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Make This Show-Stopping Grazing Table At Home

Food

Did you catch our Scaling Up Small Business story on Friday? If so, you’d know great things have been happening for Cassie Lucas of Firecracker Event!

The founder/creative director and long-time TDF friend (we’re still talking about those legendary Open House 2017 lunchboxes) is back to host our food column throughout October!

From renting kitchens on a causal basis in 2014, to setting up in Thornbury in 2015, Cassie and her brilliant team have just moved into their stunning ‘HQ2’ in Northcote – now available for bookings.

Being one of the hardest workers we know, she also recently found time to cater for her sister’s wedding… which leads us to her opening recipe: a show-stopping grazing table perfectly adapted to events, relaxed meals with friends, or, as Nigella Lawson would endorse, a treat-yourself solo dinner!

2nd October, 2018

Firecracker Event‘s Grazing Table. Props include ceramic jug by Jessilla Rogers. Photo – The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

Dinner for one! Photo – The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

The wonderful Cassie Lucas of Firecracker Event. Photo – The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

Photo – The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

Cassie Lucas of Firecracker Events
Tuesday 2nd October 2018

‘Cooking for oneself… is an act of nourishing yourself and one of self-love and self-care.’ – Cassie Lucas.

Last year, when Nigella Lawson was in Melbourne, I went along to see her. The talk had a really big impact on me, especially when she spoke about the importance of cooking for oneself – how this is an act of nourishing yourself and one of self-love and self-care. Grazing is the perfect quick lunch or dinner dish for this!

The inclusion options are truly endless, from what’s growing in your garden, to things green-thumb friends might pass on, and of course what’s in season at the store. My only real rule for creating a grazing table is to go for odd quantities of ingredients: three to five cheeses, three types of meat, three to five antipasto items, and three other special treats, like nougat and Turkish delight, chocolate or halva!

If you’d like a ready-to-go shopping list, below I share everything I’ve used for this spring grazing table, serving four…

For the tomato salad

INGREDIENTS

1 punnet mixed cherry tomatoes

2 heirloom tomatoes

1 bunch basil

150g ricotta salata (or sheep milk pecorino) – this will be heaps but you can use the rest on other salads or in pasta later in the week; I’ve worked in deli’s since I was 15 years old and now it’s a faux pas to order 50g of cheese!

A dash olive oil

Optional: 50g white anchovies

Method

Slice large tomatoes and place on a plate. Add halved cherry tomatoes and basil leaves.

Sprinkle with cheese – I like to use a microplane (it’s my favourite kitchen utensil). Add anchovies and drizzle with olive oil.

This one is best prepared just before serving, though can keep refrigerated for up to four hours.

For the honey-drizzled cheese

INGREDIENTS

500g (1 small wheel) Brillat Savarin – this cheese is next level! If you have a really big group, I’d recommend going for the ‘delice’ but the ‘savarin’ is great for a group of four to six people.

1 bosc pear, and extra dried pear for garnish (I get these from Terra Madre)

1 honeycomb, which I usually source from Leo’s or Land of Soy and Honey at Queen Victoria Market

METHOD

One hour before serving, remove cheese from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.

Place on serving dish/stand, drizzle with honey just before serving – if you do it first, the honey really gets a life of its own and drips everywhere. Plus, it’s truly the icing on the cake and super performative so you can even do when your guests arrive!

Then garnish with dried pear and whole (or sliced) fresh pear.

For the other plates

INGREDIENTS

1 loaf of crusty bread ( I got this from Loafer Bread)

2 packs of crackers – we’ve used water crackers here, I also love the beetroot crackers from Terra Madre and it’s great to have some gluten-free ones on hand too.

200g Gippsland Shadows of Blue cheese from Psarakos Market (also available at Leo’s or Bill’s Farm at Queen Victoria Market)

300g Singletons Cheddar cheese

300g Heidi Farm Gruyere cheese

250g Woodside Lemon Myrtle Chevre cheese – it’s the ultimate, and looks amazing with its green-dusted outer)

150g bresaola, always shaved – there’s nothing worse than thickly-sliced meat

250g  prosciutto, I’ve used Di San Daniele

150g  casalingo hot salami

A handful caperberries, in brine

150g cornichons – our go-to brand is Marco Polo from Psarakos Market

100g roasted red peppers

150g Sicilian green olives,  in oil with rosemary and garlic

100g artichokes, in oil with chilli

1 punnet strawberries, halved

1 pomegranate, halved

300g crimson grapes or any other seasonal fruits.

100g walnuts – organic is best, they’re so crunchy (or local whole ones are fun too if you provide a nutcracker on the table

100g pistachios, natural

100g almonds, all natural or roasted if you feel like something special

150g cherry and almond nougat (try Free to Feed’s Persian style recipe here)

100g Turkish delight from Psarakos Market or Leo’s

METHOD

If you’re treating yourself to a special solo dinner, you can simply prepare a big single platter of all ingredients and dig in!

However, if making a bit of a spectacle of the spread for guests, I like to arrange meats, antipasti and bread on serving platters and other assorted dishes.

Then, on layers of chopping boards, cake stands or elevated dishes, I place cheeses (with a few enticing slices pre-cut!) alongside fruits.

Lastly, I provide a stack of plates, cheese knives and serving spoons at one end of the table – and it’s all ready to go!

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First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net