Here's some boring food/family blogging for you: on a Saturday or Sunday night, every few weeks, we have a "snack night" - a platter of food and bread that we all help ourselves too.
I'm not sure how commonly realised this is, but all meals that combine large elements of red and green foods will always be good. For a platter we enjoy, the key ingredients tend to be:
a. a wood platter. Remember, wood platters make all food taste better. They just do.
b. oven roasted capsicum (peel off the burnt skin, season and and pour some good olive oil over it.) This is a really, really popular food in our house.
c. for green: in spring - Australian asparagus. Always tastes better than South American. Fried in a bit of butter and olive oil is perfect. Otherwise, just green beans, either pan fried with a bit of garlic, or steamed in the microwave with a bit of garlic infused olive oil on them afterwards. Have you tried Cobram Estate's garlic infused olive oil? It's really great and convenient:
d. Possible additional red: ripe tomatoes. Possibly served with cold mozzarella, or a bit of crumbed feta, olive oil and basil leaves if you have some. Red and green on the one plate works well.
e. Possible additional green: avocado, just mashed up with lemon and salt and pepper.
f. Further vegetable: olives. Whatever type you like.
g. Other possible vegetables: carrot sticks or celery, with which to each the semi-guacamoled avocado or (if you really need it) a dip from the supermarket. I like beetroot dip. Home made hummus is easy enough, too, as long as you have some tahini around.
g. Protein: smoked fish. A whole smoked trout, which costs all of $10 or so, with the skin peeled off but otherwise just laid out on the platter for people to attack, does the trick. Of course, smoked salmon, either of the cold or hot smoked variety, works fine too. The trout laid out with the head and tail still on looks good, though.
h. Protein: brie or another soft gooey cheese.
g. Bread: whatever you like, but makes some garlic butter and grill half of it on a stove top griddle for those who like yet more garlic flavour and a crisper base for cheese.
h. White wine. May as well make it a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Goes well with the smoked fish.
Some of these meals are the most enjoyable we share at home. And are not very expensive, given the pleasure derived from this tasty range of foods.