Picking Platters

Germs are afoot. Husband is in bed with man flu, coughing and spluttering (moaning, complaining, huffing, puffing). Daughter is slowing down with cough and sniffles. Boys fending off nostril filling germs. Appetites are thin. So, what to do?

At times like these, no one wants to be faced with the uphill task of meat and two veg, punctuated with crumble. They only want “a little bit of something”. I have taken to putting together platters of colourful food, easy to buy, assemble and eat. Hidden amongst the favourites are tasty veg and pulse options which can be taken in small quantities – small bites of fibre, protein and vitamins which all work toward the goal of fighting infection. Taste buds get activated, chunks of seeded wholegrain baguette get torn off and before you know it, a meal sneaks down them before they realise it.

This can be a good fridge emptying exercise as the list is endless as to what can be on your largest wooden board in the centre of the table. But, as we are in Italy this week, these were my choices:

Lambs lettuce and peppery rocket dressed in lemon oil and pomegranate vinegar – lots of it to rest the other ingredients on
Rotisserie chicken, cut into manageable chunks
Bocconcini (tiny mozzarella balls)
Sweet ripe tomatoes, quartered
Avocados, sliced or cut into chunks
Butter beans soaked from brine
Tiny delicate chunks of cucumber
Sweet melon cut into slivers
A swish of balsamic glaze over the top for presentation
Sticks of fresh whole grain seeded baguette to serve with a good quality butter……I tried my luck here with some baked potatoes as well and they all went down without a trace of resistance.

Depending on the time of the year, other ideas may be:

Asparagus, lightly steamed
Pomegranate seeds sprinkled liberally
Sugar snaps, dressed in sesame oil and onion seeds
Grated carrot
Slivers of local cheeses or grated flavoursome cheddar
Corn cobs, halved
Slices of roasted rare beef, horseradish dressing, black pepper
Chargrilled veg such as courgette and aubergine
Ripe figs, quartered
Blueberries (great with the cheese)
Truffle honey
Whole grain crackers

You get the drift.

I’m just off for a hot Benylin and brandy cocktail – let me know how you get on.

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