Firstly – I’m back. It’s been a long, long time between posts – way to long. It’s a new year now, and the plan for the new year is to be more diligent with my writing in 2019. Enough said – now onto our family Christmas feast, and my first ever Grazing Table.
Christmas day was a quiet affair with just Paul, myself and Mr Tilley. The family arrived for our family get together on the 27th. Having noticed that Grazing Tables are gaining in popularity, I thought I’d give one a go. Here’s how it played out…….
First came the shopping with a trip to the Bunbury Farmer’s Market. I must tell you all about the Bunbury Farmer’s Market one day – it’s an awesome place, and my ‘go to place’ for food shopping for any special occasion.
Next I laid out a rough plan of my 120cm round table with the placement of all the components. For height I chose a round thermos pot in the centre topped with a perforated place mat which supported a cake stand. I froze big discs of ice for the thermos pot to keep the cake stand of charcuterie cool and fresh. I also froze two pyrex dishes with ice which I placed under a large oval plate of seafood. Large ice discs last hours longer than small cubes of ice.
I purchased some hessian to cover the table which I secured to the table with random pleats folded into it. The idea was to create a rustic look. A big bucket of gum leaves was sitting in the laundry tub ready for garnishing. The plan was to completely fill the table with colourful food and garnishes.
Then came putting together the components.
For the cheese board I chose one each of a blue, white, orange and a green cheese (the Farmer’s market has a lovely green sage cheese), and I garnished this with black and green grapes, fig cake, fresh figs, and strawberries.
For the seafood platter I kept it very simple with a cream cheese and smoked oyster roulade topped with black lumpfish caviar and thinly sliced lemon (a dish that never fails to wow and literally takes around five minutes to make). On one side of the roulade I placed boiled egg halves topped with red lumpfish caviar, and the other side I filled with smoked salmon slices. Cucumber slices and crackers completed this dish.
The charcuterie was packets of sliced leg ham, mixed salamis etc on the top tier, and smaller chorizo slices on the lower level.
With the main players sorted next came all the supporting dishes, these were:
A big wooden fruit bowl lined with lettuce leaves and topped with whole baby cucumbers, a mix of different coloured cherry tomatoes, snow peas, and fresh blanched asparagus.
A small dish of hard boiled eggs in mayonnaise.
A platter with some more blanched asparagus, sliced melon and slices of proscuitto.
Green and black olives
Parfait glasses with celery sticks, spring onions, and cheese straws
Baguettes, whole grain sour dough, and a walnut loaf.
Several different types of crackers, pork crackle and even a tube of pringles.
Garnishes included gum leaves, whole pears, whole capsicums, and halves of oranges, kiwi fruits, and pomegranates. Then all the remaining gaps were filled with dried apricots, walnuts in their shells, as well as piles of shelled mixed nuts.
The ice lasted for several hours and managed to keep everything cool, and with a light table cloth used to cover everything between the several trips everyone made to replenish plates, I was satisfied there was no danger of anything being less than fresh.
A dessert grazing platter followed (apologies – we forgot to take photos). The platter consisted of jam jars with individual trifles, a pile of meringue nests, a bowl of mixed berries and a bowl of whipped cream. All the gaps on the platter were then filled with broken up bars of white, dark and milk chocolate, chocolate covered almonds and fruits, white coconut covered chocolates, fresh cherries, strawberries and blueberries, and then some mixed jelly sweets for additional colour of green, red, orange and yellow. It was a huge, spectacular platter which I thought was completely over the top. Was I ever surprised though when we nibbled our way through more than half of it throughout the evening.
It was all a huge success.
I think I’ve found my hostessing niche, but be warned it’s not cheap to completely fill a table. and the table does need to be full. The idea of a Grazing Table is to mimic a medieval feast with a table brimming with food and colour. We were careful to clear the table before anything started to deteriorate so as to maximise left overs. The grand children were happy to go home with a big hamper of goodies to go towards their New Year’s Eve celebrations, and we will have cold meats, chocolates and crackers to last us for many weeks to come.
This was my first ever Grazing Table. I can’t wait for another excuse…….