The thought of throwing a brunch gathering on a Saturday morning with your best girl pals sounds like a great idea in theory.
However, when it comes to putting things together, one might be discouraged by the amount of work involved.
We enlisted the help of Nicole Ong (who always serves up the most amazing home-cooked meals) and The Wedding Stylist to deconstruct and break down the mechanics of brunch to make it the most non-intimidating, totally achievable event by the wannabe home cook.
What you'll achieve:
A meal experience that will definitely impress your friends without tiring you out, so that you can partake in the merry-making.
In the time of COVID-19, you get to save money and create even more meaningful bonding experiences with air-hugs and air-kisses.
PART ONE: THE PLANNING
Why have a Gathering?
Why Ever Not? It could be a work promotion, girlfriend's birthday, or simply to catch up with your friends.
Can also be interpreted as "What is easy to make but yet looks impressive"?
This Brunch menu consisted of:
White cannellini beans and roasted red pepper dip
Burrata and grilled peach salad
Deconstructed apple cobbler
You can look up your favourite Pinterest decor pictures, but for our brunch event, we enlisted the help of decor experts from The Wedding Stylist (yes they do more than just weddings) and got first dips on attractive rates for table flowers, menu cards and place cards, napkins and table linens.
Speaking to Wenxin from The Wedding Stylist enabled us to set the colour theme and vibe of our brunch table.
Entirely optional but such a lovely gesture. Personalise them if you can. We were blessed with Eelyn's gift of embroidery and she made specific quotes for each of the guests, ranging from Korean love symbols to Korean actors to yoga mantras.
Music for the Meal
Create a playlist that encourages leisurely, non-rushed savouring of your home-made meal while ensuring that the music isn't too exciting that your guests would rather sing along instead of engaging other guests.
PART TWO: COOKING UP JOY in Nicole's words
- Prep Time: 1/2hr
- Can be made the night before for better flavour
- It's easy and healthy as a lot of dips on the shelves are very processed with a lot of sugar
- Drizzle red peppers with olive oil on a tray and bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes, together with the garlic cloves
- In a food processor, add the peppers, garlic, beans and blend until smooth
- Add in the lemon juice and chopped basil. Puree
- Add in chilli flakes and salt and pepper to taste
- Remove and serve in a bowl
- Leftovers can be used as a spread on sandwiches
- Getting a good quality burrata is key, I usually get mine from Culina at Dempsey
- To make the caramelised onions: Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over low heat and cook the onions slowly for about 20 minutes or till brown and jammy. Add balsamic vinegar and cook a little longer if you wish
- To make the glaze: combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat and let bubble until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Let cool and set aside
- To grill the peaches: Brush the peaches lightly with olive oil, then place the cut side down on a hot skillet and let sizzle till charred to your liking. This might take 5 minutes. Set aside
- Assemble the salad. Layer with arugula, then peaches and then caramelised onions. Break the burrata and distribute all over the salad and finish with balsamic glaze
- Serve immediately
Engagement & Interactive Activity for your Guests
While you are starting the baked eggs, get 1 of your guests to juice up 1 Grapefruit and add them into a serving jug.
Top up with sparkling water and add a sprig of rosemary. The meal drink is ready.
- Perfect for clearing the fridge, using whatever you have in there
- It's basically a tomato stew, and you can throw in veggies, or any other protein to make it a bit more substantial
- Heat oven to 180 degrees
- Heat a large cast-ironed skillet with olive oil, fry the onions till soft (about 5 minutes)
- Throw in the chorizo and continue frying till cooked
- Add the tomatoes and crush them with the back of your wooden spoon lightly and stir (about 5 minutes)
- Now empty the bottle of passata and let it stew for about 6 minutes
- Add the spinach in and continue to stir. Taste and season with salt accordingly
- Remove skillet from the stove
- Make 6 wells, drop an egg into each
- Sprinkle the sliced garlic around
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 8 - 12 minutes
- It's ready when the whites are opaque and yolks are still a bit runny
- Remove and sprinkle the feta cheese and parsley around and finish off with some cracked pepper and serve
Congrats: Baked Eggs are done
- Heat a pan with butter and throw the apples in to stir, add cinnamon and continue stirring till cooked and soft (about 12 minutes)
- Assemble by layering the digestive biscuits, then the apples, then a large scoop of ice cream, then sprinkle more digestives and nuts on top
- Serve immediately
Congrats: You are the greatest hostess!
Special Thanks To:
Chef in Residence: @knickieo
The Best Guests: @celeste_chong @hellyparsonseat @strawbrolly
Florist: @ccleedesigns; Linen: @fellowfolks