How to Throw a Stress-Free Brunch | Melissa Hemsley
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How to Throw a Stress-Free Brunch


How to Throw a Stress-Free Brunch

Whether it be a birthday, baby shower, hen do, house warming, brunches are the new dinner parties. If you’re the one hosting, it’s of the utmost importance that you enjoy it, otherwise don’t do it!

Here are my top tips and recipe ideas for how to prep ahead and keep (almost) everyone happy (you can’t make everyone happy):

  1. Have one show stopping centre piece;  I always like a side of smoked salmon – ideal for a group of 20- 25. I also try smoked trout, which is delish. Dress it with capers, lime pickled onions and dill.
  2. Especially now it’s getting cooler, I think it’s important to have a hot dish. I like to make a spiced tomato sauce the night before (using quality tinned tomatoes) then I separate it into 2 pans, add cooked chickpeas or beans for the vegans, and drop in eggs and bake them into shakshuka.
  3. Serve a delicious dip that will taste delicious with the shakshuka. Try Pea guacamole  or a humus. If you don’t have time, buy a shop bought one, transfer into a bowl, drizzle with some really good olive oil and a sprinkle of chilli flakes or your favourite spice mix.
  4. If you’re feeling fancy & have a little time, bake some bread the day before like my Quick Quinoa Bread from Eat Happy (ready in under 30 mins). Then simply slice it up on the day & put it under the grill to warm through.
  5. Make some granola the day before – it’s a great excuse to use up the odds and ends of nuts and seeds and dried fruit in cupboards  – try quinoa flakes as well as the regular oat flakes and serve with a tray of thick yoghurt, coconut yoghurt, some local honey or maple syrup.
  6. Stew some fruit.  In the summer, I like to serve summer berries but this time of year, roughly chop some apples and pears or figs (for extra special occasions as much more expensive)  – check out a recipe here and the cinnamon will make your place smell amazing.
  7. Get out all the bowls / plates / napkins / cutlery  the night before. If you want to save time and keep it relaxed (which is what I always do), stack them in one corner along with all the cutlery on a tray or stood upright in a heavy pot so everyone can help themselves.
  8. As well as the usual teas/coffees / herbal teas, I like to take 5 mins to brew up a big pot of delicious homemade tea. It makes the brunch special and if it’s a hot day, you can ice it too. Check out this lemon verbena and mint one (as I have a lemon verbena plant), you could swap the lemon verbena for roughly chopped lemongrass or grate some ginger in and add some lemon slices to serve.  Put the pot out on a heatproof mat with a ladle and some honey.
  9. Fill up as many bottles and jugs as you have and garnish with mint / cucumber / rosemary sprigs and citrus slices.  Stack water glasses next to them so everyone can help themselves so you don’t have to worry.
  10. If you’re celebrating, you’ll probably need a cake.  I have a crowd pleasing Celebration Cake in my book Eat Happy but sometimes, I like to make a big banana bread and stick candles in that instead.  Check out this recipe for a vegan banana bread.  It serves about 12 & if you like you could double the recipe quantities and pour the mix into muffin cases (they’ll take much less time to bake if you do that). Then you can stack all the muffins once they’ve cooled onto a cake stand.  It will look brilliant!
  11. Last but no means least! You know when everyone asks you if you want any help and you say NO!? Say yes! Put your bin somewhere obvious, let people help you, they’ll be happy to clear their plate and stack it in the corner. Don’t feel you need to do everything.  A happy host will make for a happy celebration.


For lots more brunch recipes, from one pan eggs to fluffy pancake stacks head here.

Let me know how you get on with your brunch spreads over on Instagram @melissa.hemsley

Melissa x

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