Part of living a balanced life is taking the opportunity to stop and enjoy a peaceful moment wherever possible. When there’s lots of be done, meals are often rushed affairs and this doesn’t help with stress levels. Taking some time to present your food in an elegant, appealing way will make each meal a bit more of an occasion, and help add some welcome balance to a busy day.
The Food Bowl Trend
Take some tips from the food bowl trend to dress up your dinner. It makes meal preparation very easy – start with a carbohydrate base such as rice, couscous or starchy vegetables, add an array of tasty vegetables and then complete with a handful of delicious protein like eggs, tofu, meat or fish. Then get creative with colours and textures for a bowl that looks as beautiful as it tastes.
Incorporating a variety of raw or lightly cooked vegetables keeps the colours vibrant as you get your vitamins. Just slice or shred them and arrange each one in an overlapping layer on top of the carb base around the edge of the bowl, to create a deliciously balanced rainbow. Protein can also become prettier, for example consider marinating meat or fish in fresh and colourful herbs or spices. Once cooked, slice symmetrically and spread the pieces across one side of the bowl. If you are vegetarian, dust avocado halves with paprika or slice an egg in half to reveal its bright yellow yolk. As a finishing touch, adding a speckling of sesame or chia seeds adds welcome crunch and a sprinkling of jewel-like pomegranate seeds helps add a Middle East-inspired tang of sweetness.
Top of the Heap
There’s something very satisfying about dipping in to a delicately piled up plateful. Not only does it make for a striking plateful, but some ingredients are at their best this way, too – for example, placing fish fillets on top of a bed of vegetables skin-side-up keeps the skin texture light and crisp. It’s an easy way to elevate simple, nutritious but less elegant sides like plain grains, ratatouille and pulses, by using layers of colour and texture to create a tempting tower of flavours. Just don’t forget to leave the lightest layers to last.
If you’re short on time and want to make an impact on your plate fast, follow a traditional tip from professional chefs. Think of your plate as a clock, and place the main part of the meal – for example, roast chicken - at six o’clock, closest to the diner. Then place helpings of the side dishes at the 2 o’clock and 11 o’clock positions, so the plate is balanced, but still interestingly asymmetrical.