If you haven't heard about grazing tables yet, you probably haven't been using social media very much! They are everywhere!
And why the hell not who doesn't love a good cheese, dip and fruit platter!
One of the best parts about a grazing table is there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Grazing tables are a perfect addition to most events, we have catered grazing tables for birthday parties, corporate events, engagement parties and weddings and even Christmas parties!
Here are some tips for creating the perfect grazing table for your next party:
1. The cheese: you want to buy 3 or 4 different types we suggest a good cheddar, blue cheese, Gouda, brie and some flavored cream cheeses.
2. Sliced Meats: this one is very important, assorted sliced meats are a must - we like using Spanish Chorizo, prosciutto, salami, Jamon, pastrami and a really nice ham.
3. Olives: Lets face it olives need there own sections, try grabbing some from the deli section of the supermarket they often offer olives marinated or stuffed these always go down a treat!
4. Dips and Paste: These can add some great flavours to your grazing table, We love having hummus & tzatziki as they add a nice freshness and also french onion is always popular. We also like to put out some quince paste which gives a yummy sweetness to pair with the saltiness of the cheese. Another great addition is pate most people love pate and it is great with some crackers.
5. Dried Fruit and Nuts: The same reason as adding dips and pastes its a great addition to any antipasto platter. We use almonds, pecans, walnuts, dried figs and dried apricots. We also always add fresh fruit to our grazing tables, strawberries, grapes, cherries, kiwis are so good this time of year and give your table some beautiful colours.
6. Crackers or bread: A must, you need some kind of crackers or bread. We love using either Turkish bread or sour dough, water crackers, rice crackers, bread sticks and if you look at your local farmers market you can usually find some delicious artisan crackers which are delicious!
7. Added extras: We also add some fresh ingredients like carrot sticks, celery sticks and cherry tomatoes.
8. Decorating the table: Now the key to decorating is not planning too much and use lots of different platters bowls, cake stands, boxes, jars, ect and add some flowers or we like to use rosemary from the garden which always looks beautiful!
Let us know how you get on if you give this a go!
We have had the great pleasure of presenting quite a few private degustation dinner parties lately and thought we would share some of the pics. These dishes were all created by our talented Chef Ray.
At Simple & Beautiful Catering, we love creating new dishes and the degustation style of dinner gives us an opportunity to experiment with new flavour combinations, that more often than not make their way onto our canape, banquet and buffet menus!
The dishes above are:
- Fresh pea & saffron risotto with a pan fried scallop
- Textures of beetroot: slow roasted, puree, pickled - served with house made labna
- Charred cos with burnt butter, broccoli , fresh peas and cashews
- Beef wellington: slow cooked beef with puff pastry, mustard with mushrooms and spinach
- Tian of prawn: served with avocado and tomato hint of watermelon for sweet
- Slow roasted vegetables: served with candied walnuts and balsamic reduction
- House made pappardelle with slow roasted duck and red wine jus
- Chocolate 5 ways: chocolate macron, dark chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate ice-cream, chocolate ganache served with double cream
Let us know what you think!
A Feast with Family & Friends
There are many styles of Wedding catering, and all have their charms. Recently we have had quite a few bookings for the banquet style catering that is pictured above. This throwback to times gone by when a feast was used as a celebration for many occasions has now gained a renewed popularity with one celebration in particular..Weddings!
This I imagine is mainly in part to the wonderful feeling of sharing a meal with loved ones. And preparing a beautiful selection of food is always a wonderful treat for guests.
At Simple & Beautiful Catering we make sure there is always extra, as some of our dishes, like the tender seared Angus sirloin, slow cooked lamb or the grilled seasonal vegetable are definitely worth sharing a 'seconds' time :)
Spring has Sprung and what a beautiful season spring is!
Currently in supermarkets across the country you are able to purchase all types of fruits and veggies most of the year round. Now this may appear to seem as though everything is always in season, yet it is not.
There is something to eating in season... fruit & vegetables are much more delicious and full of flavour naturally, and it's definitely more cost effective when buying ingredients that are in season.
Here is a list of Spring fruits and vegetables for Western Australia to keep an eye out for next time your shopping:
Apricots, strawberries, guava, lemon, lime, mango, blueberries, figs, mulberries, oranges (valencia) .
Artichoke, asparagus, cucumber, cauliflower, beans (broad), peas, garlic, brussel sprouts.
And remember, when preparing fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables make sure to serve them with the least amount of fuss as possible. The natural flavours and textures are at their peak, so they don't need to many extras :)
So the key to a great low key party is simplicity...it's simple to throw a party... We mean literally, keep it simple.
From low key birthday celebrations to a impromptu weekend soiree with friends. The trick is to not worry to much about the event itself and just hit the basics really well. The basics are generally what people remember from a party anyway, great food, good music, great wine and most importantly great company!
Great food: this is going to be an excellent exercise into what we love to do...sourcing the best produce - Go and grab some fabulous seasonal goodies and some well reviewed, tried and tested artisan delicacies for a kick ass tasting board or even your very own grazing table. This style of party food is a great set 'n forget way to keep all your guests well fed, you can even chuck some delicious pastries in the oven and put these out to make sure everyone gets enough food.
Drinks: this is another important one, you want to ensure everyone has something to drink so it can be best to provide beer, wine and soft drink and ask guests to bring other items if they wish.
Great tunes: You may love renditions of chamber music, but your guests may not, so just pick a good radio station or stream some chilled party music station for a no fuss approach to good vibes.
Setup: Standing functions are fine and a great way to mingle with everyone, but is a good idea to make sure to have atleast a few different spots for guests to take a break and after Aunty Judy cuts that rug, she's going to need a breather.
We're on the downhill run to summer now, so start some planning, have fun with some quirky themes and make a space on the bookcase for that greatest host trophy!
This week we're going to take a quick look at a wine pairing we did recently. The dish was a grilled fillet of Barramundi with red curry broth and julienne garnish.
A couple pointers on this one are the subtleness of the fish and not wanting to be overpowered, but also the heat coming through the spice component of the sauce.
My personal preference is for a chardonnay with a little bit of weight and definitely a clean finish. Finding one with lemongrass, citrus notes will help balance out those flavours and pair wonderfully with the crisp freshness of the julienne garnish.
Also a brisk Riesling with some lime & lemonyess (not a word?) can help cool those spicey mouthfuls.
We hope you have a wonderful weekend!
1 kg minced chicken
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp sumac
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup smokey BBQ sauce, divided into two portions
1 red capsicum, cored and minced
Baby Cos leaves
lime cheeks or quarters
Pre-heat oven to 180 deg Celsius.
In a small bowl, mix together the minced chicken, chili powder, sumac, salt, egg, bread crumbs, milk, 1/4 cup of the BBQ sauce and minced red capsicum until thoroughly combined.
Grab a small handful of the meat mixture and form a meatball that is about 1 1/2 inches in size.
Pan fry until brown, then finish in a medium oven for 8-10 min.
Brush remaining 1/4 cup BBQ sauce on top of the meatballs, and allow to rest for 5 min.
assemble your baby cos lettuce cups on a platter, with a sprinkling of the julienne veg mix. Place the meatballs on top with a drizzle of yogurt, pinch of sumac, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lime.
Call me to tell me how damn delicious this is!
We love our spices at Simple & Beautiful catering!
The art of balancing spice blends has intrigued me, ever since I cooked my first meal. Now granted as a 4 year old creating a one pan style mince dish - I can now fully appreciate my parents support - it may not have come out with the desired piquant flavours I had in mind, but it was a step!
It wasn't until I had the privilege of working with Chef Amit Gupta, who now runs the absolutely amazing Cumin Courtyard in QLD that I truly began to understand. Amits' understanding of the subtle changes that are created when one toasts, grinds, pastes or powders the spices available to the modern shopper was immense, and I was fortunate to learn what I could.
Nowadays at S&B, we use the huge variety of spices we keep on hand to add whimsical elements to many of our dishes, so that our guests enjoy a truly unique experience.
Some of our favourites are featured in that lovely little pic above... cumin, turmeric, cardamon, curry leaves, sumac, cinnamon, black cumin, carraway, and kashmiri chilli. We're going to feature some recipes over the next few months that incorporate some of these lovelies, so that you too can enjoy the wonderful flavours that are ready to be unlocked in your kitchen.
A family buffet can be a wonderful occasion! follow these simple 5 tips to ensure the clan is happy :)
1) Open the gate
When greeted with food, we as humans tend to follow each other in a herd like mentality. With this in mind - create a starting point, an end point and a little space at both ends for chatting, so the line doesn't get jammed up too much.
2) Simple fare is the best
Uncle Jim loves his Moroccan spiced lentil & chia seed burgers although the rest of the gang may not. When cooking for a group of people, it's often wise to keep to the tried and tested recipes as the main attraction with slightly daring inclusions scattered throughout.
3) Drinks over there
Placing drinks on the same table as the rest of your food can make for a little chaotic event. moving them to a separate table ensures it's easy for people to swing by and refill their glass, without pressing through the buffet line. You also want it near the kitchen, as jugs of water and pots of coffee are heavier (usually) than food trays, and more prone to spillage.
Having multiple stacks of napkins, plates, cutlery and food items ensures that no one gets that feeling of waiting. It also makes it a lot safer to transport if you've been left to set-up by yourself!
5) Every superhero needs a sidekick
Pick out one from the herd and ask if they can watch out for items getting low or the accidental spillage. Having assistance for the 20 min it takes for your loved ones to "lovingly" decimate your culinary creations will ease the stress.
Biggest tip: Have fun :)
Well if these pictures don't make you hungry then i'm not sure what will!! Today we have a quick look at a South American favourite - Puerto Rico.
Although Puerto Rican cooking is somewhat similar to Cuban and Mexican cuisine, it is a wonderfully unique melting pot of Spanish, African, Taíno, and American influences, using such indigenous seasonings and ingredients as coriander, papaya, cacao, nispero (loquats), apio (celery), plantains (bananas), and yampee.
We recently created a Puerto Rican buffet for 40 guests, which was really fun to be a part of. The food was bursting with flavour and colours which added to the already amazing day the hosts had created.
The Albondigón, Fricasé & Tres Leches Cake were fan favourite that you should try at home! here's a great link to some Puerto Rican recipes on BuzzFeed here!
Chef Raymond Eric
Sharing our food adventures!