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Oysters…love them or hate them, they are an iconic Australian summer indulgence! We LOVE them – as simple canapés or as spectacular oyster bar.

Selecting the oysters
Start with the freshest Australian oysters you can find! All Australian oysters are farmed for sustainability reasons, so be sure to do your research and find a supplier with a great reputation for freshness who shucks (opens oysters) to order – you want to eat the oysters within a few hours of shucking if possible. The freshest oysters taste just like the sea and if they are not too big they have a sweet salty flavour with a creamy texture.

Australia has three varieties of oysters

  • Pacific Oyster Traditionally grown in Tasmania and South Australia.
  • Sydney Rock Oyster Victoria & NSW border
  • Agasini Oyster a newer variety, grown in South Australia and NSW

We believe that it’s always nice to have a variety of tastes and flavours, so we would always try to have a selection of the above. But oysters are also seasonal, with spawning affecting flavour and texture, so speak to your supplier about the best option for your event.

For the setup
The number one priority is keeping the oysters cool. We recommend large punch bowls filled with ice for the oysters to sit on top of, or creating your own ice trays by filling large containers with water and placing them in the freezer overnight (we even include slices of lemon and lime to freeze into the trays which looks amazing!).

Once your oysters are chilled and ready to serve, it’s time for the accompaniments – toppings, dressings, sauces, etc…yum! The traditional toppings are essential, ensure you have lots of fresh lemon and lime wedges and freshly cracked pepper. For some more adventurous guests be sure to have some tabasco, horseradish and some other varieties of citrus – grapefruit and blood oranges are a delicious addition.

We also recommend some home-made vinaigrettes and dressings. Below is a recipe for a simple French Style Mignonette which is always a crowd pleaser, as well as a Japanese Dressing for something different. If you have different varieties of oysters we also suggest labelling the groups according to flavours – your supplier can help you with this! E.g. briny, strong, mild, silky texture, meaty texture.

Some extra tips
For a bit of extra theatre, we suggest hiring a professional oyster shucker to work your oyster bar and shuck on request. This not only ensures an incredibly fresh oyster, but is also a great opportunity for guests to appreciate the skill involved in extracting that beautiful oyster meat!

Oysters are perfect with champagne. Ensure you have some bottles on ice to serve alongside your oysters so that guests can enjoy this sublime pairing in the summer sunshine!

RECIPES

Traditional French Style Mignonette

  • ¼ cup dry white wine or champagne
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons shallot – very finely diced
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Mix, chill and serve.

Japanese Dressing

  • 3 tablespoon micro-planed ginger
  • 5 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 finely chopped spring onion, white & green part
  • Toasted sesame seed

If you like it spicy add Togarashi chilli seasoning

Mix ginger, vinegar & soy, chill and serve with a sprinkling of sesame and togarashi.

Ms Zebra Says: No summer canapé list is every truly complete without oysters and champagne – am I right?! Such an easy way to show off to guests and an easy DIY!

About Ed Dixon Food Design: EDFD have been bringing wedding dreams to life since 2001. From award winning catering, exclusive venues, styling and staff, we’ve perfected the art of the perfect wedding celebration! This is the biggest day of your life, enjoy the moments and let us take care of the rest.

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Jug cocktails are the best idea for feeding a crowd and we particularly love them for a wedding, especially during The Feast Issue. So today, we’ve got one of our favourite cocktails – the citrusy, minty mojito in jug form!

A mojito brings to life all the summer vibes, so I know it’s just the ticket for a batch cocktail for a wedding. I am a citrus lover, so my mojitos are heavy on the lime side, and it’s that combined with the mint and bucketloads of ice that makes this one a definite favourite of mine.

The thing I love about a mojito is it can be a lazy, or intense effort cocktail – it’s just up to you. For instance, I rarely have sugar syrup lying around, so I grab the nearest sugar (white is always classic, but brown sugar brings this delicious caramel flavour). Don’t have fresh lime juice? Or rather, too lazy to juice limes? Easy, just grab a muddler (or rolling pin!) and squish your fresh limes straight in the jug.

I also love a mojito made with champagne- just substitute half the sofa water for the bubbles, and add in fresh fruit like strawberries or blueberries for a pretty in pink drink.

Ingredients

(Makes one and a half litre which is about seven to eight servings)

  • 6 fresh limes, 5 cut into quarters, one into slices for garnishing
  • Fresh mint (about 30 leaves)
  • 150ml Simple syrup (you can also switch this out for 1/2 cup white sugar)
  • 250m White Rum
  • 1Litre Soda Water
  • Three cups crushed Ice

Method

  1. In your jug, add quarter limes and mint and muddle together well to release the oils of the mint and the juice of the limes
  2. Add plenty of ice and chill until serving
  3. Add ice to your highball glasses
  4. Pour in your mojito cocktail
  5. Garnish with fresh mint and lime slices

A long time lover of herbs in bouquets it seemed the right time this month, being feasting month, to add some delectable vegetables to these lush bunches of blooms. If you’d like to get creative with your wedding bouquets, edible stems may be the way to go! Follow along with this easy tutorial to find out how to make a gorgeous edible bouquet with your leafy greens!

Easy as pie (although slightly less indulgent), these edible bouquets add a textural and fresh take on the traditional bouquet. You can go completely sans flowers, or add a few stems if you wish. All the herbs and vegetables will delight in a good overnight wash and drink before you begin, so prep a little in advance. And if it doesn’t work out, you’ve got dinner ready to go!

What You Will Need:

  • A selection of vegetables and herbs. Try to use hardier varieties with woody stems to prevent wilting during the day, such as rosemary, kale, dark purple grapes and root vegetables
  • A few stems of full headed blooms such as parrot tulips or ranunculus
  • Sharp scissors and twine

Step 1. Lay out all your bouquet ingredients. For this bouquet, I’m using Vietnamese mint, garden carrots, cavolo kale, beetroot and beetroot leaves, chinese broccoli, shallots, dark purple grapes and rosemary. Prepare each stem by removing the bulk of foliage from the bottom third of the stem. For items you’ll be using ‘upside down’, like the beetroot and carrots, make sure there is enough stem or foliage to grip in the bouquet, without it being too bulky, as shown in image.

Step 2. Once each stem is prepped and laid out, begin putting together the edible bouquet. Follow the organic line of each stem, and keep the bouquet rustic and relaxed. Start with the larger leaves, followed by some of the heavier vegetables, such as the grapes, that will need support. Block them in with other sturdy stems, such as the heavy ranunculus.

Step 3. Keep all the stems swivelling the same direction (imagine a jar of uncooked spaghetti), and continue to add clusters of bulky leaves. Thread the carrots and herbs through last, finishing with some open blooms around the base of the edible bouquet.

Step 4. When you’re happy with the final result, tie the bouquet with twine, firmly enough to hold the bouquet, without squashing the stems. Trim the ‘upside down’ leaves off the beetroot and carrot, as shown in image. Pop in water and admire your handiwork!

Step 5. If the thought of an edible bouquet appeals to you, but the colour or texture of vegetables appeals slightly less so, try your hand at making a herb bouquet. Still edible, and slightly easier to put together, a herb bouquet might be just what you’re looking for! Begin to make the bouquet in the same manner as the previous bouquet, laying out prepped stems before you get started.

Step 6. Following the organic line and shape of each stem, put together in clusters the different mix of rosemary, mint, sage and kale, ensuring all stems are swivelling the same direction. Add in the few stems of blown blooms to finish, and bind with twine.

If the bouquet isn’t coming together as you’d like, simply pop everything down and begin again. You may discover different vegetables and herbs that work well, or get creative using shallots upside down! Edible bouquets don’t last as long as traditional bouquets, so keep them cool and in fresh water until needed.

Ms Zebra Says: Another fabulous idea! So creative to use vegetables in bouquets for their colour and stature. Well done Ms Honeycomb!

About Ms Honeycomb: My heart and home in Scotland and Australia, I am a florist, flower lover, writer, baker, stylist and sew-er of lovely things, with my darling toddler forever keeping me on my toes!

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