Choosing a menu for a first date can be challenging; you want to impress, but you don’t want to challenge yourself to the point it has potential to be a complete disaster. Here we have five dishes; they are easy to prepare, require little cooking time, and look great on the plate. And your date will definitely love them…

Homemade Pizza

The stigma that pizza is unsophisticated and “lazy” might be more relevant at your local kebab place, but homemade pizza shows elegance and effort. It won’t drip with grease, and regardless of the opinions of others, pizza can be eaten with a knife and fork; especially if it’s homemade. The best part about making a pizza? You can share one big one, or make two smaller ones; and make sure you include their favourite toppings. 

You will need:

1/4 active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour
1-1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon of Italian mixed herbs

2 cups grated mozzarella
Toppings of your choice
Tomato Puree

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan). In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, flour, herbs, and salt. Gradually add the warm water until you have a soft elastic-like dough. On a clean, floured surface, knead for approximately 5 minutes before rolling out into the desired base shape. Using a spoon, carefully spread out the tomato puree over your pizza base leaving enough room around the edges for the crust. On top, sprinkle the mozzarella (and any other cheese you wish to use) before placing your desired toppings on top.

Place your pizza in the oven for approximately 30 – 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. To really impress, place a few basil leaves on top for extra presentation points. Serve with a glass of their favourite wine.

Spaghetti Bolognese 

A classic first date dish that can be beautifully presented and originates from one of the most romantic countries in the world. Italy is a country renowned for its fantastic dishes, and you can bring the culture and flavour of it straight to your kitchen with this simple bolognese recipe…

You will need:

250g minced beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon Italian herbs and spices
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of baby mushroom, chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 beef stock cube

300g spaghetti
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
Basil leaves

Method:

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil before adding the diced onion, chopped mushrooms and the broken up minced beef. Once the meat is cooked, gradually add the chopped tomatoes and stir. Add the garlic, herbs, salt, and beef stock cube, stir, and then leave to simmer. Meanwhile, place your spaghetti into another boiling saucepan of water. Once cooked, drain and then serve onto plates. Leave a gap in the middle of the spaghetti, and serve up the mince in the middle.

Sprinkle over your parmesan cheese, and garnish with a couple of basil leaves. We recommend serving with some crispy garlic bread!

Spicy Fajitas

If you love finger food and something a little less informal but tasty, Mexican fajitas are a great way to heat things up. You and your date can assemble your fajitas together, and you can include an array of sauces and dips to really give the illusion of extensive presentation. And they are surprisingly easy to make…

You will need:

6 – 8 soft white tortillas
300g chicken breast, sliced
2 large red and yellow peppers, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
30g fajita seasoning mix (Smoky Bacon or Roasted Tomato is our favourite)

Lettuce, sliced
Grated mature cheddar
Sour cream
Guacamole
Cucumber, sliced
(And any other fillings you’d like to include)

Method:

In a large pan, cook the sliced chicken followed by the sliced onion and peppers. Once cooked through, add the seasoning mix and cook for a further few minutes. In a microwave, heat the tortillas for around 30 seconds. Keep the fajita mix heated in a dish above a tealight table warmer. Place desired fillings prepared in individual dishes so guests can pick and choose what goes inside their fajitas. There’s bonus points if you include some classic loaded nachos!

Chicken Stir Fry

Stir fry is loved by everybody, and it’s not too bad for you either! It’s a rather elegant meal that’s full of unique flavours and always looks rather fancy on a plate. And it couldn’t be any easier to prepare…

You will need:

300g chicken breast, diced
380g veg of your choice, sliced
350g medium egg noodles
300g Black Bean stir fry sauce
Spring onion, chopped

Method:

In a wok, cook your diced chicken with a little salt and pepper seasoning. In a saucepan, place your noodles into boiling water and boil until soft. Add your prepared vegetables to the cooked chicken, before transferring the soft noodles to the wok. Cook on medium heat until the veg is soft before slowly adding your black bean sauce. Leave to simmer for a few minutes before serving up. Garnish with the chopped spring onion and enjoy!

Grilled Meat and Greens

If you think about it, grilled meats and greens just screams class. Some crunchy vegetables, particularly green beans and broccoli, combined with a juicy grilled chicken breast, and maybe a few fresh baby potatoes… It’s a sophisticated dish that gives you the freedom to try different combinations, not to mention it is nutritionally balanced. 

Whilst there are many meats to pick from and countless ways to prepare them, grilling leaves you with those fancy grill marks. Alternatively, if you want to spend more money, you can swap your grilled chicken for a succulent steak; red meat and a glass of red wine compliment eachother wonderfully. As for your vegetables, boiled, steamed, or even fried with some exotic seasoning are your best options. To bulk up the meal, it’s a good idea to introduce a carb based side possibly baby potatoes, or maybe even baked sweet potato wedges. So feel free to experiment with such dish, and know whatever you choose, your date is bound to absolutely love it.

TIP: a glass of bubbly makes any meal that little more elegant.

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