The Festive Platter
Dominic Franks has the perfect answer for the ultimate party food – The Festive Platter.
This year, I’m feeling a little apprehensive about Christmas planning, so instead of organising one big bash I’m going to throw a series of little soirees. That way, should anything get cancelled at the last minute, I’ll know I’ve not prepared a huge feast that gets wasted.
The Festive Platter is essentially a return to the classic food spread we would have known in the ’70s but instead of the retro cheese and pineapple hedgehog or sausages on a stick, I’ve created an abundant platter of plenitude bursting at the seams with colour, flavour and a luxurious selection of festive goodies such as Stilton, figs and cheese crackers. You can create any kind of platter: a cheese platter, a vegetable and dip platter, or even a mince pie and cake platter. The choice is yours, just ensure you go all out and fill every inch of the board for that fully luxurious festive look.
My tips for the perfect platter:
• Try and use a tray with sides. This way you can ensure that everything is squeezed on without worrying something will fall off.
• Work in threes. Three of everything is, for some reason, more aesthetically pleasing than two or four. Create piles of three cheeses, crackers and three types of fruit.
• Start in the middle and work outwards. I’ve used a baked Camembert for the centre of my platter. It’s the focus of the board and means I can create a ‘Christmas Wreath’ style pattern around it. To bake the Camembert simply remove it from the packaging and place it back in its little wooden box. Slice a few holes in the top and insert some slithers of garlic and rosemary. Place it on a baking tray and bake on 170°C (fan) for 20 min.
• Use nuts and dried fruit to fill in the gaps. This will add a feeling of abundance and luxury to the platter.
• Try and choose a selection of textures, with something to dip and something to grab. A crunchy carrot or a soft fresh wedge of pear dipped into a festive hummus is lovely.
• Festive colours are a nice touch. I’ve used fresh rosemary to simulate the wreath. The green is very seasonal plus with added touches of red from the peppers and cranberries really gives it a pop of Christmas colour!