Posts Tagged ‘ideas’

Simple Antipasto Ideas

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Antipasto is one of the quintessential starter dishes that everyone loves. Not only are there typically an assortment of cured meats and cheeses, but also a variety of vegetable dishes to accompany them. Not only is antipasto delicious to eat, it can also be very appealing to the eye and allows your guests an opportunity to sample a variety of dishes while relaxing and mingling with each other.

There are many simple antipasto ideas that you can use when hosting a party or get together. The trick is to know, and serve, the antipasto staples. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can add a twist of your own to mix it up and infuse it with a few different flavours from around the world.



Cheese is the mainstay of an antipasto and having a variety of dish options can add significantly to the meal. Italian cheeses such as mozzarella and provolone are popular staples, but some more exotic Italian cheeses such as ricotta salata and gorgonzola can also add flavour to the dish. Try experimenting and do not be afraid of inserting some rather sharp or aged cheeses. Your guests will have different tastes and select what they like to eat.


Cured meats often accompany antipasto meals and small cured salami pieces, prosciutto, ham, and many other meats add variety of flavours to the meal. Be sure to have manageable sized bites so that people can sample a variety of dishes without becoming too full.


Vegetables will also add depth and flavour to an antipasto meal and additions such as marinated cauliflower, eggplant dips, stuffed hot Italian peppers, nuts, and olives will all accentuate the meal. You could also have small pieces of warm Italian bread cut up with olive oil to dip it in on the side which would add to the taste and flavour of the meal.

Global Infusions

With globalisation the tendency has been to move towards new global foods and to further diversify the global pallet. While antipasto is a essentially an Italian dish, adding in some flavours from around the world can only add to the variety of the dish, which is what antipasto is about.

Try adding flavours from around the world in the general theme of antipasto: cured meats such as jamon serrano and cheeses such as brie work well within the theme of antipasto. Chinese pickles and Thai hot peppers can also add to the meal.


Antipasto is easy to prepare and delicious to eat! Be sure to experiment with a variety of flavours to enjoy and share with your guests. We have a large range of food items, perfect for antipasto, so call in to our deli and have a look!



Gourmet at Home with Simon’s: Cooking with Halloumi Cheese

Monday, September 24th, 2012


This beautiful, smooth halloumi cheese comes from Barossa Valley in South Australia. Unlike regular halloumi cheeses that have an extreme squeaky and rubbery texture, the Barossa halloumi is smooth and soft, but firm enough to hold its shape when grilled.

Commonly used in Greek-style dishes, grilled halloumi can be used in a variety of simple dishes to add that extra kick of cheesy-salty flavour and springy texture. The next time you put together a fresh salad, lamb burger or a full-on barbecue, toss in a few slices of halloumi to add a twist to your dish.

To grill halloumi, thinly slice haloumi (about 1 cm-thick), grill on both sides until browned and eat immediately while it’s still warm to enjoy the full light and milky taste of the Barossa halloumi.

Here’s a simple halloumi recipe combo from our Delicatessen Manager at Chapel Hill, Brisbane:

Wrap a piece of grilled halloumi with a slice of sopressa (we used Della Nonna sopressa in the picture above) and add some rocket to bring out the flavours of both the Barossa halloumi and the Della Nonna sopressa. The grilled halloumi goes brilliantly with fresh figs as the sweetness in the figs complement the flavours of the halloumi and refreshes your palate at the same time. Pair the halloumi, figs and sopressa with your favourite wine. Not sure which wines, fruits or nuts go best with your favourite cheeses? Refer to our in-store cheese & wine guide in our Brisbane deli for the full list, or check out our soft cheese and wine list here.

Here’s another idea on how to add halloumi to your cooking, adding a little twist of Greek flavours to your favourite classic dishes:

Rosemary & Mint Lamb Burgers

These rosemary and mint lamb burger patties are all made in-house by our butchers. Grill the lamb patties on the barbie or pan-fry it to your liking. Superb with grilled halloumi cheese, sliced tomato, onion, lettuce and tzatziki sauce or your favourite relish in lightly toasted buttered burger bun…yum!

Easy Tzatziki Sauce Recipe

Ingredients and Method

Plain Greek yoghurt 450ml

2 Lebanese cucumbers — one to be shredded and the other to be diced

Salt and pepper

1 lemon

Mix all the ingredients together: shredded fresh cucumber, diced cucumber, minced garlic, lemon juice, finely grated lemon rind and salt and pepper to taste.


Variations–eggplant tzatziki

– For an eggplant tzatziki, char-grill an eggplant and set to cool on a paper towel

– Once the grilled eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel skin and mash eggplant with fork

– Stir through olive oil, tahini and tzatziki sauce

You might also like:

Party Essentials: How to Entertain with an Easy and Cost-effective Gourmet Cheese Platter

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Spring Entertaining Ideas

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Here’s one of our favourite spring entertaining ideas to get you in the mood for spring: Simon’s (edible) Echidna!

We made two combinations of pinchos (pintxo) for the echidnas’ ‘spikes’:

The first: sundried tomato, half a feta olive and a cube of cheddar (pictured below)

The second: pepperbells stuffed with smoked salmon, a cube of cheddar and a silver of watermelon (pictured below) — the watermelon brings sweetness and moisture to the combination.

We  took about 15 – 20 minutes to put together the echidnas. The platter cost about $15 – $20. Get creative and entertain effortlessly this spring at an affordable cost.

p.s. Once your guests are done picking away, simply take the fruit stand (the pineapple halves) back to the kitchen, slice them up, and serve as a palette cleanser.


The Vintage Gold Cheddar is a 42-month-old cheddar with a very sharp taste and is locally produced by King Island Dairy. Cheddar is simple to present as it holds its shape when cut. The Vintage Gold Cheddar is great in sandwiches. With matured cheddar, our Delicatessen Manager advises to indulge and enjoy the cheddar by itself, having it with fruits or antipastos that complement its distinct flavour.

If you have any other spring entertaining ideas that you’d like to share, tell us on our Facebook page–we’d love to hear from you!


WIN a Mother’s Day gift hamper worth up to $100

Thursday, April 26th, 2012


Tell us in 25 words or less why you love your mum and be in the running to win one of our three Mother’s Day  gift hampers!




How to enter:


1. Spend $20 in a single receipt at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery during the *promotion period


2. Fill out the competition entry form given by our cashier


3. Drop off your form into the contest form collection box and await  our winner announcement!


There will be one winner.

Competition for our Mother’s Day gift hamper ends 5pm, 10th May 2012. Winners will be announced on 11th May 2012 by 9pm on our website and Facebook page and will be contacted via phone or email. Download our Mother’s Day gift competition competition poster Simon’s Mother’s Day Competition Poster download to see the full Terms & Conditions.

Entry is only open to Australian residents who have purchased $20 or more in a single receipt at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery. Employees (and their immediate families) of the Promoter, Simon’s Gourmet Gallery ABN 84-097-623-848 and agencies associated with this promotion are ineligible to enter.

*promotion period: 7.00am (EST),  26th April 2012 – 5.00pm (EST),  10th May 2012


Melbourne Cup Cheese Platter Tips

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Melbourne Cup — a time to be merry and extra jolly on a weekday, and we can’t complain — fancy hats, tasty nibbles, some bubbly, and an extravagant meat and cheese platter ought to get us in Brisbane into the spirit of things! For Melbourne Cup this week, we’re sharing some crash course tips on serving up an amazing cheese platter to answer questions that we’re frequently asked in our Chapel Hill store — what to serve with cheese, and how to serve cheese?


Melboune Cup cheese platter tips: preparation 

Remove cheese from fridge 30 minutes before serving. Cover cheese loosely with a damp towel or plastic wrap until serving time. For whole wheels or large wedges of cheese, just cut how much you think you’ll need and put the rest back into the fridge. In general, allow 30 grams per cheese per person, but no more than a total of 120 grams per person — the more types of cheeses you serve, the smaller the portion each person should get.

Serve cheese with accompaniments on the side, do not let them touch the cheese to avoid mixing the flavours. Cheese is best served on a large platter to give your guests more room to manoeuvre  around the cutting board.


At the party, you can’t go wrong with these classic cheese companions

Fruit — pear, green apple, grapes, apricots (fresh, dried or glace), figs (fresh, dried or glace), dates, dried muscatel grapes, quince, fig, pear or plum pastes (we have a lovely range of Maggie Beer pastes at Simons to match your taste!)

Bread — crusty bread, sourdough, almond bread, fruit bread, and olive bread

Nuts — walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashew, and smoked almonds

Pickles  —  Gherkins / cornichons, and pickled onions

Scented honey or truffle honey

Try a combo and layer the ingredients mentioned above. A slice of cheese on a pear slice, topped with some fig paste!

And if you’re out of cheese ideas, check out our award-winning cheese range at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery in Chapel Hill for some inspiration. To find out more neat tips and recipes on cheese, check out Naomi Crisante’s ‘Cheese Matters exploring, cooking and enjoying cheese’ cook book at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery.