There’s no need to dine at an expensive restaurant to feel that love is in the air this Friday. Set the mood yourself and treat your loved one to a deliciously romantic meal at home with these tips and recipes.

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t necessarily mean a dent in your bank account. The purpose of the evening is to show your loved one an extra bit of attention and affection – so why not do so at home? With the right mood, menu and beverages, create your own Valentine’s romance at home.

Setting the mood:

First step – make sure you have an empty house for the evening. Hire a babysitteror call in a favour with a family member for night.

Once you have the house to yourself, it’s time to set the mood. Create a setting on the balcony, in the dining room or in the garden. A small table can be more intimate. Set the table delicately, add some fresh flowers from the garden if possible, as well as some candles for subdued lighting.

Keep your partner’s music taste in mind and subtlety pick some background music.

Don’t forget to dress to impress. For ladies, wear something carefree and colourful – maybe a dress you know he particularly likes. For men, a nice button-down shirt, and a little cologne.

Leave your mobile in another area of the house, to avoid distraction.

Keep the conversation fun and light. Forget about work, the kids and the mortgage for the night. Instead, reminisce on memories, chat about something topical or tell them about a funny video you may have watched.

Selecting the menu:

First and foremost, know the appetites of your loved one. Consider what foods they love, as well as their potential allergies.

Aphrodisiac foods are renowned to ignite romance. Some have been scientifically proven to increase mood, attraction and fertility. Honey, for example, is the ultimate aphrodisiac; enhancing both male and female hormones. Incorporate some of these aphrodisiacs into your menu plan.

Plan for a three-course menu, using easy and quick recipes:

Entrée – Pick an entrée to suit the palate of the main meal.

Main – A seafood dish makes a romantic treat

Dessert – Finish the meal with a sharable and sensual dessert

Inviting your partner to cook with you can go one of two ways – it can be either a sensual, or stressful experience. Judge from previous experience in the kitchen. Flirting while cooking is an option, or chat with your partner while you let them relax and cook the meal.

Selecting the beverages:

Enjoy your meal with a delicious cocktail or glass of champagne.

Our wine guru Andrew Corrigan has listed some of the best champagne buys available, at a reasonable price.

Dilmah have also suggested a few Valentine’s Day cocktail recipes, featured here on bmag:

  • Sweet Valentine Martini
  • Honey Bunny
  • Izi Izi Martini

Your loved one will appreciate the thought and effort of making Valentine’s Day memorable from the comfort of your own home – rather than simply making a reservation.