How to successfully entertain your friends without being overwhelmed, breaking the bank and still enjoying yourself – The one-pan brunch
SERVES: 7 + 1 neighbour
PREP TIME: 20 mins
COOK TIME: 15 mins
IDEAL FOR: crowd pleaser, family brunch
So, you’ve landed on Part II – The One-Pan Brunch – of my three part cooking-for-a-crowd-extravaganza. This is my take on how to cope with a crowd whether it’s friends or a family gathering without losing your mind over it.
Of course it does require a bit of a plan (although you won’t find a lovely pdf of a ‘Weekly Food Planner’ to download here – sorry) but you may need a Post-it or scrap of paper to make your plan:
- Form basic idea of what’s being cooked for each meal
- Order your meat online (getting it delivered in a timely manner)
- Potentially freeze portions of it till you need it (tips here on freezing and thawing)
- Ideas to distract people (this is key)
I’m sharing this so you can decide if my basic plan could work for you. These are just simple ideas that have (for the most part) been successful. Don’t worry, they’re not overly complicated. They get everyone involved, fill hungry tummies and satisfy the taste buds.
My Bank Holiday menu continued…
- PART I: Friday day night Homemade pizza night – make your own. TICK
- PART II: Saturday morning Big brunch. Set everyone up for a day at the beach
- PART III: Saturday evening Yoghurt and turmeric marinated leg of lamb, slow cooked Bloody Mary Brisket, salads – TO DO
Having recovered from the not-so-seamless DIY Pizza night (feel free to check out my post and learn from my mistakes), it was a new day. A new dawn and time to redeem my cooking prowess, al fresco.
THE BIG ONE-PAN BRUNCH.
Once again, we were struck with another glorious Devon day, warm gentle wind, good rays, the scent of sea air.
Everyone felt obliged to let out their pasty white winter legs. And absorb some Vitamin D for the first time in months. Frightening.
As mentioned, the key to cooking a big brunch (and any other ‘meal-for-the-many’) is… distraction.
In this case, I have someone on:
- Tea and coffee orders – essential to get those sleepy-heads
- Set the table – always a good one as they have to figure out where you keep stuff keeps at least two or three people distracted
- Pre-brunch Badminton tournament (we squeeze a net onto out little lawn) but cards or entertaining the dog works just as well
- Toast maker – this is a big responsibility, we don’t want burnt toast
Tim and I get the wood oven back underway – this time we nailed it. Lovely flames all curly and licking the oven walls. Perfect heat being absorbed into those oven fire bricks.
The next tip for a big brunch is timing (as we know, big FAIL on that one for Pizza night). Prep your sausages and the tomatoes. Make sure all your ingredients at the ready and to hand – none of this rushing around to get eggs or bacon from the fridge.
And don’t forget, the ‘toast maker’ needs to be given the GO signal at just the right time for this brunch to all come together seamlessly.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Pop a large dish with some oil in (I use a cheap paella dish we bought years ago but you could also use a large roasting dish, whatever you can find) onto the hob. On this day we used the wood oven but it’s all the same principle.
2. First, halve the sausages (this makes cooking a lot faster and goes further for those hungry mouths) and pop them into the frying pan to brown, then add in the streaky bacon (family fave).
Let those ingredients, brown and sizzle to their perfect delicious-ness to gain all its amazing flavours.
Next, add your halved tomatoes with a little salt and pepper.
3. When the saussies are looking fine, the bacon looks divinely crispy and the ‘tommy’s’ have got that lush look about them, take the pan off the heat and spread them around the pan evenly – this avoids fights around the table about getting a bit of everything.
4. Make some spaces with a fish slice and crack your eggs into them and place back on the hob (or in y case, the wood oven) for another 5 minutes or until your eggs are cooked the way you like them.
NB: By now, someone should be all over the toast making!
5. Take some fresh parsley and sprinkle over the top along with some cracked pepper to make the dish a little more pretty.
Ring the bell and serve it up! … you should have a rather impressive looking full English one-pan brunch ready to dish out!
I even had enough to serve up Sean who popped his head over the gate to see what we were up to – good timing or a good nose?!
Try it, it’s a fun dish to do.
After everyone had this good hearty start to the day, it was time to quickly prep the leg of lamb and the brisket (check it out PART III, here) so we could get down the beach and enjoy the sun and fresh air.
If you have a great brunch bonanza to share, let me know… take a photo as well and I’ll post on a special ‘Big Brunch Bonanza’ post (or something like that..)