(Following on from “je brunch, tu brunch: savoury” and “sweet”)
To round out what is now a monster brunch, a jar of homemade raspberry jam, some lemon curd and a killer recipe for Belgian Chocolate Spread, from a neighbour of mine. Simply melt 100g each of chocolate and butter and mix with 150g sweetened condensed milk. Rich and sweet, more like ganache than Nutella. Pure chocolate indulgence. Supposedly to be served on fresh baguettes, really just for spooning up when no-one is looking.
If you have time you can blend some chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice and pickled red peppers for a quick red pepper houmous. Taste, season and serve with a few red pepper slices artfully arranged on top.
Finally, for a touch of class, make some cold brewed coffee overnight (it has a much cleaner flavour than cooled-down coffee) and some chilled green tea with cucumber and mint. And a little jug of vanilla syrup to sweeten (250g sugar, 250g water brought to the boil, add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract).
Have guests bring all the rest: fresh bread, some cheese, some ripe fruit. Brioche or croissants. Orange juice, sparkling wine. People like to bring things, and it is best to be specific. I am often too pernickety: bring a baguette tradition but from the bakery on the corner, not the one opposite my house. Bring strawberries, but only Gariguettes and not those Spanish monstrosities. Avocadoes ready to eat. My friends mostly laugh and comply – they know they will be well fed for their troubles.
In the end there was… too much food. As ever. Always better to have more than less. I sent people home with cakes – a cake pusher. My lists were crossed off and crumpled up. I learned things and tried new recipes. Satisfied, grateful for my friends, ready to dream of the next menu and even the next three years…