5 simple steps to impressive entertaining on a budget
Creating an eye-watering bounty of food to welcome guests can be done simply and with style. All it takes is a little thought and planning to elevate the humble cheese platter and wow your friends and family with a grazing platter created as a feast for the senses.
1. Make your own dips
Homemade dips have so much more freshness and flavour than the store bought variety and here is where you can save loads of money. It’s super easy too. Search online for quick and easy recipes using fresh ingredients or simply chop your favourite vegetable into chunks, toss in a spice rub or a dash of mustard and a good lick of olive oil. Season all generously with salt and pepper and bung it all on a baking tray in a hot oven for about 20 minutes. Blend together in a food processor when cool and loosen with more oil, water, or yogurt, for a fresh and fragrant dip. Serve with a swish of olive oil and a sprinkle of spices.
2. Add texture with bread and crackers
Texture makes everything look beautiful - the added benefit of different shapes and sizes to up the ante on visual appeal. Group sliced baguettes in bowls or create mounds at the corners of bread boards and snaking in lines between dips and dried fruits. Mix it up with toasted seedy breads, slim and crusty bread sticks and torn pieces of flatbread or day-old sliced loaves with crusts removed and roasted with a brush of garlic and olive oil.
3. Think beyond the cheese platter
Break the boredom of lean and tidy cheese platters and go overboard with your offering. Get messy and pile up heaps of crunchy crudités and handfuls of dried fruits, nuts and a selection of olives. Tuck in colourful touches of fruit pastes and extra flavour with layers of sliced meats, homemade pickles and pâtes.
4. Add height
Create a feast for the eyes as much as the tastebuds by building layers into your grazing platter. Use a pair of matching bowls or canisters to elevate a chopping board above the centre of your cheese platter and create a mouth-watering feature. Add more cheeses, fruits such as grapes and sliced pear, berries and dried fruits. Food looks great piled high so arrange it in a way that’s easy for your guests to serve themselves.
5. Look for consistency
Decide on the look of your grazing platter by choosing serve ware that’s coordinated along a theme. Using a consistent choice of vessels makes everything look beautiful. Think white and wood, or monochrome black and white, or harness the appeal of a colourful spread with an eclectic mix of vintage crockery or coloured glass bowls.
Images from top | Brooke Larke; Sophie Mikat; Tye Doring; David Vilches; Lasseter Winery and Ceeces Travel on unsplash