sunshine brunch

Sunday, 7 November 2010


We've had some quite wintry days in Canberra, so it was with thanks to the sun gods above for the beautifully blissful moring we had today for our brunch for twenty.

It's with much gratefulness that I acknowledge the absolutely gorgeous people Husband works with - I couldn't have asked for lovelier company - a gaggle of adults and kids who nattered, shared, laughed, nibbled and played in the morning sunshine.

I've been kind of crushed time-wise of late, so I was strapped for time to put this little shindig together. I still wanted it to be special, though, and I don't think you have to spend an eon fussing for things to be tasty and to look good.

My saviour is store-bought pastry - really good butter puff and shortcrust (though I must admit, there's nothing like homemade shortcrust). For my asparagus and blue cheese tarts - I just cut a square sheet into 6ths and roll in the sides to make flat rectangle tarts cases. Then I beat together 2 eggs with a tub of low fat philly cheese and a small wedge of blue vein cheese. I then slice asparagus spears in half, lay on top, brush every thing with butter and baked til puffed. You can make these the day before and reheat in a moderate oven (below left).


My shortcrust pizza tarts are just philly cheese with two eggs and some grated cheddar (adjust to taste), add chopped tomatoes and sliced black olives and chopped salami. Cut pastry as above then add the filling, brush pastry with beaten egg and bake till golden (below left).


This cheese and ham strata (above right) is just 100% sourdough slices layered with cheese (gruyere, swiss and cheddar are good), chives and ham. Beat together 4 large eggs, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or tsp mustard) and 2 cups whole milk, pour over the top and refigerate overnight. Bake in a moderate oven around an hour, til puffed and golden. You can add anything to this - grated zuchinni, tomato, olives. Serve with a big spoon, lots of little bowls and forks.

I adore galettes and I made these apple/raspberry galettes on rounds of puff pastry, simply brushed with butter and scattered with caster sugar. Bake till puffed and golden. Before you take them out of the oven, warm some raspberry jam with a dash of water in a saucepan. Remove pastries and brush all over with jam mixture. Cool. You can strain the jam of raspberry pips if you have an aversion (our family guzzles watermelon seeds whole, so no aversion to pips). Cut them in half or quarters to serve or make a large one and wedge it. They just don't need cream.


These muffins - apple crumble and blueberry... from a store-bought packet. Delicious and quick.


The friandes - I made for my first time ever - blueberry. Alas, only 4 made it out of the moulds in one piece and it was solely due to the tumble of big fat blueberries I put in the batter. Don't do this. It creates big mushy pockets that destabilise the friande structure completely. Instead, make a solid batter friand then add one or two berries to the top like they do in the cafés.


The white panforte - store-bought. The choc chip rounds - Riley and I made them the day before, with chunks of chocolatey chips to swoon over.


For drinks we had strong caffè lattès, English Breakfast tea, a selection of juices and old fashioned mimosas - just good champagne and pulpy orange juice. Delish.

Oh - and nearly forgot the breakfast parfaits - one of my fave things in the world (very top of post, left). Roughly chop two punnets of strawberries, pour in a tsp vanilla and 2 tblsp maple syrup. Cover and allow to macerate in the fridge overnight. Stir a tablespoon of maple syrup through a 500g tub low fat Greek yoghurt. Spoon strawbs into glasses, top with yoghurt and then granola. Serve immediately with long spoons and great coffee.

Just a gorgeous morning that stretched well past lunch. The kids played indoors and out, the adults reminisced and hooted with laughter - it was just wonderful and it's brunches like these that make entertaining worthwhile. No fuss and an absolute pleasure - in every sense of the word.



 





6 comments:

Megan Blandford said...

That all looks lovely and it sounds like it was a great morning!

Anonymous said...

looks like so much fun! Too cold here now! TB

Michelle said...

lovely pics!
You are making me oh so hungry!!

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! so inviting & yummy.talented gal.Jen:)

Market Girl said...

That is insane. How fabulous does that look? Mmm not quiet the same conversation we had Thursday night me thinks.....
Love your work xx

Em Callaghan said...

Mmmmm...you've given me some GREAT ideas for the brunch I'm hosting on Christmas morning. Everything looks so gorgeous and yummy!!!

Thanks for the inspiration Tania!

Cheers Em

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