Brunch! What a great word! Brunch: the meal that allows those who favour lie-ins over breakfast not to have to be hungry until lunch time.
The two staples of brunch are coffee and eggs. Good coffee is equal to – or possibly more important than – the food on offer here. Remember, the Sunday Brunch-goers are extremely likely to be hung over and may need to drink their weight in coffee before being able to hold a decent brunch conversation. So make a huge pot of coffee, something strong and muddy. And offer free refills. If your crowd contains extreme party animals, their bodies would really appreciate a great big dose of vitamin C, so squeeze some oranges and maybe a couple of grapefruits!
Eggs. As established, eggs are a must. For larger groups (say three or more), scrambled is the easiest option. This allows the whole dish to be prepared together and permits you to avoid the Who Gets The Best Egg Conundrum. (If you are preparing brunch for only your partner and yourself, make poached eggs and give the best one to them.) Scrambled eggs are at their best a little sloppy, not overcooked with the consistency of popcorn. Furthermore, you should add enough black pepper so they look a little dirty, like they’ve been dropped in the garden and scooped back up.
One of the great things about brunch is that fish is totally acceptable, whereas at breakfast it just seems wrong. Smoked salmon, lightly grilled is really complemented by the eggs and gives your meal an air of elegance. Mackerel is a more economical alternative and the canned variety is almost as tasty as fresh, really handy to have in your cupboard for those unanticipated gatherings. The fish element can be substituted by bacon, the streakier the better.
Some kinds of bakery produce bind the whole meal together; crumpets or waffles are much more interesting than regular bread, serve hot with salted butter. Crumpets also hold dressings well. With a fish based brunch, crème fraiche with some chopped up dill is a well suited accompaniment. If you opt for bacon, then drizzle on the maple syrup. Either way, include a juicy lemon wedge on each plate, to be squeezed at your guests’ discretion.
To summarise, brunch ideally includes aspects of breakfast and lunch. Breakfast – it is acceptable to have just woken up. Lunch – It is acceptable to go for a nap afterwards.