When I entertain guests, I tend to make small portions of dishes served in combination, to whet appetite. I always aim to leave an impression on my guests' minds which they usually remember over time.
Children in particular tend to remember these eating experiences more...I have heard some of them describe me as "the aunty that served us those yumminesses!" I tell you, the feeling I get from such compliments is priceless.
A starter is the first plated dish served before the main dish and for me, it should be a way to introduce guests to what's to come. It should offer a little insight into what the guest will be getting. Many starters have so many possibilities and I believe a whole range of ingredients can be used to make fantastic starters. They could be made from seafood, soups, salads, carbohydrate rich ingredients etcetera etcetera. You as the cook only need to have some really wild foodie imagination.
The key things to bear in mind when making starters:
- Some are of the opinion that some ingredients cannot be used to make starters...., I use any sort of ingredients I fancy. I explore ingredients to use for their different tastes, flavours and textures. The key factors are imagination and creativity.
- You need to have a sound understand ingredients to know if to serve them on their own or in combination.
- This is the most important - starters must be served in miniaturised portions. Serve in small plates well garnished and presented.
- The interval between serving starters and the main dish should ideally be around 15 minutes. So ensure that what you serve as starters will be easy to eat up. There cannot be left over starters....
- Aim to serve perfect starters. A perfect starter would not be overwhelming in its portioning, will taste great, will contain well matched ingredients and of course will be presented beautifully. Something to make your guests feel special and well looked after!
Check out my plantain, yam and prawns starter platter. Serve with some spicy pepper sauce and white wine/drink of choice.
What you need
- Some puna yam cut into cubes
- Ripe plantain cut into chunks
- Fresh king prawns de-vein and rinse thoroughly.
- Freshly chopped basil
- Coconut oil
What to do
- Optionally toss the yam and plantain chunks with some salt and fry in some coconut oil. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes depending on the size of the chunks. Drain excess oil using some kitchen towel and set aside
- Also pan fry the prawns using a skillet or frying pan. Cook prawns for about 2 minutes on each side and sprinkle chopped basil over.
- Serve prawns with the yam and plantain chunks along with some spicy pepper sauce/dip.