If you’re planning an autumn get-together for your friends and their children, a buffet is a great way to create a relaxed atmosphere and a sense of fun, without the formality of a sit-down meal. Using seasonal ingredients and colour schemes will really bring your buffet to life – here are our top tips.
Autumn is all about deep, dark and contrasting colours, and you can easily bring these onto your buffet table. Use deep reds, browns, greens and purples for runners, napkins and place mats, as these will contrast well with sparkling white serving plates and glassware.
Decorative autumnal leaves, faux fruit and a grand centrepiece will help to make your buffet table sing.
Using a hollowed out pumpkin as a base for your centrepiece is one potential option, or alternatively you could buy a bundle of miniature pumpkins and arrange them decoratively with candles and pieces from your garden (or the local park) such as pine cones, sprigs of greenery and conkers, for a centrepiece that’s very much in keeping with the season. Get your children involved by asking them to collect the ‘ingredients’ for the centrepiece – and they could even try their hands at designing it, too.
Attractive food presentation is just as important as getting the right colour scheme, and you can make your buffet look extra stylish by making the most of the rustic, harvest theme of the season.
Using slate platters or wood-effect plastic chopping boards (rather than conventional serving platters) to serve cheese and ham or bite-sized canapés is an easy way to achieve this look.
When it comes to the food itself, continue with the rustic theme and go for easy finger food. Kids can be famously fussy about eating their vegetables, but they’re sure to love autumnal veg chips – which you can make by roughly chopping sweet potato or parsnip depending on your preference, seasoning with oil and herbs, before placing in the oven until golden and crisp. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche, or ketchup for little ones.
Autumn is, of course, the time of year for celebrating Halloween. So, if your buffet party falls towards the end of October, why not embrace the spirit of the season and indulge in a spot of pumpkin carving?
To protect your dining table from mess, hollow out and de-seed the pumpkins in advance – you may even want to use the flesh and seeds to incorporate into your cooking. You can then team the children into pairs (or threes, depending on numbers) and challenge them to carve a creative design, with a prize for the most impressive pumpkin.
The designs don’t necessarily need to be Halloween themed, either: the kids could carve the faces of favourite cartoon characters, or even self-portraits. They will need a set of basic tools to complete their designs, so here’s a helpful list of tools, many of which you may find in your DIY kit or kitchen:
- Linoleum (or biscuit) cutter
- Wood gouge
- Miniature saw
- Keyhole saw
- Melon baller