Board it and they will come

Beautiful Boards, by Maegan Brown, Rock Point Gift & Stationery RRP $27.99
Beautiful Boards, by Maegan Brown, Rock Point Gift & Stationery RRP $27.99
'If you board it they will come,'' is Maegan Brown's motto.

Food boards have helped Brown introduce her children to new foods and get them excited about vegetables. They are also a great way to entertain.

''I think its amazing how something as simple as how we serve our food can have such an impact on how we eat and what we eat.

''It's a way of serving that gives people options and awareness for what they are eating.''

She finds that when she serves food on a board for a special occasion or a casual gathering people share, try everything and talk about the food more than at a sit-down dinner.

''In my opinion serving food on shareable boards is one of the greatest ideas in the history of eating and entertaining.''

For Brown, a food blogger and mother of four, it's all about getting creative with food and serving it in an exciting and enticing way.

''We eat with out eyes first, so something such as forming your kids' snacks into a cut shape or overflowing a board with a stunning selection of meats and cheeses makes for a memorable experience.''

In her book Beatiful Boards she gives board ideas for a range of events from after school and date night to birthdays, dessert and build-your-own-sundae boards.

Brown says the goal is to create a board that can be prepared in advance, have little maintenance throughout and minimimal dishes to clean up afterwards.

It does require a little thought beforehand but once people grasp the concept it is easy and she recommends only putting the ''good stuff'' on it.

''The foods on the board I create are tried and tasty.

''I won't put something on a board just for looks. I don't want people to have to think if it's there to eat or not.''

 

Photos: Jerrelle Guy
Photos: Jerrelle Guy
Charcuterie and cheese board

This breathtaking board of beautiful fresh fruits with a variety of dips to accompany them makes for a stunning addition to any brunch, shower, or summer soiree.

Its so gorgeous to look at and even better to graze on. This board proves that offering healthy options when entertaining doesn't have to be boring.

Serves 12+

Use 51cm board

Ingredients
1 whole pineapple
1 cup (125g) raspberries, divided
1½ cups (225g) blueberries, divided
1½ cups (225g) blackberries, divided
1½ cups (360g) chocolate pudding
¾ cup (180ml) caramel dip
1½ cups (360g) plain or vanilla Greek yoghurt
¾ cup (180g) mixed berry
whipped cream cheese
1 cup (150g) chunky granola
2 cups (300g) red grapes, in bunches
2 cups (300g) green grapes, in bunches
2 medium oranges, sliced into wedges
12 small watermelon wedges, with rinds
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
2 kiwifruits, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium starfruit, sliced
15 whole strawberries
1 red apple, thinly sliced
1 cup (150g) fresh whole cherries, with stems
2 bananas, peeled and sliced

Method
Vertically slice the pineapple in half, keeping the stem on one half. Hollow out the half with the stem to be used as a bowl. Reserve the pineapple flesh. Place the pineapple bowl in the centre of the board.

Cut the reserved pineapple flesh into chunks. Mix the pineapple chunks with quarter cup (38g) of the raspberries, quarter cup (31g) of the blueberries, and quarter cup (38g) of the blackberries. Put the pineapple and berry fruit mixture into the hollowed-out pineapple bowl.

Put the chocolate pudding, caramel dip, yoghurt, cream cheese, and granola in small serving bowls and place the bowls across the board.

Arrange the grape bunches on the board, followed by the orange slices, watermelon wedges, and sliced mango.

Fan kiwifruit slices around the yoghurt bowl, the starfruit around the cream cheese bowl, the strawberries around the chocolate pudding bowl, and the apple slices around the caramel dip bowl.

Place the cherries near the top of the pineapple stem and the banana slices next to the cherries.

Fill in the gaps on the board with the remaining three-quarters of a cup (94g) raspberries, 1¼ cups (190g) blueberries, and 1¼ cups (190g) blackberries.

 

Fruit and dips board

This board couldn't be easier to build and is quite possibly one of the most requested by my kids. Even my oldest, who claims he doesn't like yoghurt or fruit, will eat several bowls of healthy parfait creations when I serve this board.

He just gets into the action with everyone else, and it's amazing how much he loves it. And that example is exactly why we eat this way!

Whether for an easy family breakfast on a Sunday morning or part of a brunch party with friends, this parfait board is sure to please even the pickiest of palates.

Serves 6-8

Use 46cm x 28cm board

Ingredients
1½ cups (360g) plain Greek yoghurt
1½ cups (360g) strawberry Greek yoghurt
1½ cups (360g) blueberry Greek yoghurt
¼ cup (80ml) honey with honeycomb
¼ cup (25g) pomegranate seeds
¼ cup (40g) Grape-Nuts cereal
¼ cup (27g) slivered almonds
¼ cup (25g) cacao nibs
¼ cup (25g) multiseed ancient grains blend
¼ cup (60g) peanut butter or almond butter
1 cup (150g) raspberries
1 cup (150g) blackberries
¾ cup (120g) blueberries
8 strawberries, with some sliced and some cut in half
1 banana, peeled and sliced
1 cup (150g) fruit and nut granola
1 cup (150g) granola clusters
1 cup (150g) chocolate almond granola
¼ cup (20g) toasted coconut chips
½ cup (60g) chopped dried fruit

Method
Place the yogurts in large (473ml) Mason jars on 3 different areas of the board.

Put the honey with honeycomb in a serving bowl and place the bowl on the board.

Put the pomegranate seeds, Grape-Nuts, slivered almonds, cacao nibs, ancient grains blend, and peanut butter in small serving bowls and place the bowls across the board.

Add the berries and sliced banana to the board, followed by the granolas. Fill in any gaps with the toasted coconut chips and chopped dried fruit.


Build-your-own parfait board

Nothing elevates a gathering more than a beautifully presented charcuterie and cheese board. Its pretty much a given that if you walk into our house for a dinner party, you will be greeted by a big board covered in a delicious assortment of meats, cheeses, and nibbles that are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.

It's our favourite way to entertain and is a guaranteed way to impress our guests without a lot of stress. This board can be made as an appetiser or the main event.

Quantities depend on what course the board is being served for and how many you're serving. One thing I always make sure to do is encourage our guests to dig right in so they're not intimidated by it. The only rule is to enjoy!

Serves 6-8

Use 76cm x 38cm board

Ingredients
2 Tbsp (30g) fig jam
2 Tbsp (30g) strawberry preserves
2 Tbsp (30g) apricot preserves
2 Tbsp (22g) whole-grain seeded mustard
5cm portion of honeycomb with honey
35g mixed olives
227g aged white cheddar
227g Manchego
227g aged Gouda
140g triple creme cheese
140g blue Stilton cheese
12 slices coppa
10 slices prosciutto
10 slices piccante salami
10 slices Bavarian salami
4 slices mortadella
1 large bunch red grapes
1 large bunch green grapes
10 whole-grain crackers
15 seeded crackers
15 fruit and nut crackers or crisps
10 salted crackers
¼ cup (38g) Marcona almonds
¼ cup (38g) candied pecans
¼ cup (38g) sesame honey cashews
½ cup (65g) dried apricots
¼ cup (30g) dried cherries
5 dried orange slices
60g cornichons
½ pear, thinly sliced
½ yellow apple, thinly sliced
½ red apple, thinly sliced
3 fresh figs, cut in half

Method
Put the fig jam, strawberry preserves, apricot preserves, mustard, honeycomb with honey, and mixed olives into small serving bowls and place the bowls across the board. Arrange the cheeses on the board.

Arrange the meats on the board, followed by the red and green grape bunches.

Fan the crackers around a few of the serving bowls, around a cheese wedge, and in little stacks across the board.

Fill in the gaps with the nuts, dried fruits, cornichons, pear slices, apple slices, and figs. Its perfectly fine for items to touch each other and overlap.

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