As Australia gets dressed up to enjoy an afternoon of drinks and punting, we’ve decided to put together something a little fancy. A tribute to the festivities of the day and the marvellous weather of the season – we’ve served up an edible Spring garden for the Melbourne Cup.
The last thing you want to do when you’re fashionable dressed for the races, is wrestle a hot and heavy meal. So we’ve created a deliciously pint-sized garden plate-scape which one can delicately nibble at between sips of champagne and cheering on the horses.
The spread may look complicated, but it’s easier than you think to put together.
Melt good quality butter over low heat and add sage leaves and capers.
Let it simmer away for about 15 minutes so that the ingredients become crispy. Dry the capers and sage mix on a paper towel to drain off the excess butter and allow to cool.
You can then crush the mix easily with your fingers to make a crumb which can be sprinkled over a white platter. Don’t worry if this step looks messy, the “plants” will cover what looks like a complete mess.
This base is the perfect hit of herb salted butter to compliment the rest of the components.
The “Planter pots”
We were lucky to be one of the first in the country to get our hands on a new range of high quality smoked salmon by Superior Gold which has just hit supermarket shelves nationwide.
It’s a delicious Australian Atlantic Smoked Salmon cured in sea salt and Bundaberg raw sugar, before being delicately double smoked over Beechwood for a unique depth of flavour – the star of the dish. We used one 100g pack of this salmon and it serves approximately 6 people for a light canape.
Over some glad wrap, carefully separate the salmon slices and trim them up into an assortment of different rectangles of varying length and width.
It’s a simple one – cream cheese with finely diced sweet pickled gerkins.
Mix well and spread over the salmon rectangles. This is probably the most fiddly part because you need to spread the mix as evenly as possible and to the edges of each piece of salmon.
Keep some of the salmon mix to roll up into little balls to sturdy the base of the salmon “pots”.
Gather a variety of fresh micro herbs and edible flowers. We didn’t have to go far because our herb garden is blooming this Spring.
If you have a herb garden of your own, rather than the big leaves, pick the smaller stems and leaves. We were able to gather an assortment of chive flowers, parsley, mint and coriander. Pick some long pieces of chives to use as edible string to wrap some of the bigger salmon parcels together.
Your local grocer should have a variety of herbs in season along with edible flowers. If you’re picking flowers from your garden, then make sure you check they are edible first… but as a general rule, most flowers from edible herbs are. Chive flowers in particular have an amazing purple colour and taste peppery. They look great in salads and for the general ‘prettying up’ of dishes.
Roll up the salmon rectangles firmly yet delicately. Tie the bigger ones up with long pieces of chive strings. You may even be able to manage a bow.
Randomly place the salmon pots around and on top of your platter (a flat, white platter works the best to highlight the creation) and then start popping the edible flowers and herbs on top. The cream cheese centre of the salmon pots holds the stems and leaves very easily. This is the creative step where you just keep going until you think it’s done. You’re platter will soon transform into a gorgeous garden scape.
Serve it Up
The bubbly is a necessity on this day and goes smoothly with this canape. We love the Tasmanian House of Arras Methode Traditionelle Blanc de Blanc Chardonnay.
For more of cocktail, add frozen cubes of fruit puree like guava juice and top with fresh mint. The guava cubes slowly melt through the bubbly and provides a refreshing hit. Oh and the drink colour-matches the canape too which is a happy coincidence.
Place bite-sized crackers nearby and serve the whole thing up for an impressive entertaining spread.
Hope you get to try out our little Spring invention… and if you’ve the bet on the races, we wish you luck!