How to Do Brunch

hot cakes with apple blackberry 001HERO

We are having such a super summer that I'm now looking for a weekend alternative to barbecues. The ideal solution is a brunch. For relaxed entertaining it really takes the biscuit, as well as the smoked salmon bagel and maple syrup pancake. The first mention of the word ‘brunch' appeared surprisingly early in the UK's now disappeared Punch magazine of 1896 - a combination of breakfast and lunch. It's now a well established Sunday institution for feeding friends and family.

Choose a range of rather special breakfast dishes that you don't have time for during the week, and serve with plenty of hot fresh coffee and tea. It's the perfect opportunity to make Eggs Florentine - poached eggs, spinach and ham on English muffins, topped with a buttery Hollandaise sauce. Or knock up some batches of different flavoured muffins, such as blueberry or even marmalade. Pancakes are an American brunch favourite that's definitely making inroads over here - serve with maple syrup and crisply grilled streaky bacon or with seasonal fruit.

If you are feeding lots of guests, kedgeree is an excellent choice - a traditionally British breakfast combination of smoked fish, hard-boiled eggs and rice, it probably featured at the earliest of historical brunches. Frittata - a thick omelette made with vegetables and cheese, is another excellent choice, which can be served warm or cool.

Blackberries are now in season, and to nibble with coffee, an apple and blackberry tray bake makes a lovely treat. If you wanted to serve something more like a dessert, try panettone pudding with blueberries or blackberries. None of these dishes minds waiting, so it doesn't matter what time your guests arrive. Chill some prosecco or other sparkling wine, to mix with orange juice for Buck's Fizz or peach juice for a Bellini, and you'll have a party on your hands before you know it.

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