We don’t have people over very often but when we do my absolute favorite thing to do it put together an antipasto type platter. It looks fancy, tastes good and requires next to no effort. It can be expensive though if you aren’t careful. This is my guide to putting together a good platter.
Cheese – I like to get at least 2 cheeses. One hard cheese and a soft cheese. Now I break my own rules and get a Mersey Valley spreadable strong vintage cheese. You could get a hard block version. For soft cheese I normally get a Brie or Camembert which is nice and creamy. If its a lot of people I throw in one of those ones with the chives or fruit around the outside. Also buying a little wedge of cheese at the supermarket deli for just you and a special someone is quite ok.
Dip – buy one dip you really like. I get 2 normally one of the chunky basil, pesto, parmesan deals and a plain dip like French onion or hommus. You don’t have to buy the fancy versions either cause Coles and Woolies has come a long way with their homebrand stuff. Hell make your own if that’s your deal.
Deli meats – I get twiggy sticks, cabanossi (I don’t care it’s a bit dorky), then either a salami or a proscuitto. The price per kilo of a lot of this stuff will make you vomit you only need a couple of slices. These days the prepackaged stuff is good quality so you can grab that. I just tear the meat up a little on the plate, cut the twiggies and cabanossi. Done
Fruit – a pear, grapes and some dried fruit. Sliced pears taste really good with a bit of cheese and deli meat. Dried apricots and a few grapes just give your palette a bit of a break from all the heavy cheese.
Nuts – I normally throw in some almonds to break up the soft textures of everything, Pistachios would be nice and so would walnuts depending on what cheese you used.
Crackers – This is where the homebrand stuff really comes to the front. I never EVER buy name brand crackers. Not ever ever. A packet of water crackers, some grisini/breadsticks, and some thin crackers and you’re done. Also buy at least 1-2 more packets than you think you need cause some dingus will start making cracker and dip ‘sandwiches’ at some point. It’s normally my son just quietly.
Optional extras – extra dips or cheeses are fun. I got a goats cheese for the platter I’m making today because goats cheese is life. Splurging on both prosciutto AND salami. Don’t be scared of asking for like 4 slices of something at the deli or one stick of cabanossi if it’s for 1-2 people. They don’t care and it’s saving you cash. I also like to get a fruit paste like Quince or fig paste. If you like olives, sundries tomatoes, stuffed peppers or dolmades chuck ’em in.
Now for assembly. I normally just crack the top off all the dips and extras (save them incase there is left overs) and set them out at the table where you are. I put the meats out first on the biggest plate you have. Tear up the proscuitto or salami in nice sized bits. Put out your cut ‘nossi and twiggies. In between that put your sliced pear, your nuts and dried fruit. If you have a nice chopping board you can put your cheeses straight on that with a couple little knives. If you don’t strategically place them on the big plate/platter. Speaking of big plates grab a big one from Kmart (yaass Kmart!!) or that container section of a supermarket if you’re flush. Heck even a *clean* pizza tray or biscuit sheet would do in a pinch if you were desperate. Put a selection of crackers on a dinner plate and boom! She’s done. Very little to no prep AT all and you look a bit impressive.
This shit is really portable too. I went to the shops this morning and bought all the stuff for a platter. I’m going to pack up my 2 big plates, my cheese knife set (I was given them I didn’t buy them. It’s not necissary) and a cold bag full of stuff to assemble at a bbq later. If you have a thing to go to and you’re stuck chuck your hand up and dibs an antipasto platter. Easy as and you only have to cut a few things. It’d also work as a picnic if required just remember to keep things cool.
Now if you want to go upmarket you can take things like sundried tomatoes and dips out of the plastic and put them into little pots/bowls. You could also put the meats, cheeses, fruits and crackers on separate plates if you wanted. As for the food. Get creative. If Coles (can you tell I’m a Coles shopper yet?!) have some interesting looking crackers on sale grab them. Grab an antipasto mix with fetta, olives and sundrieds. Swap salami for smoked salmon. Swap out some crackers for cut veggies (they’re called crudite in fancy food terms). Artichoke hearts or marinated mushies from the supermarket deli if you want. Have a try and don’t think you have to go nuts at a specialty shop. I get all the stuff I want now at the supermarket and I’ve *never* had anyone complain yet.
Now you have a secret weapon up your sleeve put it in a note in your phone and impress your friends.