Sophisticated Dining

Isn’t it fascinating how some kitchen designs inspire sophisticated dining and classy entertainment?

To add that touch of class to any dish you serve up to your visitors, dabble in the art of garnishing… for garnishing is indeed an art… and you don’t need to be a chef to be successful at it.

The trick to effective garnishing is to not over-do. A sprig of parsley or basil atop a mound of spaghtetti is all that is needed to finish the dish. A fanned strawberry and a mint leaf are delightful accompaniments to a ball of icecream. Sprigs of dill adorn a baked potato, and a curl of butter is perfectly delicious atop a warm dinner roll.

It’s easy to keep garnish items on hand for when you need them.

Keep pots of parsley, mint, dill, and basil at your back door (keep an eye on the mint as it has built itself a reputation of ‘jumping ship’ and pirating other parts of your garden!)

Your own strawberry patch (either in the garden or pots) will provide you with delicious strawberries while in season.

A block of chocolate in your pantry will add the finishing touches to a cake or dessert when you run an orange peeler or sharp knife along the edge to create curls of chocolate. (Make sure the chocolate is not too hard as it will flake rather than curl).

Nasturtium flowers look great in your garden as well as on a plate of sandwiches, spreads and dips. As do the petals of edible flowers such as violets, marigolds, and calendulas. (Never use pesticides on these flowers in your own garden, or be sure to buy organic).

Turn shallots into garnishes by slicing them thinly and sprinkling over a savoury dish. Alternatively, trim the green end from each shallot, and using this end cut stalks into 4cm lengths. Make approx. four or five lengthwise cuts from the middle of the stalk to one end. Place in a bowl of cold water and store in the fridge. The ends will curl creating a great looking garnish.

Other garnishes include icing sugar sifted and sprinkled around a dessert plate, slices of mangoes and halved strawberries, sliced cucumber arranged neatly, slices of lemon and lime (with the peel still on) look great on savoury dishes, and even shavings of parmesan cheese are effective.

Have fun experimenting in the art of garnishing, and add that little taste of class to your dinner party.

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