Not all brunches are created equal, here's how you can elevate this convivial meal
Additional reporting by Dudi Aureus
When you're looking for a leisurely food experience, you can't go wrong with brunch. But whether you plan to dine out or prepare your own feast at home, here are four ways to elevate arguably the most popular meal of the day.
(Related: Easy Recipes to Make Fluffy Pancakes at Home)
1. Hong Kong-style dim sum
A brunch should not only combine sweet and savoury flavours, it should also serve the culinary must-have in Cantonese cuisine—dim sum. And these small dishes make for the perfect spread when you want to have a little bit of everything, whether they're steamed bites stuffed with pork or shrimp, spring rolls and rice noodle rolls, or rice cakes. There's a bevy of sweet options too, including crêpe rolls and the quintessential egg tarts.
You'll find all of these and more at modern Cantonese restaurant Madame Fan, which is offering an enticing weekend dim sum brunch menu that is paired with inventive tipples from the bar. Executive chef Mike Tan offers a galore of contemporary options ranging from black truffle dumplings to seafood spring roll with kumquat and wasabi.
2. Tortilla or tamagoyaki instead of eggs Benedict
In Spain, brunch tends to draw on the tapas culture to create the menu. And as such, it's a good idea to shake up those good old eggs Benedict or the ubiquitous poached egg. Make way for the tortilla, with its profusion of potatoes pan-fried with eggs.
Or, why not start making tamagoyaki? This typically Japanese omelette, which requires a certain amount of skill to roll it with the utmost delicacy, is a must for any izakaya (a kind of Japanese pub). Unlike the French omelette, very thin layers of eggs are cooked one after the other and then assembled little by little in the form of rolls. The result is a set of ultra-moist bites that can be combined with herbs, chopped spring onions or even... tarama!
3. Swedish crepes instead of pancakes
If you're tired of traditional pancakes, French toast and crêpes, you just have to look a bit further afield to find a different recipe, as the pancake is a food that cultures the world over all have variations of. Take, for example, the Swedish pancakes which are based on the principle of whipped egg whites incorporated into a base of butter and water brought to a boil as for puff pastry. Then egg yolks are added, while whipped cream tops it off.
Sounds delicious? If so, you might want to check out Fika Swedish Cafe & Bistro's own rendition of the Swedish pancakes. The chefs prepare a thin version to easily soak in the flavours of the accompanying whipped cream, ice cream and chocolate sauce. It's topped with fresh berries and icing sugar for extra indulgence.
4. Soda bread when you're in a hurry
Wholegrain, rustic, spelt, rye, baguette. Bread is a must on the brunch buffet. When you're doing a completely homemade menu, a recipe can be useful, especially if you aren't yet used to breadmaking. In Ireland, soda bread is a bread that rises quickly thanks to baking powder or baking soda instead of fresh baker's yeast. It's the "baking soda" that gives the bread its name. To give character to this loaf and especially to help the crumb rise, use a fermented milk like buttermilk, easy to find in supermarkets. In one hour, you will be able to take a loaf of bread prepared in a standard cake tin from oven to table. The recipe is very simple and within the reach of even the least experienced cooks! Get started with these simple bread recipes.