https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz every platter tells a story Sun, 09 Jun 2019 19:40:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 https://i0.wp.com/www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/VB_Podcast_200x200_1-e1530693755739.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz 32 32 83502621 Pumpkin Kumara Soup https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/pumpkin-kumara-soup/ https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/pumpkin-kumara-soup/#respond Wed, 05 Jun 2019 02:47:18 +0000 https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/?p=7470 This pumpkin kumara soup is a favourite in the Fearless Kitchen cookbook and in our home. Everyone I serve it to totally loves it. For those who find it a little spicy just taste as you go and add in more vegetables and coconut milk. For a spicier version you can simply add extra chilli … Continue reading Pumpkin Kumara Soup

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This pumpkin kumara soup is a favourite in the Fearless Kitchen cookbook and in our home. Everyone I serve it to totally loves it. For those who find it a little spicy just taste as you go and add in more vegetables and coconut milk. For a spicier version you can simply add extra chilli to your paste at the start. Freeze without the coconut milk and just add in as you reheat.

Pumpkin, Kumara and Coconut Soup

I have cooked and sold litres of this soup each year from the Smeg Kitchen at the Auckland Home Show. I have promised many happy customers that I would include the recipe in a cookbook one day. This soup is heart- warming, spicy and moreish.

(GF and V if no fish sauce used) Serves 4–8

  • 6 –7 kaffir lime leaves (or zest of 2 limes)
  • 3 red chillies (deseeded)
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped 1)
  • x 5cm piece ginger (peeled and)
  • roughly chopped
  • 3 lemongrass stems (trimmed and roughly chopped)
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • a handful of fresh coriander
  • 2 Tbsp avocado and lemon zest oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 5 shallots (sliced)
  • 1 butternut pumpkin (cut into 1cm dice)
  • 2 red kumara (cut into 1cm dice)
  • 1.5 L chicken or vegetable stock (heated)
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce (plus extra to season)
  • 2 x 400ml tins coconut milk juice of
  • 1 –2 limes crispy shallots (to garnish chilli, chopped, to garnish)
  • fresh coriander leaves (to garnish)
  1. Pop the lime leaves, chillies, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and a pinch of sea salt and pepper just to taste into a blender, along with a handful of coriander (saving some for your garnish). Purée to combine, and create a paste by adding in the oil and continuing to blend to achieve a thick but liquid paste.
  2. Heat a large, heavy-based soup pan on the stove, and add the aromatic paste, along with the five-spice, cumin and curry powder. Cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously, and then add the shallots, and cook out on a low heat for around 5 minutes.
  3. Add the pumpkin and kumara, and mix the vegetables to coat with the paste. Add in the hot stock, and simmer your soup for 20 minutes until the vegetables are lovely and tender.
  4. Add in the fish sauce, then add the coconut milk, and check the seasoning.
  5. Remember the fish sauce, lime juice and chilli will add zing to your dish, so careful with the salt and pepper — add to taste until you are happy. If you prefer fish sauce, you can add in extra, as preferred.
  6. Purée the soup, or leave it chunky and/or add rice and noodles to have a full meal in a bowl. Add lime juice to taste, and stir through the soup. Top with crispy shallots mixed with chopped chilli, and fresh coriander.

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Homemade Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/homemade-roasted-garlic-mayonnaise/ https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/homemade-roasted-garlic-mayonnaise/#respond Fri, 03 May 2019 00:49:51 +0000 https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/?p=7387 Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise 5 cloves garlic 3 large egg yolks 2 cups light olive oil 1 –2 tsp fresh lemon juice sea salt and cracked pepper (to taste) To roast the garlic, heat the oven to 200oC. Place the cloves in a little tinfoil parcel. Roast the garlic for about 20 minutes, until the cloves … Continue reading Homemade Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise

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Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups light olive oil
  • 1 –2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and cracked pepper (to taste)
  1. To roast the garlic, heat the oven to 200oC.
  2. Place the cloves in a little tinfoil parcel.
  3. Roast the garlic for about 20 minutes, until the cloves are tender.
  4. Remove the papery skin and mash the cloves, and set aside.
  5. To make a mayonnaise, whisk the egg yolks well in a mixing bowl.
  6. Add half of the olive oil, drop by drop, whisking constantly.
  7. Add the remaining olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Add 1 tsp of the lemon juice and the mashed garlic cloves to the mayonnaise, and whisk to combine.
  8. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Add more lemon juice as desired.

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Sandwiches: the classic chicken sandwich https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/sandwiches/ https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/sandwiches/#respond Fri, 03 May 2019 00:21:25 +0000 https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/?p=7383 Let’s talk sandwiches. School Sandwich I gave up on sandwiches for a while – I had lived on Vegemite and Kraft cheese sandwiches at school for so long. It was the ultimate school lunchbox go to sandwich in Australia in the late 70’s.  I am sure I thought that I was cool having the cheese … Continue reading Sandwiches: the classic chicken sandwich

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Let’s talk sandwiches.

School Sandwich

I gave up on sandwiches for a while – I had lived on Vegemite and Kraft cheese sandwiches at school for so long. It was the ultimate school lunchbox go to sandwich in Australia in the late 70’s.  I am sure I thought that I was cool having the cheese in there. I was even more cool when I switched to Vitabix crackers and could squeeze the Vegemite and butter through the holes and create Vegemite worms.

London Sandwich Bars

Thankfully though, I eventually made it to London in the 80s and discovered the sandwich bar. I was astounded, not only at the queues of folk lining up for what I considered a commonplace lunch option, but also at the choice of fillings. Close to my workplace there was a bar which opened mid morning and closed around 3pm. It was perpetually full with a snaking of punters down the road too. The counter staff were like robots. They pinched at tomato, spooned the mayo and piled in the tuna. The options were innumerable and I would watch in awe.

Ploughman’s lunch

Around the same time I discovered the ploughman’s lunch. It was my absolute favourite British pub meal. I loved visiting country pubs on the weekends and ordering a plate with a hunk of cheese, bread and chutney. Whilst others tackled mountains of fish and chips, I would savour the salty sharpness of the cheese and fresh white crusty bread. I have to admit that there is no such thing as a good Ploughman’s outside of the UK. Well – not that I have found anyway.

When is a sandwich a good option

So, the sandwich became bigger than just Vegemite and cheese. Yet, iI have only just recently revisited it. Our customers have been requesting sandwiches as a part of our platter options. It started with an afternoon tea event at an historic house. They sold out of the finger sandwiches within an hour and noted to order double for next year.

Then Niki Bezzant and I held a charity afternoon tea for Garden to Table and our guests were happily munching on the club sandwiches. We had comments such as, “it’s hard to get a good sandwich nowadays.”

This week I have made sandwiches every day for morning tea platters. Infact, I have come to know the bakers at our local bakery extremely well. I have been rocking up at 6am to collect the fresh baked sandwich loaves each day. (Aside: Did you know that the bakers tend to work shifts from 11.30pm through to 7.30am? )

Anyway, back to the sandwich. I thought it would be good to give you an idea for a classic chicken sandwich. Always popular, this is a sandwich that will appeal to most (unless your friends are vegan) and can be created and presented in a myriad of variations.

Ideally, make your own mayonnaise for your sandwiches because it tastes so much better. If not, then at least buy a really decent ‘real’ mayonnaise product from the store.

Classic Chicken Sandwich

A chicken sandwich ideal for a platter or afternoon offering. Accompany with a glass of bubbles or a cup of tea

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 shallot (diced)
  • 1/4 cup oregano (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken.
  • 1 fistful watercress
  • 3-4 cornichons (sliced )
  1. Mix together the shallot, oregano, mustard and chicken. Bind together with the mayonnaise

  2. Sandwich the chicken filling into two slices of freshly baked bread adding the watercress and sliced cornichons as per personal taste.

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Mediterranean Dip: Whipped Feta with charred tomatoes https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/mediterranean-dip-whipped-feta/ https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/mediterranean-dip-whipped-feta/#respond Mon, 22 Apr 2019 21:44:08 +0000 https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/?p=7360 Over the weekend I tried a lovely homemade spinach and feta dip at my neighbours. This inspired me to create my own mediterranean whipped feta dip. I then found a NY times whipped feta recipe which further inspired me.  This is my take on Sarah Jampel’s published recipe though I have tweaked it and converted … Continue reading Mediterranean Dip: Whipped Feta with charred tomatoes

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Over the weekend I tried a lovely homemade spinach and feta dip at my neighbours. This inspired me to create my own mediterranean whipped feta dip. I then found a NY times whipped feta recipe which further inspired me.  This is my take on Sarah Jampel’s published recipe though I have tweaked it and converted it to metric. Her original is here.

Let’s get started on whipped feta dip

This dip was so simple to make. It tasted beautiful and luscious. It is a creamy lightness of whisked cheeses with the hints of paprika, lemon and spring onion.

Whipped Feta dip ingredients

I started by piling sliced spring onions, lemon and olive oil into a bowl and tossing them to cover in oil. I did the same with the tomatoes and grilled them all on one long tray.

Char ingredients

Grilling accompaniments for whipped feta

I charred everything under the grill and forced myself to stay close. This was not the time to multitask as I needed to turn ingredients after 4-5 minutes and then remove things as they blackened. I may have left a couple of lemon slices a little too late!

I am lucky and own a Thermomix so everything can go straight in. See the notes in my recipe for how I utilised the Thermomix to get a gorgeous creamy finish on the dip.Thermomix Ingredients

Serving our whipped feta

Then I piled the whipped deliciousness into a large bowl (it made about 2 + cups) and topped with the charred spring onions and tomatoes. This is a large amount of dip so you may want to halve it. If you need to keep it then make sure you bring it back to room temperature before serving. You can also re-whip it if you like and then add topping on as required.

I ended up sitting down to eat some on toast immediately after this shot was taken. And boy what a great start to my day.

toast and whipped feta

  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • ½ lemon (sliced thinly)
  • 1 bunch spring onions (trimmed and halved crosswise)
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 400 grams feta cheese (diced)
  • 200 grams cream cheese (smooth and spreadable)
  • cracked black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  1. Heat the grill and line a baking sheet with baking paper or foil.

  2. In a medium bowl, toss together the lemon slices, spring onions and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place on baking sheet. Now toss the cherry tomatoes in the oil and add to the baking sheet. Grill until blackened, tossing occasionally. Allow around 7 to 9 minutes for the spring onions and about another 3-4 minutes for the lemon slices and cherry tomatoes. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly.

  3. In a food processor or thermomix, add the feta, cream cheese, 1/3 cup olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper, smoked paprika and hot water. Purée until very smooth, then add almost all of the spring onions. Pulse to combine, leaving some chunky scallion pieces. Taste for lemon, adjusting as needed.
  4. Transfer to a bowl, then garnish with charred lemon slices, charred cherry tomatoes, black pepper and a drizzle of honey.

If using a Thermomix. Puree the ingredients on #7 for 20 seconds. Insert the butterfly whisk and whisk on #3 for an extra 20 seconds to lighten and truly whip this dip.

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Anzac Day: The ultimate Anzac cookie ice-cream sandwich https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/anzac-day-the-ultimate-anzac-cookie-ice-cream-sandwich/ https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/anzac-day-the-ultimate-anzac-cookie-ice-cream-sandwich/#respond Mon, 22 Apr 2019 05:14:02 +0000 https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/?p=7340 I began mucking around today with ideas for Anzac Day baking. You shouldn’t steer to far from the delicious chewiness that is the traditional ANZAC cookie. I did however become inspired by the thought of an Anzac cookie ice-cream sandwich. This may have been due to the tub of Kapiti camomile and salted honey ice-cream … Continue reading Anzac Day: The ultimate Anzac cookie ice-cream sandwich

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I began mucking around today with ideas for Anzac Day baking.

ANZAC cookie Ingredients

You shouldn’t steer to far from the delicious chewiness that is the traditional ANZAC cookie. I did however become inspired by the thought of an Anzac cookie ice-cream sandwich. This may have been due to the tub of Kapiti camomile and salted honey ice-cream sitting in my freezer calling to be used. The rainy weather meant I could focus on something that may require a time commitment too.

Cooling ANZAC cookies

So here is the short-take solution to creating a batch of these at home. It is fiddly but not impossible. I tried a couple of different ways to get these to work easily. I’m sharing the method I found most simple in the end.

Cutting rounds of ice-cream

The teens hanging around my kitchen were groaning about how long I was taking! In their opinion it was all edible. So, if you are not worried about drips of ice-cream or slightly sticky cookies then you can pretty much just sandwich the ice-cream into two cookies at once. Just squash and freeze them from that step. I just found it neater to take a little effort and add the lid step separately.

Topping cookies with ice-cream

You can use which ever ice-cream you like. Vanilla would be perfect and you can always add an extra swirl of golden syrup through it anyway!

We ate a few of these and have left the rest in the freezer for our actual Anzac Day celebrations. Just thought I may as well get this out there today so you guys have a chance to stock up on ingredients 🙂

Ice-cream sandwich

 

ANZAC icecream sandwich

Make chewy ANZAC cookies and fill them with your favourite ice-cream for a delicious dessert this Anzac Day

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 140 g butter (diced)
  • 2 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Grease and line two baking trays.
  3. Mix together the oats, flour and sugar in a bowl.
  4. Melt the butter and golden syrup together, add bicarbonate of soda dissolved in the hot water. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Roll into small balls and place on the prepared trays. Use a fork to gently flatter the top. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden.
  6. Allow to cool and crisp on tray.

Assembling the ice cream sandwich:

  1. Soften your icecream and use a spatula to spread onto a baking tray.
  2. Prepare some baking paper onto a tray and place several of the biscuits top down onto the paper. These will form ½ of your sandwich.
  3. Use a round cookie cutter that is roughly the size of the biscuits and press into the ice cream. Lift it out using a flexible spatula to lift the entire cookie cutter with the ice cream in tact. Skim off any excess ice cream with a knife.
  4. Push the ice cream out of the cookie cutter and onto the biscuit. Repeat with the other biscuit lids you have assembled. Freeze these for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the cookies and icecream rounds from the freezer.
  6. Place another biscuit on top and press down just slightly.
  7. Place into the freezer for 1-2 hours to set completely.
  8. Remove from the freezer and drizzle with golden syrup and enjoy!

Tip: if you wish to keep these for longer then once frozen, wrap them individually in glad wrap or pop them into a sealable container and keep for when required.

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Top Easter Platter and Sharing Ideas https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/top-easter-platter-and-sharing-ideas/ https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/top-easter-platter-and-sharing-ideas/#respond Mon, 15 Apr 2019 01:47:36 +0000 https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/?p=7287 Easter Sharing Ideas Easter is a wonderful food occasion whether you are heading into Spring or heading into Autumn. It is a family occasion but if you are far away from family, create your own. Neighbours, orphans, friends, friends of your children. Have them over and utilise these platter and sharing hacks to create spreads … Continue reading Top Easter Platter and Sharing Ideas

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Easter Sharing Ideas

Easter is a wonderful food occasion whether you are heading into Spring or heading into Autumn.

It is a family occasion but if you are far away from family, create your own. Neighbours, orphans, friends, friends of your children. Have them over and utilise these platter and sharing hacks to create spreads of food to feed the masses

morning tea

Create a snack platter the envy of your friends and family who are far away.

Cook up a batch of mini cupcakes and ice them with the #1M tip for a gorgeous floral pattern. Find our easy-as icing recipe here.

Make up a batch of egg, cream cheese and parsley sammies and pile onto an oval platter with the cupcakes around the perimeter. Decorate with fresh flowers and some yummy mini eggs for fun.

main course

It is a festive time so be festive. We created this little salmon idea with a papaya or tamarillo salsa because it is both delicious and looks gorgeous. The wonderful benefit of a sharing plate is that you do not need to serve a wedge of salmon per person. Add to the meal with rice, fresh vegetables or a gorgeous colourful salad and some crusty bread. Find the salmon and salsa recipe here

hot cross bun pudding

If you feel like turning the already delicious Hot X Bun into something more decadent, or end up with left overs after Friday then this pudding is totally divine. We used a recipe from Farro Fresh here in Auckland but had a little play with it. See our version here.

 

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Steamed Salmon with Fruit Salsa https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/steamed-salmon/ https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/steamed-salmon/#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2019 01:45:52 +0000 https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/?p=7310 Steamed Salmon A lush sharing dish for a special occasion Salmon 2 portions salmon, pin-boned 2 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil 2 tsp sea salt Salsa 1 Tamarillo or 1/2 small papaya 1/4 red onion Small fist full of coriander Dash of honey or maple syrup Dash of avocado and lime oil – or … Continue reading Steamed Salmon with Fruit Salsa

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Steamed Salmon

A lush sharing dish for a special occasion

Salmon

  • 2 portions salmon, pin-boned
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Salsa

  • 1 Tamarillo or 1/2 small papaya
  • 1/4 red onion
  • Small fist full of coriander
  • Dash of honey or maple syrup
  • Dash of avocado and lime oil – or Olive Oil and a squeeze of lime.

Salmon

  1. Ensure your salmon is bone free.

    Drizzle with oil and sprinkle salt all over.

    Place in a steam oven for 8-10 minutes and allow to cook to your liking. 

    Use your fingers to gently pull apart to serve.

Salsa

  1. Chop and combine ingredients to form a salsa. Serve on top or along side the salmon 

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American Butter Cream Icing https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/american-butter-cream-icing/ https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/american-butter-cream-icing/#respond Mon, 15 Apr 2019 01:35:03 +0000 https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/?p=7305 American Butter Icing An American Buttercream Icing for Cupcakes 500 g icing sugar 150 g softened butter 60 ml milk Flavour (vanilla) Mix together with a whisk attachment in a stand mixer or in a thermomix. Pile into an icing bag with your favourite tip and get creating use immediately store left over in the … Continue reading American Butter Cream Icing

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American Butter Icing

An American Buttercream Icing for Cupcakes

  • 500 g icing sugar
  • 150 g softened butter
  • 60 ml milk
  • Flavour (vanilla)
  1. Mix together with a whisk attachment in a stand mixer or in a thermomix. Pile into an icing bag with your favourite tip and get creating

  • use immediately
  • store left over in the fridge or freezer
  • ensure you defrost and rewhip with a whisk attachment before re-use

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Hot X Bun Pudding https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/hot-x-bun-pudding/ https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/hot-x-bun-pudding/#respond Mon, 15 Apr 2019 01:28:26 +0000 https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/?p=7292   Hot Cross Bun Pudding A lusciously decadent pudding you can create with left over, day old, hot cross buns. 6 hot cross buns (1 or more days old) 3 tbsp butter softened 3 tbsp orange syrup or orange marmalade 50 g dark chocolate, grated 4 eggs 1.5 cups cream 1 cup milk Slice the … Continue reading Hot X Bun Pudding

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Hot Cross Bun Pudding

A lusciously decadent pudding you can create with left over, day old, hot cross buns.

  • 6 hot cross buns (1 or more days old)
  • 3 tbsp butter softened
  • 3 tbsp orange syrup or orange marmalade
  • 50 g dark chocolate, grated
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 cups cream
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Slice the hot cross buns into 1/3s horizontally. Line the bases of the buns into the base of a deep dish baking pan.

  2. Cover with orange sauce or marmalade. Sprinkle the grated chocolate onto the top of the marmalade. Return the bun lids to the top.

  3. Whisk the eggs, milk and cream together in a bowl and pour over the top of the buns

  4. Allow to rest for 30 minutes for the mixture to soak into the buns. Press down on the tops with a spatula to allow them to soak up some of the liquid.

  5. Heat the oven to 180C bake function. Bake the pudding uncovered in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the eggy mixture is set

This is heavenly served warm with drizzled pouring cream

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Party Platter Preparation https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/party-platter/ https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/party-platter/#respond Tue, 12 Feb 2019 03:24:51 +0000 https://www.vanessabaxter.co.nz/?p=7187 Feel fearful of preparing a party platter? It can be daunting to take a look at some of the foodie photos on social media where lusciously laden platters take over entire tables as alternatives to a meal. Don’t despair. They can be a simple and effective solution for easy entertaining, leaving the host to grab … Continue reading Party Platter Preparation

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Feel fearful of preparing a party platter?

It can be daunting to take a look at some of the foodie photos on social media where lusciously laden platters take over entire tables as alternatives to a meal.

Don’t despair.

They can be a simple and effective solution for easy entertaining, leaving the host to grab a drink and also enjoy their friends for a relaxed get together.

Here are some tips to help you get started.

The Four T’s for Triumph

When you create a platter at home here are 4 top tips for success……..

  • Theme is important because it will help you to keep “like” ingredients together. Think Asian, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Meat Lovers etc. This way you will focus on flavours that already naturally fit together. One of the biggest issues with the modern ‘grazing’ food is that people are messing with putting too many ideas onto one space and it just doesn’t work.
  • Texture is vital. Ideally you can create interest with a variety of soft, crunchy, hard and smooth. For example, with a smooth dip, have some crusty grissini; pair a soft cheese with crusty bread or cracker; hard cheese with slivers of ripe pear.
  • Taste is undeniably the key ingredient. The way to ensure you get this right is to buy ‘in-season’ fresh produce. In hotter months try to create a platter of fresh fruits and vegetables with nuts and other wholesome snack style foods. (NB. you don’t want foods that sweat such as sliced meats and cheeses in hotter weather.)
  • Temptation is about feasting with the eyes. Start creating the platter by positioning your larger items first. Fill in the spaces with smaller ingredients. Use mini bowls and dishes to hold items and separate flavours. Add flowers or herbs to decorate.

For further ideas check out our recipes for Pesto, Pepita Dip and Energy Balls

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