Valentine's Day recipes - fig salad with cheese and ham

Romance is a dish best prepared in advance. Nothing spoils the mood more than the fire alarm going off, so to keep kitchen panics to a minimum we’ve come up with 10 beautiful recipes that you can prepare before your date arrives.

Cook some of these up, and all that’s left to do is practise your lines and light the candles.

10. Things should always start with a bit of foreplay, and it’s not a celebration without some bubbly. Combine the two with this amazing Champagne (or Prosecco!) and pomegranate cocktail. It’s even red, so it’ll go nicely next to some roses.

9. Another way to get off to a good start is with a present, and there’s no sweeter gift than homemade chocolate truffles, with just a pinch of chilli to spice things up.

8. You can’t do a Valentine’s recipe round-up without including oysters. Supposed aphrodisiac effects aside, oysters are a fun, hands-on starter that will break the ice. If you can get some fresh ones from a fishmonger there’s no finer entrée –  unless your date has a shellfish allergy, in which case it might be more of a petit four.

7. If seafood isn’t your date’s favourite, try this sexy, super-simple salad. You can whip it up in advance and just serve to share. It’s sweet, salty, smooth and addictive.

6. Moving on to the main course, I’m a big believer in “if you can’t say it yourself, say it with steak”. People know love when they see it.

5. If you’re more of a classic romantic, or simply want to re-enact the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp, this gorgeous prawn and rocket pasta is perfect. My only advice would be to learn how to eat spaghetti without spraying sauce everywhere – it’s all in the twizzle and spoon action.

4. Vegetarians need to be loved too, so if you or your date don’t eat meat, try this delicious squash ravioli. It’s tastes as beautiful as it looks and can be prepared in advance then cooked when you’re ready.

3. There’s nothing more romantic than one dessert and two spoons. Jamie’s Mum’s gorgeous chocolate pudding is mind-blowing and made for sharing.

2. If I ever had to describe a plate of food as sexy, it would be this one – a gorgeous green tea and vanilla panna cotta that melts on the tongue and merges with velvety chocolate sauce.

1. Of course, if the night goes well you’re going to have to think about breakfast too, so look no further than smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. Quick, delicious and just a little bit decadent.