I have issues with brunch. To me, like Father’s Day, it is an entirely American (therefore deeply suspicious) concept. Irrational prejudices aside, it is also a way of eliminating one meal of the day. This fundamentally goes against my innate greed. As an early riser, I like to eat first thing: preferably in bed. Breakfast in bed is my ultimate luxury – a tray loaded with tea, toast and marmalade/jam, with plenty of butter and a piece of ripe fruit – this is the finest way to enjoy the first meal of the day: preferably with the radio on, or some reading matter at hand. On a day when I know I’m having brunch, however, I know I should forgo this pleasure and wait hungrily for 3 hours or so until the appointed brunch hour arrives. After brunch the whole day is skewed; supper has to be early because you’re hungry, lunch is banished entirely. It’s all wrong. Monthly Sundays at school where we had ‘brunch’ were a thing of dread for me, whilst others looked forward to them for weeks in advance. I would wake at my usual hour of 6, eat some ‘tuck’ (aahh Tuck) then go to brunch, eat a little, and smuggle some hash browns (aahh hash browns) away for the afternoon when – not having had lunch – I knew I would become peckish again.
Despite my hatred of brunch, there are some foods which do seem designed for such a meal, and I am not wholly against these. These delightful fluffy pancakes, for example, would make a perfect Brunch if you were so inclined, but for me, they make a perfect breakfast. It may seem like a lot of faff for first thing in the morning, but if you get some active stuff out the way first thing, then you’re justified in being sedentary for the rest of the day, I feel.
Ricotta Pancakes, Peaches, Strawberry and Lavender Jam
Makes 12 big’uns
125 ml whole milk
zest half a lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (optional)
2 eggs, separated
100g self-raising flour
Mix the ricotta with the zest, milk, salt, sugar and egg yolks. Whisk the whites to soft peaks. Fold the flour into the ricotta mixture, then gently fold in the whites trying to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. Heat a frying pan to medium heat, pour in a drop of sunflower oil and then spoon ladles of the mixture in. Fry for about a minute on each side, and serve immediately, with your choice of accompaniments.
Other things which would be nice with them:
Maple syrup and blueberries
Poached gooseberries/rhubarb/apricots/plums etc.
Runny honey and raspberries