Valentine’s Day 2018: Top tips and recipes for the perfect romantic night in
A team of specialists have pooled their expertise to uncover the perfect date night formula for romantic success this Valentine’s Day.
With the ever increasing cost of eating out, many love birds are staying at home this year.
In order to make it just as special as going out, the team including celebrity matchmaker Eden Blackman, nutritionist Dr Emma Derbyshire and neurobiologist Professor Robert Pickard have created a formula for success on the day.
Along with a five course tasting menu, the experts came up the ideal atmosphere to set the right mood for your night.
Blackman, who is the founder of online dating site Would Like to Meet, said setting the right environment can go a long way to help you and your heart’s desire get ‘in the mood’.
Simple touches such as low lighting and keeping your room at an ambient temperature will help your date feel at ease, as people are more likely to feel romantic if they are alert, warm and relaxed.
Coupled with this environmental understanding, nutritionist Dr Emma Derbyshire and Professor Robert Pickard worked together to develop a five course tasting menu — choosing ingredients with properties to cause a chemical reaction in the body that would evoke sexual and loving sentiments.
Curried lamb skewers are served up to start with pork kebabs and asparagus spears to follow.
A main course of Asian-style beef boodles is served with oyster sauce, which is known to have aphrodisiac properties.
Warm sticky figgy pudding with vanilla ice cream for desert helps reduce feelings of tension, while after dinner chocolates release endorphins in the brain and will make sure that your date is left feeling happy and positive.
A glass of red wine is the ideal beverage to enjoy with dinner, as not only does it flawlessly compliment the menu dishes, but also provides the added bonus of a dose of resveratrol antioxidants.
As Derbyshire outlines: “Pairing red wine with this menu provides a powerful combination which can help to relax you and also boost sex drive,” so sip on a quality glass to help give your evening that extra ‘je ne sais quoi’!
Top tips from love expert Eden Blackman to help create the perfect date atmosphere:
1. It’s all about ambience: from the music you pick to get you in the mood, to the lighting and temperature — creating that perfect setting makes both of you feel at ease. Think instrumental music and low lighting — Professor Robert Pickard agrees, “Evidence suggests that people are more likely to feel romantic if they are alert, warm and relaxed.”
2. Phones off, and we mean the whole night! The most thoughtful compliment you can give your date is your complete attention. Respect their time by being entirely present during the meal
3. A little planning goes a long way: make sure you get the ingredients for your home cooked meal in advance. It is no coincidence that food & love go hand in hand, but there is more to it than just delicious food and an effect on taste buds, there is a science to the perfect meal. Considering ingredients such as red meat can help to provide vital nutrients and minerals that not only benefit your health but also trigger chemical reactions in the body that can contribute to your success.
4. Don’t turn the date into a job interview. Ask questions, but don’t interrogate, the perfect date is all about cultivating a feeling of comfort and ease, it’s about forging a connection not conducting an inquisition. Where you can, talk about subjects that you are both interested in and keep ex’s well away from the conversation.
The Perfect date night — five course tasting menu
1. Curried lamb skewers with yoghurt and mint dip
As Professor Pickard points out “Cholesterol in the lamb meat for this dish is the base molecule from which we construct our sex hormones and the steroid hormones that raise our level of attention and engagement on a date. Consuming yoghurt early in your evening will also ensure that you line your stomach and slow down the absorption of alcohol.” So stay alert and avoid any drunken date disasters with this scrumptious starter!
2. Peachy pork kebabs with asparagus spears
Professor Pickard says: “The nutrients in red meats such as pork support the cardiovascular system and ensure that the blood has its full oxygen-carrying capacity.” Increased blood flow can help you look your best, while also helping to combat date nerves. Preparing the peaches can also help to get you in the mood “Because peach blossoms early, peaches are often considered as symbols of spring and fertility and the naturally curvy shape of peaches, can draw metaphorical connections to the female curves.” Dr Emma Derbyshire adds.
3. Asian-style beef noodles with oyster sauce
Dr Emma Derbyshire extrapolates: “Lean red meat such as beef is a rich source of zinc, which is known to help maintain normal testosterone levels in the blood. Combining beef with oyster sauce, an ingredient famously known to have aphrodisiac properties, can improve dopamine levels which are known to boost libido in men and women.” So this main dish is sure to get you and your date in the romantic mood, and set the scene for romantic success.
4. Warm sticky figgy pudding with vanilla ice cream
Why not end this delightful feast with a calming dessert? As Dr Derbyshire outlines, this sweet treat can be beneficial to you as well as delicious, particularly if the preparation of the meal has been stressful “The taste and alluring smell of vanilla is thought to help relax, warm and captivate. The sweet (heliotropin) smell of vanilla in particular is thought to reduce feelings of anxiety, tension and stress.”
5. And don’t forget those after dinner chocolates!
Chocolates release endorphins in the brain, and will make sure that your date is left feeling happy and positive — the perfect mood to secure a second date!