Gourmet weekend brunches made on a shoestring budget

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When I go to a cafe, even if I’m not going for breakfast, I always take a look at the breakfast menu because it’s what gives me great ideas to try at home for my own weekend brunches. I often write down the ideas I’d like to try, or take a photo of the menu so I can bring it up when I’m standing in the kitchen trying to remember which ingredient went well with something I have on hand.

 

This was a breakfast I had at a cafe in 2014 and it inspired me to make similar brunches at home.

 

So today I’ve gathered together some brunch ideas for you to try this weekend. Most of them are simple to put together, and use ingredients you have at home (thus why it’s called a budget brunch – because you don’t need to run out to the supermarket to get any of the ingredients).

I always use Arabic beans, called Ful, because I like them better. They are just tins of fava beans but you can use any type of beans you like, tinned (including baked beans from the supermarket) or dried beans that you’ve cooked. I often use beans as part of brunch because other than beans being really cheap, they are also a great source of protein and are quite filling.

These are the fava beans I use. I buy them from an ethnic store close by to my house, but you can find them in some supermarkets or the larger fruit and veg stores.

 

When I make weekend brunches I make sure I pack them full of vegetables. I use whatever I have on hand, especially tomatoes, spinach, avocado and sometimes even asparagus. I do this because it makes the meal more filling (especially if you’re eating at 11am) but also means I’m not packing the brunch full of calories. You’ll notice that the below brunch ideas don’t include bacon, and this is because I don’t like bacon, plus it’s full of calories. Add it if you like, or ditch it for more veggies and some feta or smoked salmon like I do.

Breakfast Brunch Trays

These breakfast brunch trays are essentially a do-it-yourself breakfast.

How to make it: Grab a large platter or chopping board and put out whatever you have on hand. Throw on some croissants, toast, pieces of Lebanese bread, English muffins, or any other breakfast type bread you have. Then chop up some fresh veggies like tomatoes, spinach, avocados, lettuce, etc. Put some smoked salmon on the board or heat up some beans (check out how to make beans here). Cook some veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes or asparagus. And fry, poach or scramble some eggs and add it to the board as well or grill some haloumi for that finishing touch.

If you like something sweet for breakfast, then add to the board some small pots of jam, cream cheese, fruit (I always add strawberries and blueberries, but you can add whatever fruit you have on hand). You can also add tinned fruits such as peaches or pears, and even a little tub of nutella which you could dunk the fruit into (you don’t have to be an angel every day of the week!).

 

Here are a few of the different Brunch Breakfast Trays I’ve made.

 

Royal Brunch Stacks

Royal brunch stacks are really just fancy breakfast sandwiches – they’re open sandwiches with many things piled on top, so they’re not your usual open sandwich, they’re royal (i.e. bigger and better).

How to make it: Toast some thick slices of bread (you want something that will hold the weight so white bread is not a great idea), or use Turkish rolls, English muffins or bread rolls split in half. On top of the toast I usually smear over some hummus, labne or cream cheese (or any dip you have on hand like spinach and feta, capsicum dip or even beetroot dip). I spread on the dip to make the lettuce, spinach or rocket easier to stick to the bread – so add the salad leaves on top of the dip. Put on some sliced tomatoes, sliced avocado or any other vegetables you like. On top of that I sometimes place a slice of cheese (something that melts is the best), and other times I leave it out.

Once you’ve prepared the royal stack to this stage, fry or poach a couple of eggs, and put them on top of the bread with smoked salmon (or you could use bacon). I like to sprinkle some dukkah or za’atar (I use an oregano based za’atar mix) over the top of the egg and don’t forget to season the egg (shake over some salt or pepper or both).Grilled haloumi makes a great addition to your stack too, or crumble some feta over the top.

Tip: I try to make my poached and fried eggs a little runny so they act as the sauce to bring the meal together. You could make hollandaise sauce (watch the video) if you like, or keep the calories lower by just using the egg.

 

Here are some of my versions of the Royal Brunch Stack

 

Breakfast Fritters

I’ve talked about how to make fritters before, but I wanted to share with you here that they are a great weekend brunch option because you can add anything you like to them, or onto them to make them quite filling.
How to make it: Read all about how to make fritters in my fritters post. For the weekend version add some ful (fava beans) or baked beans on top, and add some other veggies like spinach, tomatoes, avocado or lettuce. You could eat them with smoked salmon (or bacon), and then crumble over some feta for a delicious finish. Or try Jamie Oliver’s Healthy Cheese and Corn Pancakes (aka fritters) recipe.

Here I made egg fritters and topped them with beans and vegetables.

 

Pancakes

It wouldn’t be the weekend without pancakes! Although many people love pancakes, often those with allergies are often left out. But no longer, as I’ve found the perfect recipe!
How to make it: For regular pancakes I’ve been using the Australian Women’s Weekly basic pancake recipe for a long time. But since I found the Banana Oat Blender pancake recipe, it’s all I’ve been using. I like to use the oat pancakes because they’re easy to make in the blender, they’re more filling, they don’t give me the sugar spike and then plummet, and I don’t need any sort of specialty flour to make them.

Tip: When making the blender oat pancakes, the mix is different to regular pancake mix so the best way to cook it is to have the heat as low as it goes and cook them with a lid on the pan. I do this until the top has become firm and then it makes it much easier to flip them over. I only cook them on the second side for a fraction of the time of the first side.

On top of your pancakes you can serve them with:

  • Strawberries, blueberries and peaches with honey or maple syrup.
  • Cooked apples, cinnamon, maple syrup and walnuts.
  • Spread them with nutella and top with wedges of orange and some crushed almonds.
  • Pop some blueberries into the pancake as it’s cooking then serve with sliced banana and maple syrup.
Here are some options for topping your pancakes.

If you need some more inspiration about what to make for brunch, check out my post on finding inspiration at a breakfast buffet.

Question: What are you having for brunch this weekend?

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