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Dinner under the stars

This Valentine’s Day, cook your loved one a meal under the stars. Heading out for an expensive meal this Valentine’s Day? You can still wow your loved one with a super special candlelit dinner under the stars – and we’re here to tell you how. What’s better than dining alfresco to really set the mood? While we enjoy the warmer weather in the UK, we tend to just call winter a write off. But this Valentine’s Day, try cooking over a barbeque or fire pit grill while you and your partner snuggle up under a blanket and look up at the stars. (Although if it gets too cold, get an infrared heater to help out a bit!) The 123v Cupids have come up with a few suggestions for things you can cook under the stars to impress your beau, making sure that this is a Valentine’s Day to remember.    What to have for a main Valentine’s Day is always a more special meal, and fish always seems to come up as the go-to choice for this. Luckily, fish works exceptionally well on a barbeque, no matter the time of year. Jamie Oliver has a fantastic recipe for a really impressive barbecued trout in newspaper. Once unwrapped, it looks amazing. Don’t be put off by the fact it’s in newspaper, your companion for the night will appreciate it all the same!   The trout takes around 45 minutes to cook, but the preparation is quite easy – and you can spend that 45 minutes reminiscing about your first date and holding hands. If you’re looking for something that requires slightly less effort than the trout, lemon butter grilled lobster tails can be a quick win. They take about five minutes prep and ten minutes to cook, meaning it won’t be long until you are eating, leaving more time for snuggling up under a blanket together. Jean from What Great-Grandma Ate has a fantastic recipe for them!   If you’re not in the mood for fish, don’t panic! Instead, nip down to your local butchers and get the beef tenderloin you’ll need for these amazing grilled beef skewers, topped with amazing smoky chimichurri. Feasting At Home first put us on to this recipe, and we’re glad we found it! If you do go for the skewers, make sure you marinade the meat the day before to really give the flavours time to soak in to the meat. As with most beef steak, it’ll pair really well with a nice Malbec – and feel free to say that to your date to impress them, we won’t tell them we told you. What about sides? Not sure what to pair with your mouth watering delicious mains? We’ve got some ideas for you here, all paired to perfection with our choice of mains. One thing that goes really well with all three dishes is grilled asparagus. This grilled asparagus with balsamic honey-Dijon vinaigrette recipe from Simply Scratch works well, as the honey-Dijon really compliments the flavours of all three mains. If you’re not a fan of asparagus, you can replace them with tender-stem broccoli and the recipe still works really well.   Courgette also works really well with these dishes. But instead of cutting it width ways, try going lengthways instead. This creates lovely thick strips of courgette which will be easier to manage on the barbeque. Give them a couple of minutes each side until they’re no longer crunchy and serve as a lovely base for any of the three dishes.   If you want to show off a bit, you can try glazing the courgette in a little bit of balsamic vinegar before you grill it to give it a real distinctive taste that contrasts well with the mains. To Finish To top off your romantic fireside dinner for two, it has to be s'mores. The classic combination of either graham crackers or cookies, along with melted marshmallow and chocolate is an amazing dessert. Plus, you get to stare into each other’s eyes while you roast the marshmallows over the fire.   If you’re looking to try a new take on s'mores and really impress your date, you can always mix it up a bit. A spread of cherry jam or orange marmalade works well once spread over the crackers to provide a fruity flavour.   Alternatively, try using dark chocolate of at least 70 percent cocoa solids, along with a slither of brie and some peach slices, to create a slightly more savoury dessert.   And to Drink? Champagne is the obvious choice for Valentine’s Day – but make sure you also have an ice bucket to hand to pop it in too. Champagne always works well with fish, but if you are having the beef skewers, try to find a nice Argentinian red to pair with it. The red really helps enrich the flavours of the meat and pairs very well, and gives you a nice warm feeling whilst helping you brave the English weather.   If you’re looking to step your game up, why not try creating your own ice cooler? Jamie Oliver has a great method on how to create your own, and they’re sure to impress your date. Just don’t try it on the bottle of red. If you tried out any of the recipes for Valentine’s Day, let us know! If not, how did you make it a Valentine’s Day to remember?