Have I ever told you about my brother Paul? I'm getting like my Mum, I can't remember if I've told you stories before. Paul's my genius little brother. He basically knows, like, everything. What he doesn't know isn't worth knowing (sorry macrame and needlepoint).
When we were growing up, Paul was like our little ginger doll we all doted over. Except for the times we tortured him. Once, when Mum was busy inside, we convinced Paul to hop into a yabby basket that couldn't have been more than 40cm x 30cm in size. We strung it up on the washing line and left him hanging there, running off to play in the front yard, him screaming in our wake. Now that would be evil enough if the washing line didn't hang over a 2 metre drop. To a three year old boy, that's like a sheer 1,000 metre cliff face. Mum looked at us all a little differently after that day.
All the years of torture don't seem to have affected him too much apart from the strange obsession with fire. But seriously, most of the time it was Paul and I playing together because we are only separated by around 18 months. These days, our interests are more hot cakes than Hot Wheels. When we get together, it's a crazy cook up that can last for hours (days even).
I had Paul and his even more gorgeous gal, Alex, around for lunch on the weekend. Still feeling poorly, I decided a roast was the go: throw it in the oven and wait a couple of hours. Minimum fuss and maximum deliciousness. But I knew I needed something a little fabulous to kick off the meal. A plate.
This plate of goodies is pretty simple to whip up. The prosciutto and salami are from Skinner and Hackett. The salami is fennel and pork and crazy intense. The prosciutto is from Parma in Italy and a beautiful representation of the cured porky goodness. The beetroot chips are so quick to make: cut the vegetable using a mandolin onto a baking tray, spray with oil and bake. Kale chips we saw the other day. The cheddar is a crazy little number from St Clement's (up the road from Skinner and Hackett).
You can mix and match any of the ingredients here. Some nuts maybe? Olives are good too. I love a smattering of smoked salmon and can't get enough of dips. I knew this combo would appeal to Paul as he's a big meat eater and loves some unusual ingredients (enter golden beetroot).
They both loved the plate. To my surprise, Paul seemed to dig the beetroot chips most of all. Maybe he's developing healthier tastes in his old age. Probably trying to get the last laugh by outliving us all. He's smart: he'd play the longest con like that.