We all like to entertain, whether it is family, friends or work colleagues. And a lot of you enjoy cooking for your parties and lays a table that has an envious spread of delicacies! Even though the dishes you prepare are perfect, is your dining table a perfect one? The perfect table needn't be in a magazine or in your friend's house, you can lay the perfect table too by following these simple steps:
- Table Linen: Made with ground chickpeas or fava beans or both, these crispy fried patties or 'tikkis' are a street food staple in the Mediterranean region. A Vegetarian delight, this snack can be made into a meal by putting it in pita bread much like a variation of a 'vada pav' with a dressing made of hung curd and yogurt or plain hummus.
- Plates: Made across Greece, Turkey and Arab nations, Dolmas are made with deeply flavoured wine leaves which are preserved in brine which adds to the tanginess. The leaves are softened and cured and used as a wrap for seasoned rice. Dolmas can also be made with vegetables like aubergine, tomato or zucchini, by stuffing with rice and slow cooking to soften. These are served with condiments and can eaten both cold or warm.
- Cutlery: A great way to enjoy vegetables, a Shashlik is essentially any food that is skewered and cooked over a coal fire. Mediterranean shashlik usually includes tomatoes, zucchini, variety of bell peppers, cubed cottage cheese and even fruit to add more flavour and a touch of sweetness. Exotics like a variety of mushrooms add more to a shashlik. Sometimes the vegetables are marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, spices or herbs so that they absorb the flavour when grilled.
- Glasses: Essentially a 'pulao', pilafs are a common side dish in Mediterranean meals. Since this region is so vast, they consume carbs in a variety of ways, from pastas and starch dense risottos to light leavened breads like pita and rice preparations like pilaf. Usually cooked in seasoned broth, pilafs are sometimes flavoured with whole spices with additions like vegetables, legumes and even beans and nuts. Garnished with rich dried fruits and a side of Mezze condiments like baba ghanoush, hummus and tzatziki.
The final touches can include a cloth napkin to the far left of the entire set, usually kept beside the forks. You can also try innovative folding styles for the napkins and place on top or beside the dinner plates or use an attractive napkin ring, you could Hotel style and place it curled in the empty water glass in the placement. Personalise your ensemble with an attractive centrepiece of flowers or centred on a theme, like the cuisine you are serving for that particular meal. And all this, would make for a perfect dinner table.