Summer is at our doorstep
At our place, sunny days often lead to long evenings in the backyard. Grazing platters are great for easy weeknight dinners. Bring out your speakers, throw a forgiving tablecloth over your weathered outdoor table and delight in the warm weather.
I keep a few platter-friendly bits and pieces on hand in case of unexpected guests or for days when I don’t feel like cooking. Put together a simple platter for two with just a few items foraged from your fridge or pump it with more items when catering for many mouths. Platters are super easy to scale up or down and if there’s more than 5 people at the table, it’s a good idea to make a couple of smaller platters so everyone can have easy access.
Lisa’s make entertaining easy with their range of delicious hummus and dips. When it comes to platters, colour is important and I’ve picked my favourite beautifully colourful dips from the Lisa’s Hummus range: Chargrilled Capsicum, Basil Pesto, and Beetroot with Roasted Cashews. My suggestions below for platter ideas means you can build your own platters for easy entertaining at home
Made fresh in their Auckland factory, Lisa’s Hummus range is vegetarian and gluten free. Both the Chargrilled Capsicum and Beetroot with Roasted Cashews bring out the sweetness of raw carrots, and are dreamy with creamy cheeses. If you were ever unsure whether to grab pesto or hummus, then Lisa’s Basil Pesto Hummus with Parmesan is for you. Ideal for platters with tomatoes or a cheese board and it goes great with savoury items. Sun-dried tomatoes in particular are perfect with this summery tasting dip, though fresh cherry tomatoes would be a treat too.
Anatomy of a platter
When assembling a platter, think of contrasting flavours, colours, shapes and textures. Aim for at least one type of cracker/bread/ breadstick. Carrots are an economic and naturally gluten free alternative. PRO TIP: Slice carrots into coins instead of sticks for improved carrot-to-dip ratio.
It’s very easy to go overboard so aim for less food than you think you need. I find that if I’m hungry while assembling, I tend to put out too much food – kind of like shopping on an empty stomach.
For freshness, cut up large pieces of cheese and serve a smaller portion – wrap up any unused pieces and refrigerate. You can easily bring out more cheese should you run out, but any leftovers tend to go to waste after sitting out all evening and wasted food is heartbreaking.
Food that comes in cans or jars such as sun-dried tomatoes, pickles and olives are also great to add punchy flavours.
Nuts are great for crunch and added creaminess. Mixed nuts are great, or just buy your favourites.
I love cheese so I make sure I have a selection of cheeses. At least two cheeses per platter, but no more than four. If in doubt, a hard or blue cheese and a soft creamy cheese is a good place to start.
To balance the sharpness of a blue cheese, try something sweet such as fresh grapes, apple, pear or fruit paste. If you can get it, honeycomb is delicious and looks gorgeous. I have to confess, I haven’t always enjoyed blue cheese but I am now 100% converted. Blue cheese isn’t for everybody and it’s best to choose a cheese you know you will enjoy.
Fresh fruit looks great and adds a nice touch and can replace dessert if needed. Over summer, you can be sure to add summer berries to the usual list of fruit.
If you’re serving items such as olives, pistachios or cherries, keep a small bowl on the table for pits and shells. You won’t need plates, but paper or cloth napkins are a good idea. Make sure there are enough knives or spreaders available and most of all, ENJOY!
Thanks to Lisa’s, I am giving away a beautiful Laguoile cheese knife and slate board set so you can design your own beautiful summer platters.
To enter, simply follow Lisa’s Hummus on either Facebook or Instagram and fill in the entry form at the bottom of this post along with the answer to this question: What’s your favourite Lisa’s hummus or dip?
Answer can be found here: http://bit.ly/LisasNZ
This competition is closed. See who was the winner here.
Terms and conditions
- One entry per person.
- Open to NZ only.
- Prize consists of Laguoile spreader and knife set and slate serving boards. Value $100.
- Competition begins 28 November 2016. Entries close 18 December 2016 and winner will be drawn 19 December 2016, contacted by email and announced here and on Facebook.
- In the event that the winner is not contactable within 48 hours, Bunny Eats Design reserves the right to redraw a winner.
This post was made possible thanks to Lisa’s. All opinions are my own.