Sunday, 12 June 2011

Upstairs Brunch Event Trial #1 - Success!!

I am happy to announce our first trial run brunch was a huge success! Thanks to our guinea pig pals Aleem, Nureen, Terry, Suze, Santi & Eu-Hui for coming along and giving such great feedback - you guys are awesome! And of course a HUGE thank you to Hubby Chief Taste Tester for not only being on hand for taste testing but also doing all the washing up - you're the best!

For today, I had a chance to use some crockery I found back in Melbourne at Camberwell Market (hands down the best ever carboot in the entire world). These little side plates are hand painted with tiny little cute!

But let's get back to the important stuff - FOOD! I had a great time coming up with the menu for our first trial run. With this menu, I wanted to achieve a few things - challenge myself to try out different recipes from my myriad of cookbooks - All the recipes today were newbies but definitely ones that I will make again (perhaps with a tweak or two) - they were pretty yummy! The second target was to keep a check on portion control (I normally way over cater and we end up having to eat the same thing for a week straight after a party) and finally I wanted to see if I could get as organised as possible to avoid the dreaded stress attack of trying to juggle preparing food plus making sure everybody has a drink in their hands and are also having fun. I had a good mix of hot & cold courses which enabled me to do some of the prep work the night before.

So here's what we had:

Menu: The Healthy Decadent Brunch - it will leave you satisfied & virtuous (well, there is a lot of fruit)!

Freshly squeezed orange juice (thanks Hubby!!) and/or Bloody Mary or Virgin Mary (a la Nigel Slater). I couldn't find celery salt but will definitely keep an eye out for it as I think it would make a nice addition to this drink.

For starters, something healthy: Homemade bircher muesli with fresh berries, yoghurt & honey. I soaked the rolled oats in apple juice overnight. Next time I might try soaking in orange juice to give the muesli more flavor. I served these in big glasses and layered the muesli between the yoghurt, honey and berries.

For mains, we had french toast with whipped maple syrup mascarpone & cinnamon stewed pears. This dish got the big thumbs up from everybody! Not much left over as you can see!

We then had a comfort break with some lively conversation, followed by freshly baked apricot muffins & almond twist pastries - these worked out really well. I was particularly happy with the almond twist as it was the first time I had made a sweet dough totally by hand. The kneading was very theraputic! I also let the dough rise slowly overnight in the fridge which not only enabled me to do some of the preparation the night before, but also gave the pastry more flavor. Hubby liked the apricot muffins - they had a lovely crunchy top and buttery light inside, still warm from the oven....

We had these fresh baked goodies along with a cup of Gryphon tea and...

Nespresso coffee (thanks Aleem & Nureen for bringing over your cool machine & coffee capsules!) - what a special treat. It gave our "underground restaurant" a very professional feel!!

So first trial run over. The dishes are now washed and put away....I am really looking forward to hosting the next event - so back to the cookbooks for me to plan the next menu!

Please drop me a note if you are interested in finding out the dates of my next brunch.

Cheers for now.

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