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Food presentation - how the hell do I make casserole look gastro-porn?

(28 Posts)
snigger Fri 09-Oct-09 10:14:46

Mini catering job tomorrow.

They want venison casserole with baby potatoes and carrots.

Dazzle me, please, with presentation ideas that aren't going to look like a pile of casserole sloshing round the middle of a plate.

They want everything brought to table on the plate, so serving veggies on the side isn't an option.

Aargh.

This is not my forte. Help.

MamaG Fri 09-Oct-09 10:16:10

oh God

ummm could you put the casserole in little bowls in the middle of the plate with veg artfully arranged around the bowl on teh plate?

GOD tell them its a farking CASSEROLE

snigger Fri 09-Oct-09 10:18:36

I know, what do they expect?!

grin I could shuffle in, in my pinny, fag hanging artfully from the side of my mouth, and mutter

"More stew, darlin'?"

and push out some hacking coughs.

Guimauve Fri 09-Oct-09 10:37:34

Drizzle a bit of oil, or eve better, herby oil, over the top? A couple of really shiny baby carrots with green tops still on perched artfully on top? Scattering of 'erbs? Do the venison in big enough pieces that they can be 'arranged' a bit on top of the rest? Game chips perched on top as is venison? Make it thick enough that you can dollop it in the middle of a hyoooooge plate and still have some space for fancy-schmancy stuff round the edge?

Guimauve Fri 09-Oct-09 10:38:39

Build some kind of structure from new potatoes? Perhaps some sort of log cabin effort? grin

Bleh Fri 09-Oct-09 10:40:01

I think have it in a bowl, not just sploshing about the plate. You could try and go for a "rustic" look.

Guimauve Fri 09-Oct-09 10:40:35

Do roasted venison, arrange on plate completely separate from all other veg, drizzle casserole-y sauce around and serve it as 'deconstructed casserole' grin

Guimauve Fri 09-Oct-09 10:41:08

<delirious with hunger>

snigger Fri 09-Oct-09 10:42:38

ROFL at log cabin.

I think the bowl might be the way - I'm a bit crap at presentation, tbh, if it's not in a wee tower astride a drizzle of something.

<<ponders leaning tower of venison option>>

Like the game chips idea, shall steal that.

Guimauve Fri 09-Oct-09 10:44:05

Wear plunging V-neck a la Nigella, to distract guests from appearance of food?

Guimauve Fri 09-Oct-09 10:44:39

Game chips may go soggy though sad

Guimauve Fri 09-Oct-09 10:45:15

Just use some beef McCoys - more sturdy grin

Guimauve Fri 09-Oct-09 10:45:38

<Going for a lie down>

snigger Fri 09-Oct-09 10:47:05

Guimauve, do you need a food parcel?

Guimauve Fri 09-Oct-09 10:47:16

Mmmmmmmmm....deconstructed venison casserole!!

Guimauve Fri 09-Oct-09 10:47:57

Better link!

Guimauve Fri 09-Oct-09 10:49:24

Yes please!

snigger Fri 09-Oct-09 10:54:34

Aw, a ickle pastry bowl.

That's really cute.

I'll make you one and leave it here grin

Thanks for that link, that's genius.

TheArmadillo Fri 09-Oct-09 11:02:24

they were discussing this in 'olive' this month.

The suggestion was to serve in shallow bowls and to leave the meat and veg chunkier than normal so it held it's shape. When putting in the bowl serve out meat and veg with slotted spoon then ladle sauce over top. Try and make it so veg/meat piles up in middle.

I would use baby carrots if you can get them like Guimauve said and any other baby veg. That could look good.

Guimauve Fri 09-Oct-09 11:13:55

You could do rustic-country-style-pastry-bowl-chic and dollop it up in hollowed-out-bread bowls. You can never have too much bread for mopping up tasty juice!

You might have to get some KFC lemony wipes hot towels for hand wiping afterwards though!

<Going to find some elevenses before she dies of hunger>

ZacharyQuack Fri 09-Oct-09 11:21:40

Individual bowls with pastry tops? You could just cut circles of flaky pastry, bake them and place one on top of each bowl.

thereistheball Fri 09-Oct-09 12:05:48

I second little puff pastry tops (even tiny circles would be nice, ie more like a garnish than part of the dish), but if you can't manage that then try to put the ingredients of the casserole onto the plate (what you want is a large flat-rimmed bowl really) one by one, so you start with potatoes (cut them into discs not chunks), then balance a couple of whole baby carrots or heavily-slanted carrot slices on top, then balance the meat on top of that. Spoon sauce over and round being careful not to drown it. If you have to have chunks of potato and carrot, then balance a couple of chives across the top so they cross over towards one end, making a triangular shape. The structural integrity of your veg and meat towers depends quite heavily on how you cut up the veg in the first place.

Failing all of that scatter the casserole with plenty of chopped flat-leaf parsley. Don't worry about scattering the rim of the bowls too.

thereistheball Fri 09-Oct-09 12:08:53

I second little puff pastry tops (even tiny circles would be nice, ie more like a garnish than part of the dish), but if you can't manage that then try to put the ingredients of the casserole onto the plate (what you want is a large flat-rimmed bowl really) one by one, so you start with potatoes (cut them into discs not chunks), then balance a couple of whole baby carrots or heavily-slanted carrot slices on top, then balance the meat on top of that. Spoon sauce over and round being careful not to drown it. If you have to have chunks of potato and carrot, then balance a couple of chives across the top so they cross over towards one end, making a triangular shape. The structural integrity of your veg and meat towers depends quite heavily on how you cut up the veg in the first place.

Failing all of that scatter the casserole with plenty of chopped flat-leaf parsley or a sprinkling of fresh orange zest (which you could tease into a sort of nest and balance on top of the dish, or just scatter as if it were pasley). Don't worry about getting the rim of the bowls with the garnish, but the rims must not have any dribbles of gravy on them. You'll need a cloth to dish up with to clean these up before you garnish.

SomeGuy Fri 09-Oct-09 13:36:31

I did a casserole the other day, but cooked the veg separately. Basically I cooked the meat for about 3 hours in a bottle of red wine, stock, herbs, garlic, onions, etc. Then I removed the meat from the casserole, strained the sauce to remove the unsightly bits of onions, boiled it down to a poncey 'jus', rather than a plebeian 'gravy', and served it with vegetables, which were roasted entirely separately, drizzled with olive oil.

Worked well - it's much easier cooking veg and meat separately as you don't have to worry about the veg getting soggy before the meat becomes suitably tender. You could roast both the baby potatoes and the carrots while the meat is casseroled on its own.

I do like the look of that Rosemary Shrager recipe, only thing I think is it does need a bit of sauce on the meat, and I think rather than puff pastry some sort of potato gratin in the same shape would be better.

Guimauve Sun 11-Oct-09 19:59:35

So what did you go with in the end snigger? Hope it went down well!

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