There are all kinds of reasons to get on board (no pun intended) with a beautiful platter this summer. They’re not only yummy, but they can be therapeutic to make and fun to share.
Taking time for yourself
Making a beautiful cheese, charcuterie or grazing board can really help you relax. A wonderful combination of organization and creativity, it’ll hit all the different parts of your brain. And not only that – shopping for the food and assembling it will give you a good couple of hours to yourself. So, pick your favourite cheeses and meats, find a big old board, and take some well-earned me time.
Sharing the love
There’s lots of research telling us that sharing meals with others is good for your mind, body and soul. So, once you’ve created your masterpiece, why not invite the girls round to enjoy it with you? Or turn it into dinner for the family for something a little different for your weeknight tea. If you fancy treating yourself and extending that me time, you could even just make one for yourself and devour it with your favourite summer drink, like my rosé port and tonic. Perfect for a solo, sunny evening!
How to create a yummy board
Your grazing board is your chance to get creative and add all sorts of your favourite foods. You could stick with a classic cheeseboard (check out my guide to creating the perfect one), or why not add some charcuterie? Or, if you want to avoid meat and dairy, there are all kinds of delicious veggie and vegan options too.
Here are a few of my faves to add to a board:
· Cheese… any cheese! We have an amazing array of cheeses made right here in Ireland, so why not support local businesses while getting yourself some creamy deliciousness?!
· Sheridan’s salted, herbed almonds. These smoky beauties add gorgeous crunch to your board and a nice bit of variety too.
· What’s cheese without bread?! I love a loaf that’s a bit different. Things like pitta or flatbreads are a fab addition and give you something to spread that cheesy yumminess on.
· Why not give my simple fig recipe a go? Combined with parma ham, mozzarella and basil, they don’t just give freshness to your board, but some beautiful colour too.
· Add some crunchy baby gem lettuce and my easy buttermilk ranch dressing for a tasty dip on the side.
Top tips for creating your best board
1. Choose a board that’s big enough. Sounds obvious, right? But you want to make sure there’s enough space for items both big and small and nothing’s going to topple off the side.
2. Combine both sweet and savory. Sure, you might not want chocolate right next to your cheese, but if you think about your placement then you can create a tasty journey from salty to sweet.
3. Place the biggest items on the board first and put similar items together for the prettiest presentation.
All you really need is a board and a list of food you love, and off you go. Happy grazing!