Food Platters

Dear IndiaRose,
So today we taught you how to pretend you're baller when really your on a budget. Having a party or friends over always means you have to spend a little on food especially when you want a nice evening not just fish finger sandwiches. The pressure of having to make starters,mains and desert is alot on top of spending all your time in the kitchen and not making memories with everyone else. So here we go. How to be a cheapskate but a totally awesome one at that...all WHILE you're not lifting a finger.

 There are some rules - you need layers, textures, colours and height. Sounds a lot but totally doable. The easiest one to create is a cheese platter as you can include fruit and chocolate in to the mix (  totally counts as desert ) So to start you want to create the height. I did this by adding a juice jug and candles. I placed them strategically at the back so that people wouldn't knock them over / set themselves alight reaching for the food. Next up is the base layer which is salad leaves. I placed them in a kind of 's' shape to create the first layer. At this point i added my other objects like jars of dips ( the brighter the colours the more it will pop. You can also try layering like i did with gauc,cream chives and a salsa. Goes down a storm. ) I also had a wooden box which i filled with olives - Different variations is key adding to textures and colours. THE cheese. This is where you'll want to spend most of your money. Buy cheese in different shapes, flavours and colours - wax ones are awesome as you can get shapes like my cheddar star or a pop of colour with my yellow one. Keep the wax on. You want people to look at it and go 'wow' 'showstopper' 'it looks so good i don't want to touch it' . Then let them ruin it and open the cheeses themselves. It's all about being hands on with this food. Spread the cheeses around you don't want to bundle them up.Next up was the crackers, again i had different types in flavours, colours and shapes. They are great to spiral or curve creating shapes. Fill big spaces with different slices of meats. Then add your little extras like fruit. Pomegranate, figs and passion fruit makes a statement when cut in half. Blackberries and blueberries give a foresty feel against the salad. Add spills of nuts and popcorn. Don't forget chocolate, go with dark or flavoured like seasalt - break it up and stack it so it fills the edges. Make sure there is no holes or spaces!!!! Add bread, grapes, pears a fondou - go nuts. The more the better.
If you have a long table not a small marble one like me. Make it a long center piece so you can all sit down and grab from the middle. Make it fun and interactive with rolled up jokes or questions!

I know it sounds a lot but if you have all your different elements infront of you its all about having fun and adding until your happy. Go with your instincts. 
This is all food that can be wrapped up and eaten for the next few days. You could even put in to meals if there is any left overs so it's super cost effective.

Splurge on things like cheese knives and jugs. These are things you are likely to have for your whole life.