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Brunch

The Perfect Brunch Menu

Chrissy Dupé

So, you had a few wines and thought it was the BEST IDEA EVER to invite everyone to your place for Easter Sunday…

Here’s a delicious, ready-made brunch menu that’ll have your guests fed, watered and out of your place at a reasonable hour so you can flop onto the couch, undo your top button and catch up on some terrible Easter TV (yep, everyone knows that’s what you do).

I’m a massive fan of brunch. But I really do think it’s a better option than lunch when you’re entertaining for Easter. I mean, who wants everyone hanging around til all hours taking up valuable real estate on the couch, when you could be stretched out on it cradling your Easter food baby?

Sunday is a day of rest, after all. I say smash it out early so you can kick back later on. Also, everyone knows you’re allowed to drink cocktails in the A.M. if it’s brunch (duh!). Did someone say Aperol Spritz? Plus, hot cross doughnut balls. They count as brunch right?

Speaking from experience it’s a good idea to get to the shops on tonight so you can avoid the hoards of elbow-throwing Easter shoppers who’ll be scrambling around for last minute ingredients. Note to self: no one wants to see a crazed lady in tracksuits wrestling an old man for the last bunch of spinach.

The great thing about this little Easter brunch is that you can prepare a lot of it the day before. There is a bit of pre-work, so on Saturday afternoon pump up some tunes, pour a wine and get going on your prep. You can make the dough for the hot cross doughnut balls, smash out the slice (finally, an Easter egg hunt where you don’t have to move from the couch!), and get your ingredients ready for your Bangers n Hash and Easter surprise pies.

little Easter brunch

Come Sunday you can roll out of bed in your pyjamas, make yourself a cuppa, set the table and get your deliciousness at the ready for when the hoards arrive.

And if your guests’ pants are looking a little tight after the first three courses, you can always give them their Easter egg slice to go in a cute little takeaway bag (which doubles as a not so subtle hint that it’s time for your special Easter-couch-loose-pants-alone-time). Voila! Everyone’s happily stuffed with little bits of deliciousness and on their merry way.

Now you can get back to your very important Easter duties.

Easter egg hunt (slice)

Easter egg hunt slice

Yield: 16 little slices

Time: 30 minutes prep, leave in the fridge 4 hours or overnight

Tip: Make up to two days ahead and leave in the fridge. Just don’t eat it before the guests arrive!

Ingredients

50g shredded coconut, lightly toasted

80g melted butter

200g chocolate or digestive biscuits (whichever you prefer)

400g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (go for 70% cocoa rather than 90%, which is too bitter)

300ml thickened cream

250g Easter eggs (I use a combo of Cadbury’s Caramello, Crunchie and white and milk chocolate Lindt eggs)

Method

Brush a 25 x 25cm baking tin with a little melted butter and line the base with baking paper.

Blitz your biscuits in a food processor until they’re finely crushed. Add the melted butter and mix blitz again to combine. Then press mixture firmly into the base of the baking tin. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge for about 30 minutes to set.

Put the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until smooth (about 3 minutes), then let cool for 10 minutes.

Put about half of the chocolate mixture over the biscuit base and then scatter the Easter eggs over. Drizzle the remaining chocolate mixture over the eggs and make sure they’re all covered. Sprinkle the coconut evenly over the top, cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. Slice to serve.

Hot cross doughnut balls

Hot cross doughnut balls

Yield: makes around 40 balls

Time: 40 minutes for the dough, 30 minutes for prep and frying

Tip: You can make the dough the day before and I think it tastes even better if you do!

Ingredients

Hot cross bun dough

1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar

1 cup (250ml) warm milk

3 tsp yeast (use the sachets of dry yeast)

4 cups (600g) plain flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp mixed spice

90g butter, chopped

1 tsp salt

½ cup (80g) sultanas

½ cup (80g) currants

½ tbsp lemon zest

½ tbsp orange zest

½ cup (80ml) warm water

1 egg, beaten

White cross mixture

4 tsp caster sugar

4 tablespoons water

½ cup (35g) plain flour

Sugar mix for rolling

½ cup caster sugar

1½ tsp cinnamon

Vegetable oil for frying

Method

Hot cross bun dough

Pop the yeast and one tablespoon of the sugar, plus all of the milk in a small bowl and mix well until the yeast has dissolved. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and put it in a warm place for 10 minutes or until it gets frothy.

Sift flour, spices and salt into a large bowl and mix in the butter, rubbing it into the mix with your finger tips. Stir in the rest of the sugar, fruit, yeast mixture, egg and water in and use your hands to form it into a nice ball of dough. Turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes or until it’s smooth and stretchy. Place it in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Put some baking paper onto a couple of oven trays. Squish the dough back down to normal size and roll small portions of dough into little balls, about the size of a golf ball. Place the balls on trays in rows, making sure to put them about 3 cm apart from each other so they don’t stick together when they rise. Stand the trays in a warm place for about 20 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

White cross mixture

Sift the flour and sugar into a small bowl and stir in enough water to make a smooth, thick paste. Put your mixture into a piping bag and pipe a cross onto your balls.

Heat your oil up to 180C (I use a deep fryer, but if you’re using the stovetop, put about 2 inches of oil in a deep, solid-based skillet and use an oil splatter guard if you have one, they’re amazing). If you’re deep-frying, make sure you don’t put too many in at a time and overcrowd the fryer.

When the oil reaches temperature, carefully lower your balls in and cook for 1 minute on each side until golden brown. It’s good to do one tester make sure it’s cooked nicely before you put them all in. Remove from oil and place on paper towel on a rack to drain and cool.

Sugar mix

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a large, shallow bowl and mix well.

Once your balls have cooled down a bit, roll them in the sugar mix to coat well and serve while still warm.

Easter surprise pies (surprise! they’re easy and delicious)

Easter surprise pies

Yield: 12

Time: 15 minutes to prep, 30 minutes to cook

Ingredients

12 eggs

1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped

550g streaky bacon, diced

2 cups sour cream

4 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed

Method

Heat oven to 200°C. Fry bacon in a frying pan over medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towel.

Sauté the spinach in a large frypan on medium heat for around 2 minutes until just wilted. Set aside.

Grease a muffin trays (with 12 x 3/4 cup capacity) so you have enough greased for 12 pies. Slice pastry sheets into quarters and place each quarter into a muffin pan.

Put a teaspoon of bacon and a small amount of spinach into the base of each pie pan, reserving about 1/2 cup of the bacon. Mix the sour cream and salt and pepper until well-combined, then pour into pie pans. Crack an egg into each pan and sprinkle with remaining bacon bits.

Bangers n Hash

Bangers n hash

Yield: 12-14

Time: 35 min to prep, 15 to cook

Tip: You can prepare the shredded potatoes, chorizo and onion the day before.

Ingredients

Hash browns

½ cup plain flour

2 eggs

1 tbsp chopped fresh chives

1 onion, diced

3 raw chorizos, diced

8 potatoes, peeled

Salt and ground black pepper

250 ml vegetable oil for frying

Rockett or parsley to garnish

Relish

You can serve with a store-bought relish, but if you have time to make one a few days ahead, it’s totally worth it!

Method

Shred or grate your potatoes and rinse until water runs clear, then drain. I do this the day before and leave them immersed in water and covered in a large bowl in the fridge.

When you’re ready to use them, get a clean tea towel and squeeze the potatoes to remove any excess water. Then mix the potato, eggs, chives and flour together in a large bowl.

Fry the chorizo in a frypan over medium heat until it’s cooked through. Add the onions and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned. Add to the potato mix and combine.

Heat the oil in a large, deep frypan over medium-high heat. When it’s hot enough that a small piece of the mixture sizzles when it goes in, carefully place the mixture in one tablespoon at a time, taking care not to overcrowd the pan.

Fry until golden brown on the bottom (about 3 minutes), then carefully turn over and fry on the other side for another 3 minutes. Put your bangers n hash onto a plate lined with paper towel and pop into a warm oven while you finish the rest of the batches. Don’t cover them though as they will lose their crispiness.

Serve with some relish and a little side of rocket or parsley to garnish.

Bake for 30 mins or until pastry is golden and filling is cooked. Season to serve.

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Chrissy Dupé

Chrissy is a lover of lists and a self-confessed control freak. Her mission is to help other women with a strong need to be in control learn how to harness the power of their inner control freak and use it for good. Having lived through the devastation that being control freak without focus brings, and going out the other side stronger, Chrissy developed a series of hands-on, zero 'fluff' programs to help women control their freak, instead of letting it run them into the ground. Her philosophy is based on the little-known fact that control freaks are actually born for greatness... and that without them, the world would fall into disorganised chaos. You can find out more at www.controlyourfreak.com. More about the Author

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