With Mother’s Day on the horizon, a celebratory brunch is the perfect opportunity to show some food love. Brunch menus have never been more exciting with countless Ottawa eateries hosting top-notch brunches, but if your goal is to avoid the crowds, then host a fabulous brunch at home.
The key to stress free entertaining – the kind where you enjoy the event as well – all comes down to planning and preparation. If you are skilled in the kitchen, go ahead and serve the Crab Cake Eggs Benedict you saw on Pinterest or whip up Lemon Meringue Waffles inspired by your favorite cookbook. But, if your style is more akin to sleeping in and pouring the Mimosas, then this guide is for you. Here’s a few of our favourite pro tips for your next amazing brunch.
Half the fun of planning a menu is the research, and it’s easy to spend hours gazing at photos of amazing food. Enjoy the process but be realistic about the time you have and the skill level required. Don’t set yourself up for hassle (or disaster) later in the week.
Consider what you can make in advance and what needs to be addressed the day of. Don’t forget to factor in time to do your shopping and source any specialty items you may need. If you see that your plan is adding up to time you don’t have, then consider picking up some of your favourites fallbacks like: baked goods, pastries, or dessert.
- Plan your menu a week out, or earlier.
- Choose menu items that can be prepared ahead of time; then it’s just a matter of finishing and serving the day of.
- Serving buffet style allows for choice and ease of service.
- Think about décor, table accessories and flowers to create a beautiful buffet. Search the internet for inspiration and if you have time, create fun name tags for your menu items.
- Platter and wrap food the night before, pre-set service items, organize (and chill) beverages and have a plan for what needs to be done day of.
- The fewer tasks the morning of, the less mess and concern with timing. Build in time for the unexpected (and a Mimosa prior to guest arrival)!
The appeal of brunch is a variety of both sweet and savoury dishes that feel indulgent and familiar. It’s also the perfect meal to either stay in your comfort zone with a tried and true recipe or explore new flavours. Consider some of the following possibilities:
- Who doesn’t love eggs at brunch? Frittatas and cocottes are the perfect way to create delicious bites and are perfect for advance preparation. Simply cook and serve. They’re also easy to make in individual servings using a ramekin or simple muffin pan, and look super cute!
- No time for hot eggs? How about an assortment of gourmet devilled eggs.
- Muffins, loaves, coffee cakes, or bread pudding can be made in advance and satisfy the sweet component on your menu. Take your inspiration from seasonal ingredients.
- Scone dough can be made in advance, frozen portioned then thawed and baked the morning of. Try a new flavour combination such as smoked cheddar with chorizo and onion.
- Try mini yogurt parfaits in small mason jars or cocktail glasses. They’re easy to prepare in advance or set up a build-your-own parfait station; perfect for picky eaters.
- Serve your favourite local cheeses, charcuterie, or smoked fish. Check on-line for current platter presentation trends! Don’t forget interesting accompaniment such as pickled vegetables, chutneys, mustards and nuts.
- Are you a fan of potatoes at brunch? Incorporate them into your favorite frittata or reheat a flavour packed hash or potato pancake.
- Adding pestos, salsas and sauces add extra punch and keep the adventurous eaters in the family happy.
- Add fruit and your favourite fresh spring cheese to leafy greens, or serve fruit salad accented with simple syrup flavoured with ginger, lavender or maple.
Be it a bold taste adventure or a simple family tradition, a beautiful worry free Mothers Day brunch is as simple as taking the time to prepare and plan. Think casual elegance, it never goes out of style.
Do as much advance preparation as necessary and outsource as needed, then just relax, and enjoy the day. You earned it and Mom will love it.
Copy by: Tracey Black – Executive Chef/Owner, Epicuria Fine Food & Catering.
Photos by: Cori Horton