Brunch is the amalgam of the words 'breakfast' and 'lunch', and quite poetically, it can also be a unification of both sweet and savoury elements on the plate. It's usually served at that special, indefinable time of day somewhere after we wake up of our own accord, but before we're forced out of our pyjamas to actually get dressed and venture outside.
Between this vague stretch of time between mid-morning and late afternoon, devotees to the art of brunch-making start warming their pans, filling their French presses and planning the finer elements of their spread, based on, well, whatever takes their fancy on the day.
In fact, the classic Aussie brunch can only be characterised by the intentions of its maker, whether that be to accompany the paper, catch up with family and flatmates, or as an antidote for a hangover. This is precisely the reason a leisurely brunch is relished across the nation as a way to unwind after a busy week: a culinary realisation of our Australian mindset and laid-back way of life.
Although there is no right or wrong approach to brunch, eggs are one of the most versatile and elemental of brunch staples, taking up their fair share of space on cafe blackboards around the country. They are inexpensive, nutritious, and the most important consideration for those voracious morning appetites they are simple and quick to prepare.
A favourite among brunch chefs is scrambled eggs in the pan, which will take you less than 15 minutes to prep and plate. Simply whisk the eggs thoroughly to aerate them, which will ensure a fluffy scramble every time. A basic omelette is also a nifty way to utilise leftovers in the fridge, while other egg recipes like frittatas and French toast require relatively little cooking time for such flavoursome results.
Learn how to poach eggs perfectly and then dress them up with a range of delectable sides including cured meats, cheeses and seasonal veggies. Alternatively, try a simple hollandaise sauce made by whisking 3 egg yolks; 2 tablespoons of hot water; 150g of melted butter and a pinch of salt, to drizzle over the top of a creamy eggs Benedict recipe.
Pancakes and fritters
While pancakes err on the side of breakfast foods and fritters are favoured on the lunchtime menu, a delightful aspect of lazy Sunday brunches is that you have the luxury to choose either, or both!
Whether you prefer pikelets, hanker after hotcakes, or are craving crepes, there is nothing quite as irresistible as a steaming stack of homemade pancakes, infused with either buttermilk or ricotta, or simply enjoyed plain and oozing with butter and honey. To make the lightest, fluffiest pancakes, simply follow these step-by-step how to make pancakes instructions.
Then, spice up your summer pancakes by creating interesting compote flavours using sweet, ripe fruits and berries such as peaches, strawberries, guava or mango. These you can serve alongside generous lashings of mascarpone and maple syrup, garnishing the plate with any leftover berries.
Corn fritters are typically the savoury siblings to the sweeter pancake, possessing a similar texture, but with a little more tooth from the cooked corn kernels. They pair perfectly with accompaniments such as smoked salmon and sautéed asparagus or for a brunch less ordinary, why not try some corn fritters with crème fraîche and avocado tomato salsa?
Cocktails, mocktails and more
There's been much debate over the ages as to the right time of day when it's okay to have a drink. Some say that midday is the mark, while others remain firmly in the four-thirsty camp, and yet more claim that 5pm is beer o-clock.
With all its nebulous determinations of time and space, brunch seems about the perfect time to have a glass of sparkling with a spritzer of orange juice over a long, leisurely meal and there are certainly people who insist that the hair-of-the-dog is the best hangover cure. If you'd rather, you can always stick with juices and coffee
The important thing to remember is to relax, have fun, and mix and match your recipes and drinks to suit your day, because brunch all about kicking back for some special 'you time', to enjoy whatever and however you want!