You may of spotted Elise Loprete's divine platters before. A sensory feast, she layers the most beautiful produce, flavours and flowers together to create an abundant spread. Here, the founder of The Poor Girl's Pantry shares her tips for entertaining, along with two easy recipes.
Photography by Will Braden.
How did the idea of Poor Girl’s Pantry come about?
“Initially, I created The Poor Girls Pantry as an Instagram page. It was just a hobby for me to post pictures of healthy meals I had created on a budget. I never thought people would actually follow my page, it was just something to do really. Sooner or later it turned into delivering lunches to around thirty companies within the Byron Shire.”
“Then one day a friend asked if I could make a platter for an event she was hosting. I had never created one before, but gave it a go. Everyone loved it, to my surprise! From there it snowballed and I was catering for all kinds of events in all different areas across Australia.”
How do you go about preparing for events? Do you have any crucial steps you abide by?
“Three crucial steps would be: get an abundance of food from different shops for variety, get the prettiest flowers you can find, and don’t forget your cheese knives! This tends to happen to me a lot, which is very annoying.”
What is it you love most about entertaining?
“Honestly, I just love feeding people – it fills my heart with so much joy. I never thought I was much like my Nonna until I began catering for people. I love watching people’s faces when they see what I’ve created, it’s nice knowing people appreciate something you’ve put a lot of love and soul into.”
Can you share your favourite memory from around the table?
“There are so many! But once I attended a wedding that I had created the grazing table for. I’d never seen what I’d created actually being consumed in real life, as I usually leave the events before they start. I stood near the table and watched everyone. The two metre platter I had created was gone in around seven minutes. It was crazy – and so good to know nothing goes to waste!”
CARAMELISED ONION & BEETROOT DIP
3 brown onions, halved, then diced
850g (two tins) whole baby beetroots, strained
2 tbsp olive oil spread or olive oil
2 tbsp coconut sugar
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
Drain liquid from tinned beetroot and put aside. Then dice the brown onions, put aside also.
Begin to sauté for roughly ten minutes, continually stirring, until the onion become translucent.
Remove from heat once cooked and set aside for roughly 10-15 minutes.
Once semi-cooled, add everything to a high speed blender or food processor until everything is well combined and there is a smooth consistency.
BUCKWHEAT FLAT BREAD
2 cups buckwheat flour
2 tbsp olive oil
¾ cup water
1 tbsp garlic salt
Buckwheat flour (to spread on bench top)
Olive oil (for pan frying)
Place flour into a mixing bowl and create a well in the middle of the flour. Add olive oil and garlic salt to the well. Begin to mix the oil and salt through the flour, until a crumbly mixture forms.
Slowly pour a quarter of the water to the flour. Stir until it begins to combine. Repeat this until all the water has been added to the bowl.
Begin kneading the flour mix together to form a dough, ensuring it is well combined.
Once kneaded, wrap cling wrap around your dough ball, and place in the fridge. Refrigerate for at least one hour (it can stay in there for up to 24 hours).
When ready, remove dough from fridge and spread some flour on a clean bench top. Pinch off a handful of dough. Begin to flatten, by pressing your hands together with the dough in the middle. Place on the bench top and begin to further flatten with a rolling pin, (if you don’t have a rolling pin, a drinking glass works well also), until the dough is quite thin.
Repeat this process, adding more flour to the bench top if needed, until all the dough is now flattened into small flat breads. In a frypan on medium heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil.
Place the flat breads in the fry pan (roughly one at a time, around one minute on each side). Ensure you keep an eye on them.
Add extra oil throughout the cooking process, to ensure your flat bread doesn’t burn.
Sprinkle some herbs on top if you’d like for colour, and serve with your beetroot dip.