From lazy to a labour of love, brunch can be anything you want it to be, and these drinks and dishes will be at home at any table.
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8 Jan 2021 - 1:27 PM  UPDATED 12 Jan 2021 - 9:31 AM

--- Love brunch? Don't miss Let's Brunch, Wednesdays at 8.30pm on SBS Food and then SBS On Demand, 13 January to 3 March ---

"There are so many great things about the weekend, but nothing’s better than brunch," says Vanessa Gianfrancesco.

The keen cook who loves it so much she has a whole show about it - Let's Brunch - is not alone. Brunch is a favourite because it's so open to being filled Egg with whatever you love best about breakfast and lunch. It can start whenever you like (hello sleep in!) and run as late as you like. It can be a meal for one or two or 10. It can be lazy or a labour of love (perhaps Gianfrancesco's homemade pain au chocolate?).  

Here are 17 essential recipes that will make any brunch better (or head over to our brunch recipe collection, where there are hundreds of more ideas for breakfast-meets-lunch meals)

Get creative with croissants

Mushroom croissant bake

Buy six croissants, create six bowls bursting with flavour, In this recipe from Vanessa Gianfrancesco, baked croissants provide the perfect base for a topping of juicy mushrooms, pancetta, herbs and truffle oil, a winner for the brunch table.

Chocolate almond croissants

Kirsten Tibballs is a queen of chocolate so it's no surprise that she has a wonderful way of using chocolate to turn day-old croissants into something special. The croissants are soaked in sugar syrup and filled with chocolate almond cream before some time in the oven to make them warm and wonderful. 

Chocolate almond croissants

Eggs-cellent inclusions

Herbed ricotta soufflé omelette

"Now, this is the brunch dish to choose if you’re looking to serve something a little special. It’s indulgent and completely memorable and, on the off chance you have any leftover, it reheats very well, too," says Anneka Manning of her baked take on the breakfast omelette. Serve it in scoops with smoked trout and salad. You'll find more great brunch recipes from Manning here, including Apple bread with whipped honey butter and Caramelised honey-roasted pears with nut and seed bark.

Kuku

This Iranian herb and feta omelette is oven-baked. Serve with yoghurt and radish for an easy, vibrant centrepiece for your brunch. 

Lovely loaves

Flourless orange, hazelnut and poppy seed loaf

This flourless loaf is moist and dense - but not heavy! Top with candied orange slices in orange syrup for a brunch-worthy loaf. 

Pull-apart praline bread

Another lovely recipe from Vanessa Gianfrancesco's Let's Brunch: A sweet, cake-ish bread filled with cinnamon, pecans and brown sugar that's easy to tear into portions for beautifully warm pieces.

Banana bread, raspberry and ricotta trifle

It's not just breakfast and lunch that intersects at brunch: some desserts are equally at home too. This is a lovely way to put a twist on the usual banana bread (or to use up leftovers). And if you're after banana bread recipes, we have a lovely collection here, with ideas including Caribbean banana bread, banana and pear loaf and a gluten-free vegan banana bread.  

Make ahead

Strawberry & rose chia pudding

Strawberries and rosewater add a fresh and fragrant lightness to this chia breakfast bowl. It's a lovely way to make the most of strawberry season. You can soak it for as little as an hour or as long as overnight, so it's an easy one to fit into your brunch plans. 

Strawberry & rose chia pudding

Overnight pancake casserole

These blueberry pancakes take it to the next level. Soaked overnight then baked and topped with candied pecans and blueberry sauce, they're a sweet sensation and half the work is already done when you get up.  

Grand pans

Ratatouille with baked eggs

A breakfast version of the classic French stew, complete with basil and goat's cheese and served with crusty bread.

Greek baked beans

Gigantes plaki, or "giant beans", are traditionally served as part of a mezze, and this easy recipe is equally as good for breakfast, brunch or dinner. 

Traditionally cooked in an earthenware pot, gigantes (bean soup) was a favourite dish in the Mittas family.

Pancakes with stewed plums (Kaiserschmarrn)

A thick, fluffy, sugary pancake that is cut into small pieces and usually served with stewed plums, Kaiserschmarrn is one of the most famous desserts in Austria, but it's also an excellent addition to a brunch menu. 

Kaiserschmarrn is a large pancake made to slice up and share.

Smart tarts

Breakfast tartlets with brown sugar and apple butter

Apple "butter" is made from long-cooked apples that go dark from slow-cooking, and it's lovely in these shortcrust pastry tarts. "There’s no point making a small amount of this spread, so here’s enough to use in lots of tarts, or on crumpets, fruit toast, or as part of a dessert or pudding. Store in sterilised jars in the fridge for up to 1 month," says Matthew Evans. 

Honey balsamic glazed beetroot tarts

"Imagine sticky, honey balsamic glazed beetroots sitting on a smooth, creamy layer of feta and ricotta. Yum right? And the vibrancy of the scarlet beetroot filling immediately captures everyone’s attention. Perfect for brunch or served as an entree at your next dinner party," says Helen Tzouganatos of her recipe for these vibrant (and gluten-free) tarts. 

Honey balsamic glazed beetroot tarts
 
Stacks and snacks
 
America's answer to the croque-monsieur, this deluxe pan-fried toastie is filled with thick ham slices, Gruyère and Dijon mustard. 

Caramelised banana pancakes

These American-style pancakes actually come from Irish chef Donal Skehan. Bananas caramelised in butter and golden syrup are the crowning glory on these stacks, finished off with toasted hazelnuts. (And if you want more pancake choices, try our pancake collection with more than 140 recipes, from Korean mung bean pancakes to Turkish pistachio pancakes with clotted cream

Caramelised banana pancakes

Spiced Indian potato and pea fritters (rotlo)

Striking the balance between savoury and sweet, these delicious Indian spiced fritters are quick and easy to prepare.

Marvellous muffins

Raspberry-loaded muffins

These jumbo muffins from Silvia Colloca are bursting with fresh raspberries, 'tho If you don't have a big enough muffin pan, you can just make 12 regular muffins. 

Chocolate cupcakes

The chocolate ganache topping is a divine finish on top of these cupcakes; it can be coated on with a knife or piped in a pattern.
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Different drinks

Turmeric ginger latte

Vanessa Gianfranceso started making this warming and soothing golden latte when she stopped drinking coffee while pregnant. "It’s like a hug in a mug," she says. 

Lavender peach lemonade

This is another clever idea from Giangrancesco, an unusual take on lemonade that's easy to make "This has got some flavor ... a tart, really nice lemony flavor, and I love the sweetness of the peaches and then in the background, that floral lavender. It's not too strong, but you know it's there. So refreshing," she says.

more ways to start the day
Asparagus, pea and mint frittata muffins

A lovely portable lunch. Serve warm or cold with a generous salad or freshly cooked greens.

Coconut waffles with caramelised pineapple

The ultimate summer brunch. 

Egg and bacon pies

This classic combination of egg and bacon in little pies works for picnics or brunch. If you like, you can substitute chopped chives for some or all of the parsley.

Baked herbed French toast with garlic mushrooms

This recipe was a little experiment. The question was: could French toast baked in the oven be just as delicious as when it is pan-fried in generous amount of butter? The answer: Yes! And, as an extra bonus, it is so much easier to cook in large batches for more-the-merrier gatherings. So from now on I will be baking my French toast!

Corn fritters with avocado salsa

Bursting with flavour, colour and health, corn fritters are the perfect way to start or finish the day. These gluten-free and dairy-free versions are a hit for anyone with allergies or intolerances looking for a tasty meal.

Fried bread with cinnamon sugar (rabanadas)