Part 2 | For fear I might forget Part 1 of “a well-laid table” it seems pointless to wait.
Laying the foundation of your table setting is one thing, building it up can be great fun!
Photo | a well-laid table – from Part 1
I always start setting the table a day, and sometimes 2-3 days ahead of a dinner party. You might well ask why, and the answer is simple. Starting early allows me time to gradually build the table setting as the mood takes me. I can then focus on the food during the day and have fun at night.
In all honesty, I am still working on the having fun part, spending way too many hours in the kitchen. I never know if it is my menopausal flush or the heat of the ovens, and yet I suspect both!
Tip | invest a large net to cover your dining table. I purchased a white roll of mosquito net, 5000 x 2000 (or thereabouts) from Spotlight. Even better still, it was only $50! It works magic on a dining table, once set, keeping everything clean and free of dust (but hey who has dust in their house 😩).
My best investment has been the black food stands. I purchased these from Table Culture (my absolute favourite exclusive housewares store in Subiaco). I understand that they are now difficult to purchase, possibly because a number of my friends have them as well. Ask anyway, Paddy can always put your name down.
Photo | my stands come in 3 different heights
You can also use bowls (refer to my home page photo…that table was built on an assortment of glass bowls). Whichever you select as your “special” make sure they are sturdy enough to accommodate your serving dishes. Could be an absolute nightmare if your dinner collapsed under the weight of the stand. However, let’s be optimistic!!!
My stands play out on the table and our stone bench (the serving area). I love to layer in as many ways possible. Think about how much more interesting this is when the eye travels across space in many different directions. The sensory load for the eyes are just as important as the mouth.
Invest in some great boards and serving bowls (including oversized) and use these to further elevate your food.
Photo | serving bowls in white (and stands of course)!
Photo | bowls and stands in use on the stone bench (a different occasion)
On this occasion, I wanted to get away from flowers and do something a little more organic. I potted a mix of fresh herbs and small cacti. Each potted in different size glass bowls, adding large nuts to decorate the inside of the bowls, adding walnuts and some dried limes which I purchased from the Iranian shop. The fresh earthy mint and coriander gave off a delicious aroma. Better still, you can plant them after your dinner party and you have fresh herbs at the ready.
Surprisingly, I went to Ottolenghi style (my absolute favourite style) and served the main dishes to the table in a large round serving dishes. In all, I used three large serving dishes (all the same because I like continuity) and ran them down the centre of the table on the black stands, (having removed the wooden boards post the antipasto entree).
Think of your table as a work of art. It can be minimalist or it can be extravagant, it doesn’t much matter. Just let it reflect you and your style.
Photo |table ready for the food (oh and guests of course)!
Photo | the potted herbs worked well on the dining table after the dinner
To follow | I will share in my next blog, the Ottolenghi inspired menu for the evening. This might give you some ideas for your next social dinner with great friends.