Belfast Telegraph

The Perfect Date Night In

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Valentine’s Day is often cited as the most romantic time of the year but we believe the joy and gratitude that surrounds the festive season sets the ideal scene for romance.

With this in mind and in association with Lidl we lay out the seven lucky essentials to wrap up the perfect date night in this Christmas….

1) Feeling toasty

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Wind down after a hectic few days and toast to the new year with a flute of Lidl's Prosecco DOC Spumante Brut (£11.99). A bottle of this delicious low cost bubbly is best enjoyed snuggled up in front of the fire watching your date's favourite Christmas movie. And for once, the stuff on the inside is as impressive as the packaging.

2) Bottoms up

While doing the decor turn the heat up with an Irish Coffee, the perfect festive drink for creating your winter wonderland.

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While doing the decor turn the heat up with an Irish Coffee, the perfect festive drink for creating your winter wonderland.

Legend has it that the Irish Coffee was founded at Shannon Airport in the early 1940s when a creative chef sought a tasty way to heat up delayed passengers. The recipe has pretty much stayed the same since then.

You’ll need 1 cup of piping hot black coffee, two teaspoons of brown sugar (some prefer without), one shot of Irish Whiskey (Lidl’s Dundalgan three-year-old Whiskey is an option, approx £15.49) and double cream, slightly whipped.

The most complicated aspect of making the perfect IC is the consistency of the cream. You want it pourable but not too runny. Ideally your glass will be tall, with a stem. Heat the cup up with warm water before pouring the coffee. Add the sugar and mix until dissolved. Liven your coffee up with a shot of whiskey and complete with whipped (but still pourable) cream. Ideally you should slowly pour the cream over the back of a dessert spoon to ensure it creates the perfect head.

For a non-alcoholic coffee, consider a brandy or rum flavouring.

3) Mini midnight feast

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Party food nibbles are the perfect date night choice following a few days of Christmas over-indulgence.

Pigs In Blankets are everybody's Christmas favourite, so why only enjoy them one day in the year? Make the most of Lidl's deal on party food (2 for £3.50 - https://www.lidl-ni.co.uk/en/special-offers) and follow your little piggies with some decadent dessert. Lidl's Mini Melt In The Middle Puddings, which are currently 2 for £3.50, have a rich sponge with a runny Belgian chocolate centre - the perfect accompaniment to that Irish Coffee or a glass of red.

4) Feed the love

Aphrodisiac foods have been well documented over the years for their passion-inducing qualities. The makeup of some of our favourite dishes can do everything from promoting wellbeing to increasing blood flow to the right places and boosting energy, testosterone and oestrogen levels.

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Among the top love-factory foods are asparagus and salmon and Lidl’s Smoked Salmon and Asparagus with Lemon Cream recipe is just the ticket.

Asparagus will boost the blood flow while salmon with its high omega 3 properties has been labelled a ‘sexual powerhouse’. A great source of protein, salmon not only gives your stamina a lift but those fatty acids will boost serotonin levels in the brain and its A, D and B vits, as well as calcium, are necessary for giving the all-important libido lift!

https://recipes.lidl-ni.co.uk/Recipes/Smoked-Salmon-and-Asparagus-Linguine-with-Lemon-Cream

You’ll need: 300g of linguine, 1 tbsp of olive oil, 10 whole asparagus spears, 95g of smoked salmon, 1 lemon (zest and juice), 2 spring onions (finely chopped), a handful of chives and 150ml of cream.

Cooking time: 20 Min.

  1. Cook the linguine for 10 mins or following pack instructions until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a wok or large frying pan on high heat and briefly fry the asparagus to soften it, add the cream and allow to come to the boil. Boil for 3 minutes and then remove from heat.
  3. Drain the linguine, reserving a little of the water, then tip into the wok and, using 2 wooden spoons, toss in the cream mixture until well mixed. Add the salmon, lemon zest and spring onions, then toss again. Season and add lemon juice to taste.
  4. Garnish with chives and lemon slices, with a generous sprinkle of cracked black pepper.

5) Small screen love story

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Once the tree’s up and the food is served, why not cosy up on the sofa to a romantic classic or modern day box office hit. Cinematic charm is available by the bucket load.

Our top five rose-mantic choices for the festive season are:

  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Love Actually
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • You’ve Got Mail
  • The Holiday

If one half of your romantic night in has a bit of aversion to classic love stories then why not opt for a festive favourite to complete the night. We heart Home Alone (1 & 2), Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and It’s a Wonderful Life. Netflix’ new festive movie, The Christmas Chronicles, is a crackin’ holiday adventure movie from the producer of Home Alone and Harry Potter - what could go wrong? Well nothing, this feature film is destined to be a classic and Santa Claus (played by Kurt Russell) is quite possibly the most attractive St Nick we might have seen yet!

6) Festive fill-up

For true indulgence Lidl’s Deluxe range this Christmas will create the perfect platter for nestling down to some TV drama.

From Smoked and Caramelised Assorted Nuts (£2.99) to Deluxe Hand Cooked Crisps Assorted in assorted flavours (99p) nibbling just got classy.

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If you’re a cheese lover, Lidl’s Soft Blue Roquefort to Wensleydale with Cranberry and the classic cheese truckles (100g) from 99p are the perfect fix. Couple with Lidl’s Deluxe Flavoured Cracker Assortment (£1.99) and top with Deluxe Savoury Conserves (from 99p). They come in Gooseberry and Champagne, Redcurrant Jelly and Balsamic Preserve flavours.

Quick fix oven heated treats are also in the offering. From Vegetable Parcels (£1.99) to Onion Rings (£1.99) and Prawn Rings (£3.99) there’s a feast that awaits.

7) The icing on the cake

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No date night is complete without some sumptuous chocolate. Full of pheylethylamine which acts as a stimulant, you an ensure your night will end well! Try the Deluxe Individual Dessert Selection (£2.99) - a chocolatey individually packed foursome of sweetness.

Visit https://www.lidl-ni.co.uk/en/christmas.htm for more inspiration for your holiday season.

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