Brunch is the best, right? The brunch craze has swept the nation and now we’re all mad for this mid-morning meal that allows us to Instagram to our heart’s content. I have always loved a good brunch, but it wasn’t until I went stateside for a holiday that I realised that I have been doing it wrong. Brunch is not just an excuse for pancakes at lunchtime. No, no, no. Brunch is the most important meal of the week, and deserves due attention. The Americans have got this meal down to a fine art, so grab your Ray-bans (to hide last night’s excess) and your camera – it’s time to do brunch the right way!
Let’s be real. Brunch is basically an excuse to drink on a Sunday morning, right? There are really only two options for brunch drinks – mimosas and Bloody Marys. The former is my personal favourite, and adds a touch of class to any occasion. Your standard mimosa is made up of fresh orange juice (no pulp) and topped up with bubbles, but you can really impress by mixing things up a bit. Throw a dash of Grand Marnier in there for a boozier experience, or go for a different juice altogether. Blood orange, pomegranate, cantaloupe (if you can find it) or grapefruit all work well for a brunch mimosa.
Starting things off
There’s no need to jump right in. You’ve got all day for this brunch. Most brunch places we went to served until 4pm! So it’s worth thinking up a small plate or two to get the party started. A fruit salad is an obvious choice – choose seasonal fruits and accessorise with yoghurt, seeds and honey for a brunch worth instagramming. You don’t have to stop at fruit, though. A little smoked salmon and cream cheese on crusty toast won’t go amiss, or you could throw a bagel up in there. The best brunch dish I had on holiday was a creamy burrata with salsa verde and garlic toast, so the sky’s the limit. If you’re catering to a crowd, it’s best to keep this dish a cold one (at most with a little toast) so you can prep ahead and serve easily.
The main event
The Full English is a thing of glory, but it has no real place at brunch. However, you’re gonna need to serve up something hot to keep your guests happy – and it really should have eggs in. Eggs are brunch. Poached, fried, scrambled. It’s got to be eggs. Bake them in a spicy tomato sauce and top with cheese for an easy way out. Poach them and serve them with hollandaise for a classic look. Pop them on top of a tortilla with some beans, salsa and guacamole for a Huevos Rancheros vibe. Fry them and serve alongside sliced steak and a pile of dressed rocket for a brunch your friends will never forget. Either way, make it happen.
The sweet stuff
Leslie Knope is one of the great TV heroes of our time. Not just because she’s a badass lady who respects female friendships and doesn’t apologise for her ambition, but because her commitment to waffles is legendary. Take a leaf out of her book, and don’t forget the sweet stuff. Pancakes, waffles or French Toast, it really doesn’t matter which. Make some or all of them, pop some berries, syrup, Nutella and whipped cream on the table and let everyone go to town. Watch with satisfaction as everyone undoes the top button of their ill-advised skinny jeans (always wear stretchy waistbands for brunch).
Finish it off
More mimosas. Decent coffee. And maybe a goodie bag. Who doesn’t like goodie bags?
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