eating out on Valentine’s Day thing, with over-affectionate fellow diners for company and wilting bouquets, can fill even the most loved-up person with dread.


Never fear, dear readers, your foolproof menu is here – and you can prep ahead too. Bonus. 

Menu 1

To start: lime and pepper crusted beef carpaccio

Carpaccio is a cool, laid-back kind of dish but one that will impress – especially with the punch of lime and pepper. It’s a great starter and you can make it in advance. Simples. 

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lime and pepper crusted beef carpaccio

Photograph: Laura Edwards

The main: Tom Kerridge’s fish pie

Tom Kerridge has done it again with this showstopper of a fish pie. Make the filling and pastry topping in advance and then when you get home from work, bring the two together, pop it in the oven and serve with a salad. Proper lush.

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Lattice-topped fish pie

Photograph: Clare Winfield

The sweet thing: poires belle hélène

Yes, you can make this fruity little number in advance. Otherwise known as poached pears with chocolate sauce, it’s time to indulge in this elegant pud.

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Menu 2: the meat-free option

To start: kale and white bean soup with parmesan toasts

When it comes to saving time on the night, never underestimate the power of soup.

Make it the day before and chill. Reheat before serving and add some lemon juice. The bubbling parmesan toasts are sure to get some “oooohs” too.

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kale and white bean soup with Parmesan toasts

Photograph: Jan Baldwin

The main event: Ottolenghi’s sweet potato galettes

Oh, Ottolenghi. Just when we’re on the hunt for an impressive meat-free meal, you pop up with this little gem.


With a tang of goat’s cheese and soft nuttiness from the sweet potatoes, these galettes, which can be made the day before and reheated (or frozen), are sure to light some fires.

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Sweet potato galettes

Photograph: Jonathan Gregson

The sweet thing: honey cream hearts

Well, it is Valentine’s Day, right? Call us soppy but who wouldn’t want one of these sweet, creamy heart puds served with a scattering of pomegranate seeds and fig wedges. Yum.

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Honey cream hearts

Photograph: Yuki Sugiura

Menu 3: the sharing platter

Not been dating long? A sharing plate will be your friend. It’s all about finger food here …

The nibble: spice roasted chickpeas

Your date has arrived and you’ve popped open a bottle of bubbly. You’ll be needing some spice next: step forward these papika, chilli, coriander and cumin chickpeas.

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The dip: chilli and coriander dip with crudités

Sharing plate rule: you always need a dip. Steer clear of garlicy options and go for this cool yet spicy dip with crudités. Easy peasy.

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chilli and coriander dip with crudités

Photograph: Tara Fisher

The fish: corn fritters with prawn, coconut, peanut and chilli sambal

Yes, these bad boys look fancy, but no sweat: the corn fritters can be made the day before (or frozen) so on the day you only have to deal with the prawns.

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corn fritters with prawn, coconut, peanut and chilli sambal

Photograph: Tara Fisher

The meat: beef sliders with cheddar, red onion pickle and crème fraîche

If you want to show off, these are the mini morsels for you. You can make the burgers, pickle and watercress crème fraîche in advance – but you don’t need to tell anyone that.

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beef sliders with cheddar, red onion, pickle and crème fraiche

Photograph: Kate Whitaker

Give it some heart with these vanilla and chocolate love heart biscuits recipe, Valentine's jellies or Valentine's Day cake recipe