In most brunches, the savoury element tends to be something with eggs, some sausage and maybe a slice of bacon. Even though this is absolutely delicious, there are so many other ways to make creative, easy and delicious savoury brunch dishes.
One of my favourites is bacon-wrapped avocado slices. You simply scoop out the avocado flesh, cut it into wedges, wrap a piece of bacon around it and bake in the oven until the bacon is golden and done. Another huge favourite of mine is brunch skillets, inspired by the cuisine of Spain and South America. Take a large skillet, add vegetables, tomato sauce, lentils or whatever you like, cook it up, season to taste – and as an extra wonderful twist crack open a few eggs, cover and serve the skillet as soon as the egg whites have set. (You can find the recipes for Bacon-wrapped avocado & Mexican skillet on my blog A Tasty Love Story.)
Pies have always been a brunch hit in our house, too. Make your favourite, or try the Cheesy pie with Asparagus - served hot or cold.
People tend to forget the vegetables at brunch, so to accompany the fresh fruit you would typically serve, slice up some bell peppers, cucumber, fresh tomatoes or even make a tomato and mozzarella salad to serve along with the rest of the goodies.
Of course, the sweet element is hard to forget and we have oh so many choices. Waffles and pancakes are always a safe bet. If you love these, try pepping them up with berries and fresh herbs. Or them with homemade compote, jam or a dollop of nut butter.
A new favourite of mine is breakfast cookies. You simply make a healthier chocolate chip cookie, using more whole grain flour and perhaps substituting chocolate with nuts and dried fruit – you’ll find plenty of recipes online. Bran-muffins with seasonal fruit are wonderful as well. Try adding some feta or white cheese to your muffins to give them a salty little twist and add dried fruit and nuts for a lovely crumbly texture.
Finally, one thing that should always be present on the brunch table if you ask me, is small dense energy bites. You can make these from dried fruit like dates, figs and prunes. Add some cocoa powder, coconut flakes, nuts, seeds etc. and roll into small balls. They taste delicious with a mouthful of coffee and people love snacking away on them.
When you have a large brunch, you don’t need to offer an overwhelming selection of drinks as well. Most people have coffee, tea and juice, which is just fine. You can play around with these if you like, for instance making iced coffee and tea during summer. You can also vary your juice and try making your own vegetable or fruit juices – or even serving a little smoothie instead.
If you have water on the table, try adding ice cubes, fresh herbs and lemon slices – it makes the water look so pretty and adds a crisp flavour.
To me, bread is actually not necessary as part of a brunch. However, it very much depends on what other dishes and components you have chosen to include. For instance, if you’ve made a pie and/or some waffles, I would almost say that you don’t have room for bread. On the other hand, if you’ve made jam and bought some delicious cheeses, you definitely need some bread.
Instead of buying a big loaf of bread, try something new. I’ve found that crackers and crisp breads go very well with brunch, because you tend to eat less and they taste great with cheese, jam and ham.
The table is always a matter of personal taste, but try serving the brunch in different ways to create the atmosphere you’re aiming for. To begin with, napkins, candles and fresh flowers are always a good idea, since they make everything look and feel prettier and more delicious.
If you want a casual and cosy brunch, you can serve everything on large dishes, rustic chopping boards and in pitchers for people to grab from – this creates that laid-back vibe with everybody eating around the same table. Or you can go the opposite way and make portion-sized dishes, such as mini-muffins, small pies, yoghurt and granola served in little glasses and small smoothies with colourful straws.