This is a follow-on from my original post "Critique of special menu required please". To summarize, we're planning a mains of calves liver with polenta or mashed potato, prepared as much in advance as possible. Last weekend we did a trail run to test timing, texture, taste, and presentation (using white china). Here are the results: The liver was cut into equally sizes (3 pieces pp), quickly pan fried with a wee bit of garlic, fresh sage leaves, parsley, lemon juice, red wine and balsamic vinegar. Crispy whole sage leaves and pancetta which was kinda twisted into straws served as garnishes. We prepared side starches of polenta -- soft and fried -- and mashed potato, to see which worked best : The soft polenta was a Gordon Ramsay recipe using stock, crème fraiche, lemon. Hubby stirred it up while I worked the liver, and it took only 7 minutes to plate. Pooled polenta on plate, topped with liver, then pancetta, drizzled sauce around edges. Looked nice with good colours. The polenta was creamy and light, but also had "body". The stiff polenta (made with stock, parsley and lemon) was cut into triangles with tiny parsley leaves pressed in, I easly fried it up at the at the same time as the liver. Placed 3 overlapping triangles per plate, liver on side, sauce drizzled around. Didn't looked "pulled together". Maybe needed a green veg? Or, cut the polenta into circles, with liver on top (perhaps risking polenta getting mushy)? The crispy outside contrasted well with the tenderness of the liver, but was a little rubbery in the middle; would over-cooking the first time be to blame? The mash had roasted garlic, bay-scented milk and butter, mashed, covered and kept warm in the oven for 1 hour. We tried serving it under the liver in a pool (a creamier/wetter version) and stiffer using a biscuit cutter as a mould, each with sauce drizzled around. The contrast of the creamy white mash with the liver and pan juices looked lovely, especially with the wetter version. Each verion was tasty and comforting, Next time, however, would have hubby mash at the last minute while I do the liver, because they degraded sitting in a warm oven for an hour before service. Potatoes with meat, however good, somehow seems so...well,,. predicable. Maybe we watch Master Chef et al too much, but the judges always have something to say about presentation and food combinations that "make the dish", and for our experiment we couldn't decide which texture goes better with the liver. Obviously, it's all down to personal preference but, like pairing wine with food, there must be some words of wisdom, yes? What say you?