There is something slightly decadent about Brunch, it’s so much more relaxed than lunch or dinner and it definitely feels a little more self-indulgent especially when drinking a little Champagne for breakfast.
I love having people over for brunch but you do need to get organised and it does require a little pre-planning. Firstly you have to think about the drinks. It goes without saying that you’ll need great coffee and a couple of pots of different tea. Champagne or Cava is essential and with a bit of bubbly you should also offer a good old Buck’s fizz. Depending on the season, you can give your fizz a different twist by using blood oranges or mandarin juice. A big jug of Bloody Mary with extra Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce on the table is also a necessity.
When it comes to the food, there are a few things that you can make the day before like muffins, fruity cakes, banana bread and a big pile of pancakes. Offer maple syrup, lemon and sugar, golden syrup or even a little melted jam as toppings. For the fry-up, make sure you buy good sausages, some quality smoked back bacon and have some grilled vine tomatoes and fat, juicy field mushrooms. If you want some fancy options, try the Mushroom & Spinach Tartlet or Rosti potatoes with smoked salmon.
Brunch would simply not be brunch without eggs. Egg dishes have all but disappeared from modern day menus but, at the turn of the last century every top establishment would have a whole section dedicated to them featuring anything from eggs Florentine, Mornay, Villeroi etc etc. I remember learning how to make all those classic egg dishes at cookery school and every now and then I still get a real craving for Eggs Benidect; with a lightly toasted English muffin, crispy bacon and a perfectly cooked poached egg topped with buttery Hollandaise sauce it can be pure, sinful heaven.
Omelettes are also perfect for brunch and you’ll need a good non-stick frying pan. Start with one about 6 inches across to make a single serving omelette. It is essential to use the freshest, best quality eggs you can find. Ideally, that means free‑range eggs with deep‑orange yolks. Eggs have porous shells; so don’t store them next to anything smelly, because they’ll take it on board. They also lose moisture and develop air pockets that expand the longer they are stored. If you’re not sure how long yours have been lying around, the trick is to put an egg in a bowl of water, if it sinks, it’s a very fresh egg; if it floats end up, it’s been around a while but it should be OK; if it bobs on its side, throw it away.
Start with 3-4 eggs and break them in a bowl. Do not season the eggs at this stage. Salt and pepper break down the enzymes in the egg mixture, thus destroying its texture. Beat them with a fork slightly to break up the yolks. Place a tablespoon of butter into your pan and let it melt, coating the pan evenly by tipping and rolling the butter around. Add the beaten eggs, and using a spatula, draw the setting egg towards the centre, so that more of the loose mixture hits the hot pan. This will produce a lovely light, ruffled effect. After about 20 seconds or so, stop doing this, turn down the heat and leave the pan flat. There should still be plenty of runny egg on top
Using a spatula, pull the cooked edges towards the centre, and let the uncooked egg slide into its place on the bottom. Flip the other side over the middle of itself as you tip the pan back up. Then grab the handle of the pan from underneath and slip the omelette out and onto a plate. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
MUSHROOM & SPINACH TARTLETS
WITH EASY HOLLANDAISE SAUCE
Ingredients serves 6
200g plain flour
100g diced butter, chilled
A pinch of salt
To make the pastry, put the flour and butter in a food processor and pulse slowly until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add a pinch of salt and enough cold water to form dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge, and then roll the pastry out thinly on a floured work surface to about 2mm thickness.
Line 6 individual tart rings and place them in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Heat the oven to 200C/ 180/gas 6. Brush the pastry with beaten egg to glaze and bake the tartlets for 15-20 minutes in the oven then leave to cool.
Easy Hollandaise sauce
3 egg yolks
1tbsn warm water
1tbsn fresh lemon juice
200g unsalted butter
Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium until it starts to bubble (do not let it brown).
Bring to the boil a large pan of water and then reduce to a simmer.
Using the whisk attachment, beat together the egg yolks, water and lemon juice in a bowl until light & frothy. Set the bowl over the pan of water and gradually pour in the hot butter in a very thin stream, whisking continually until the sauce is thick and emulsified. Season to taste.
For the mushroom & spinach duxells:
700g button mushrooms, cleaned
100g shallots, peeled
1 garlic clove, crushed
50ml olive oil
Sprig of thyme
2tbsp. Parsley (finely chopped)
20 young spinach leaves, cleaned
Place the mushrooms, shallot & garlic into a food processor and chop finely. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the mushroom mixture and fresh thyme. Cook over a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, Add the cream and continue to cook until the duxells resembles a thick puree. Add the parsley and stir in the baby spinach leaves. Season to taste. Divide the mixture between the 6 tartlets and top with a large spoonful of hollandaise sauce.
Glaze the tartlets for 30 seconds under a hot grill & serve immediately.
EGGS FLORENTINE breakfast classic is the ideal way to begin an indulgent weekend
This breakfast classic is the ideal way to begin an indulgent weekend. You could top this with crispy bacon or Serrano ham.
Ingredients serves 4
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 thick slices of granary bread, toasted
150g wild rocket eaves
4-6 tbsp Hollandaise Sauce
Heat a deep frying pan of water over low heat until just simmering and add the vinegar. Crack an egg into a small bowl and gently pour into the pan. Cook the egg for 2−3 minutes for soft poached. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. Repeat with the remaining eggs. To serve, top the bread with the rocket and poached eggs and spoon over the hollandaise sauce.
Principio del formulario
Final del formulario
RÖSTI POTATOES WITH SALMON SALMON
& A SHAVED FENNEL, CAPER & ROCKET SALAD
Ingredients serves 6
250g Sliced Smoked Salmon
For the rosti potatoes;
450g potatoes, peeled
4tspn. Olive oil
50g Clarified butter
A sprig of fresh thyme (finely chopped)
Grate the potatoes.
Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Heat half the oil and half the butter in one 20cm (8 inch) heavy based frying pan or 4 individual blini pans. Add the potato mix and press it down evenly with the back of a spatula.
Fry over a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes until you can see traces of colour at the edges – but take care not to cook it over too high a heat or it will over-brown before the potato on the inside has had a chance to cook.
Cover the pan with an inverted plate, hold the two together and turn over so that the rosti is transferred to the plate. Heat the remaining oil and butter in the pan. Slide the rosti back in on its uncooked side and cook for another 10 minutes until golden. Serve with smoked salmon & fennel-caper & rocket leaf salad.
For the fennel, caper, rocket salad:
1 large fennel bulb
Juice of 2 limes
20 salted capers (washed and finely chopped)
1 bunch of rocket leaves
100ml virgin olive oil
Sea salt/freshly ground black pepper
For the fennel salad:
Cut the tops of the fennel, then trim the base and remove the core.
Coarsely grate the fennel and then place it in a bowl of acidulated iced water and leave for 10-15 minutes.
Drain the fennel, pat dry and place in a bowl. Add the limejuice, chopped capers, olive oil and the cleaned rocket leaves. Season to taste.