May 13, 2013

Antipasto Plate {Picky Tea}

When I was younger, most Fridays, after a long week in school, my family used to have a dinner that we called a 'Picky Tea'. It involved no cooking at all. After Mam and Dad came home from work, we would head to the supermarket and get everything needed for a Picky Tea. First, let me tell you what a Picky Tea is. It is a supper where you buy a variety of your favourite cold meats, cheeses, crisps, fruit, peanuts, bread, and crackers, put them all in bowls or on platters, place them in the centre of the kitchen table and everyone helps themselves. 

Our Picky Tea usually consisted of salami, deli ham and turkey, Cracker Barrel cheese,  Philadelphia with herbs, grapes, sliced apples, peanuts, crisps, french stick and Carr's Table Water biscuits. One of the best things about a Picky Tea was having left overs for a sandwich on Saturday! One of my favourite things to eat was  a piece of french stick spread with herby Philadelphia and dipped, Philadelphia side down, into salted peanuts. I crave that every once in a while! 

I suppose, our Picky Tea was a very Irish version of the Italian Antipasto plate. Except it was our supper and not the first course of an extended Italian meal. I love food like this, dishes where the ingredients get all the attention-full flavoured, fresh food displayed attractively on a plate- requiring only a little knife action. It really is up to you what you put onto your antipasto plate. It's rustic, it's all about personal taste and it's all about enjoying good food with even better people. When it comes to presenting the food, I like to either use large white platters, wooden boards or even wooden chopping boards. I think the food looks best on these. White makes the food pop and the wood makes it look characteristically rustic and authentic. Also, I try to group ingredients together-meat, cheese, fruit, vegetables. Chutney look great in small bowls, nuts in small bowls and bread and crackers in a basket. Just make your antipasto plate you and everyone will love it!

I bought three Irish cheeses for my plate-Wicklow Blue, Cooleeney-a Brie like cheese and a lovely intense nutty Goats cheese called Killeen. It's nice to be representin' the Irish producers! Along with these cheeses I bought a mixture of marinated olives, pickled cornichons, salami flavoured with fennel, Serrano ham, strawberries, nectarines, figs and breadsticks. 

Multiple glasses of wine go hand in hand with this, like peas in a pod!

Buon Appetito!

Holly, x

I find if you group all the ingredients together people can see the food better! Ok, on a nice white plate arrange the fruit together, cutting it up so people can take a few slices of whatever you are serving.

The cheese looks best sitting proudly in the centre of the plate. Leave it whole and allow people to use cheese knives to serve themselves a hunk. Make sure cheese has had time to sit at room temperature so that it is soft. It tastes best this way.

Marinated vegetables go together. If any of your vegeatbles come in a lot of oil, perhaps serve them in a bowl with a spoon to keep your plate clean. Also, the oil they come in will have oodles of flavour so make sure to serve that!

The cold meats look nice folded and draped around each other. Be creative, you got this. You're painting a pretty picture with food!

I don't really have a recipe for this, as the items you choose to put on your antipasto plate can be changed depending on your personal taste. I will include everything that I have filled my plate with and then give you a list of things that would also be ridiculously tasty in the mix! 

This is best served at room temperature, so make sure to give it a good 20 minutes in the open. The cheese will need longer time out of the fridge to become soft. 

Items I used for 2-4 people:

3 Figs
3 Nectarines
Punnet Strawberries
Mixed Black and Green Olives in Olive Oil
Pickled Cornichons and Onions
Finocchiona Salami (salami with fennel)
Serrano Ham
Killeen Goats Cheese 
Wicklow Blue
Cooleeney (full flavoured soft cheese-Brie like)
Grissini (breadsticks)
Red Onion Marmalade
Quince Jelly

Other items I would use:

Chargrilled Vegetables-red/yellow pepper, red onion, aubergine
Marinated Artichoke Hearts
Any cured meats
Any type of cheese-hard, soft, semi-soft, cows milk, goats milk or blue.
Buffalo Mozzarella 
Crackers and Bread
Sweet Melon
Salted Cashews or Smoked Almonds

1 comment:

  1. thank you for your ideas for our Picky Tea.