Since Today is my birthday I thought I’d share one of my favourite party ideas. Gluten free platters. I’ve been sharing my platters on instagram and you have been loving them. A few of you have asked how I make them, so here you go. No matter what kind of gathering I am hosting, I always put one or two platters down for my guests to enjoy. You probably know the platters I’m talking about, biscuits, dips and nibbles. The ones you can put together and just leave on a table. They are my secret to gluten free entertaining and I’ve even written a chapter all about platters for my upcoming cookbook.
I’ll be focusing on products that you can use for your platter that can be picked up from either Woolworths or Coles. Then I’ll have a few step by step photos and tips on how I get that perfect platter look. As always, this list won’t be exhaustive, I’ve provided a few examples for each category. You’ll also have to check the ingredients at the time of purchase just in case the company has changed any of the ingredients.
You’ll notice that quite a few of my platters feature a dip in the middle. This helps create a centrepiece that the rest of your food can sit comfortably around. It isn’t always necessary but they always seem to get eaten so I won’t stop using them anytime soon.
My go-to brands include Black Swan and Chris’s. The majority of both of these brands are gluten free labelled and they have a variety of flavours. When choosing a flavour of dip, classic favourites that always go down well are a French onion, hummus or tzatziki. If you are serving cheese on the platter try to avoid any cheese based dips as it can become overwhelming. In the end, the choice is up to you though, so go with what flavour you like the best.
If you need a dip that is dairy and gluten free you can check out Aldi or the Yumi’s Aioli. The Yumi’s brand definitely have a wider range of flavours.
A big part of a platter for me is to make sure you have some crackers to go with whatever else you’re serving. This used to be incredibly difficult years ago due to the lack of gluten free crackers. Now though there are heaps of options. If you like that airy texture then the peckish crackers or similar products are a great option. They will say gluten free on the front in big letters. I tend to go for the standard plain cracker to avoid too many contrasting flavours.
The newer option though and one that I have been using a lot are gluten free wafer crackers. Simply Wize has some really nice ones but I know that they can be hard to find. If you can’t track them down then (this other brand) is a great substitute.
Additionally, you can go for corn chips, these work well and with CC’s now all gluten free it’s just a quick stop down the chips aisle to grab them.
While purchasing from the deli is certainly convenient, there are a lot of risks associated with it. Crumbed products, shared slicers and so on. I know a few people who ask the employees to grab the fresh product from out the back and cut it on a clean slicer, however, my anxiety definitely stops me from doing that. Since that’s the case, I stick with the packaged meats. Primo is my number one choice. I believe all their deli-style meat is gluten free, from salami and kabana to their new deluxe meats. They are clearly labelled and have a wide variety. Other options I include are things like the Gotzinger Pepperoni Kabana.
For a platter, I tend to go with a mild salami (unless I know everyone likes spicy food), a ham, a beef and a chicken. This provides a range of options for people to choose from. If you have a little bit more cash the Premium Selections from Primo add a bit more flair, with pepper crusted roast beef and garlic, wine and paprika salami. If you aren’t a fan of Primo, you can also try Hans and some Don
Constructing Your Platter
Putting together a beautiful platter isn’t necessarily hard but it can be fiddly. I like to use round plates, the one featured in these pictures is from Kmart $9.
Step 1: Obtain your Ingredients
You want a variety of items that can include meats, antipasto items, cheeses, crackers and vegetables. Once the ingredients are prepared, I typically lay all of these out on the bench so that I can easily mix and match on the platter. When I talk about preparing the ingredients, it’s usually, draining any antipasto liquids, cutting the vegetables into sticks and cubing the cheese if required.
Step 2: Create the base for the platter
The most organized platters always focus on the middle point. You’ll notice that the ingredients point to the middle to draw your eye. So I personally put my dip right in the middle. This allows the dip to be accessible from all sides. Next, I throw on the crackers. You don’t have to circle them around the dip, in fact, I often just place them in a triangle shape like the cold meats and vegetables. However, the up-side to having them all around the dip is that again you can easily grab one from any side. This is what I call my platter base. It gives me something to work around.
Step 3: Arranging your ingredients
Everything else from here on just needs to be placed around this centrepiece. I tend to create the triangle kind of shape. This again draws the eye to the centre of the plate as all the ingredients create this ‘funnel’ look. It is good for filling all the space on the platter while keeping the circular shape. These sections can be as small or as large as you like, depending on how many ingredients you want to include. In the Corn Chip platter above I had half the platter filled with corn chips and used no vegetables. If you are including antipasto ingredients It’s good to place these inbetween meats or vegetable sticks to act as barriers.
Step 4: Rolling your cold cuts
So you can pick up the meats easily I rolled them. I usually roll them into a cone shape however with thicker cuts of meat it can be hard. To create the shape place the slice in your hand and begin to roll horizontally. Pull the bottom area together tighter so that it is smaller than the top. I typically put these straight down on the platter seam down to avoid them rolling apart. This is trickier with fragile, thicker or stringy cuts of meat so just rolling them works too.
Step 4: Colour Contrast and Variety
When I construct my platters, I don’t like to put too much meat, cheese or vegetables next to each other. Again this is so that no matter what side of the platter you’re on you can pick up a range. For an aesthetically pleasing array, it is also a good tip to mix up the colours. In the example below I used the vegetable sticks and cheese as buffers between the meats.
This is just one way to put together a great gluten free platter. Hopefully, it helps you next time you need to entertain or are entertaining for someone who needs gluten free. Finding gluten free ingredients may be a little intimidating at first but it’s not as hard as it seems.
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Until Next Time; I’m off to celebrate my birthday.
Ashlee; The Aussie Coeliac.