Cooking for your date rapidly stops being fun if you’re nervous, stressed or over-ambitious. Even if you’re a gun cook, trying to whip up an amazing dinner when you’re under pressure will rapidly make it the worst date night ever.
Instead, try these five easy dishes for two that are simple enough to cook on a weeknight and certain to make your date think you’ve tried harder than you actually have.
- Black Bean Salmon
Mix ¼ cup of apricot jam with ⅛ cup of black bean sauce and spoon over two boneless salmon fillets. Grill for 10 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped spring onions. Done.
If asked, tell your date the dish contains 27 specially-sourced ingredients that you have spent several hours soaking, blanching, peeling and chopping.
- Baked Feta with Thyme
Nigel Slater’s delicious baked cheese dish says “smart, sophisticated urban gourmet”, rather than the possibly more accurate “couldn’t be bothered making anything that involved more than five minutes prep time”.
Cut a 200g chunk of feta into two slices and put each one a piece of kitchen foil. Drizzle over one tablespoon of olive oil and scatter over the leaves from a couple of sprigs of thyme. Bake at 200°C/425°F for 7-10 minutes or until the cheese is warm and soft and tinged with colour. Serve with crusty bread and a tomato and cucumber salad.
- Sandwich press eggplant
What could be romantic than spending ages frying slices of eggplant in hot oil, filling the kitchen with smoky fumes and splattering your favourite shirt with hot oil? Almost anything, which is why the next time you cook eggplant it should be in a sandwich press.
Slice eggplant widthwise or lengthwise, brush lightly with olive oil on both sides and biff it in the sandwich press. Close the lid and cook till lightly browned. Arrange the eggplant on warm plates with a dollop of bought pesto.
- Bacon and egg salad
This Nigella Lawson recipe couldn’t be easier. Fry half a dozen chopped-up slices of bacon in a teaspoon of garlic oil. Remove bacon, add 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, whisk, then add four teaspoons of cider vinegar and a dash of Worcester sauce and whisk again. Mix dressing, bacon and several quartered soft-boiled eggs into a bowlful of salad leaves.
It must be said that Nigella is a woman who really likes her bacon – check out her bacon brownies recipe.
- Mango, lime and toasted coconut
There’s a reason the mango is in the Kama Sutra.
To slice a mango, use a small knife to cut straight down on either side of the seed to create two mango “cheeks”. On each cheek, make long cuts lengthwise and then widthwise without cutting the skin. Turn each cheek inside out and use your knife to gently prise out the cubes of mango.
Arrange the cubes on a shared plate, squeeze a lime over the fruit, and scatter with a handful of toasted long-thread coconut. Eat with forks in bed.