Every Sunday morning when I was a kid growing up, my older brother and I, dressed in our “good” clothes, were sent off to Sunday School. Of course, my brother raced ahead, leaving me running behind trying my best to keep up with him. I scurried along, calling out to him to wait, but he never heeded my plaintive cries. At that stage in his young life, he thought it was the worst thing in the world to be seen out walking with a GIRL, and particularly if that girl happened to be his little sister!
Once Sunday School was over, (many times, if not every Sunday morning, my brother and a couple of his mates were sent from the room because of their disruptive, mischievous behaviour…and at threats of now-forgotten torture, I never did “dob in” him and his mates) we raced back home with the lure of a delicious Sunday lunch as our reward. Running through the yard, we would reach the backstairs leading up to the kitchen, to be greeted by the starvation-enhancing aromas of a roast meal wafting through the air. Sunday afternoons were spent at home. We were never allowed to go and play at our friends’ backyards, nor they in ours.
As I grew older, started working and was in my early teens, I discovered the biggest backyard of all. Sunday School and Sunday roast dinners/lunches were replaced by sand, surf, sun….and those glorious surf life-savers! And I don’t mean the lolly/candy ones!
And then as I grew a bit older (something that seems to happen every moment of the day. I've not yet learned how to kick this habit -I'll let you know when I do), home entertaining came in vogue. I've not broken that habit yet, either! Sunday brunches became a popular way to entertain friends and family. Because there is that saying "all things old, are new again" - I thought I'd share some brunch ideas with you.
Strawberry Pie: In a saucepan, combine 2-1/2 cups water, 2 cups white sugar and 5 tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in 30z packet of strawberry jelly. Allow to cool. slightly. Arrange 2 quarts of strawberries, tips pointing upwards, in two 9-inch pre-cooked pie crusts. Pour jelly mixture over, covering the berries. Allow to set in fridge.
Breakfast Souffle: Preheat oven to 190C (375F) . Place a large (9x13 or so) baking pan in the oven and fill with about an inch of water. Spray a 1-1/2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Melt 4 tablespoons butter and whisk in 1/4 cup flour, cooking for a couple of minutes over medium-low heat. Whisk in 1 cup milk until smooth and cook until thick, three minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup each grated cheddar and parmesan cheeses and a pinch of cayenne or dry mustard. Cook over very low heat until the cheeses melt. Beat a few tablespoons of the very thick sauce into the 4 egg yolks, then mix the yolk mixture into the sauce. Beat 4 egg whites stiff, but not dry. Mix a big scoop of the whites into the cheese sauce to lighten the mixture. Then carefully fold the sauce into the whites. When combined, put in a souffle dish and gently slip that into the water filled baking pan, bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve immediately with buttered toast.
Ham & Egg Pie: Pre-heat oven to 205C (400F) and plce rack in centre of oven. Have ready a 9-inch quiche pan or pie plate. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out one sheet of prepared puff pastry to fit the pie dish. After lining the dish with the puff pastry, arrange about 1/4lb (125g) diced ham on top of the pastry. Break 7 eggs, placing them evenly around the quiche pan. Prick each yolk with a fork but do not stir yolks and whites together. Sprinkle over about 3 tablespoons diced shallots (green onions), a light sprinkle of salt and pepper and then top with more ham....about the same quantity as previously. Roll a second sheet of puff pastry out to fit over the top. Cover pie with pastry, pinching the two sheets together, trimming off excess. Brush the top with egg wash. Place in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Serve cool or warm.
Ham, thinly sliced, gruyere cheese, thinly slice, freshly ground pepper to taste and proceed as above.
Fruit Fillings: Mangoes, (rock melon/cantaloupe, pawpaw/papaya, bananas, berries or whatever fruit takes your fancy) peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices tossed gently in sugar, fresh lemon juice and then placed on a crepe...fold over and serve topped with whipped cream.
Don't forget the Mimosas! I'm off to make some now!