My kind of brunch is relaxed, casual, flexible and friendly. It demands great coffee, a pot of perfect tea, some freshly squeezed juice and, sometimes, a glass of bubbles or a jug of bloody Mary. Other than that (and, perhaps, eggs as a must) there are no rules or expectations.
It is thought the idea of brunch was first proposed by British writer Guy Beringer in his essay “Brunch: A Plea” in 1895. Brunch, he thought, was “cheerful, sociable and inciting” – a lighter meal that he suggested, “would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers”. Now, who could argue with that?
Although originally a Sunday tradition, brunch works for me any day of the week, especially during the holidays when a bit of a sleep-in is possible. And with the temperature dropping, leaves falling and the school holidays around the corner, a long and lazy brunch that brings friends and family together is just the thing.
A hybrid meal that includes the best of both breakfast and lunch, it takes you from late-morning grazing through to lazy-afternoon lingering. But because brunch calls for a sleep in, you need recipes that require little preparation (the kind you can do well ahead), especially when the table is set for six or more. That’s why I love this apple bread with whipped honey butter. Similar to banana bread and bursting with wonderful seasonal apples, it can be stored in the freezer (either whole or sliced) to be served at a moment’s notice.
As for the essential egg dish, these baked eggs in their aromatic and slightly spicy tomato sauce make a great dish that everyone can share. And for more dishes that are easily made but will feel like you’ve ordered them at your favourite café, try my caramelised honey-roasted pears with nut and seed bark or oven-baked quinoa porridge with rhubarb and labna. There’s absolutely no need to go out for brunch when you can whip up these tasty treats in your own kitchen.
For fans of the brunch classics, this baked herbed French toast with garlic mushrooms is a delicious savoury variation on the egg-dipped original, and a great one for more-is-merrier gatherings, because you can bake them all at once instead of pan-frying individually.
If oh-la-la brunch impact is what you’re after, serve an indulgent herbed soufflé omelette. You’d think twice about making or eating this for breakfast, but that is the beauty of brunch – time is on your side, as well as grumbling tummies demanding something more than a bowl of cereal but not the extreme of a Sunday roast.
Guy Beringer got it so right. Whether you’ve been carousing on a Saturday night or you just want a delicious later start to the day and an excuse to eat with friends, brunch always makes life brighter.
Autumn brunch recipes
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. Read our interview with her or for hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O’Brien. Food preparation by Kerrie Ray. Creative concept by Lou Fay.
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