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Brunch Club

Recipe: Berry & spice baked oatmeal

Recipe: Berry & spice baked oatmeal

Brunch. Did we mention we're fans?! Never is a brunch gathering more welcome than on a chill Winter weekend. 

One more thing I may or may not have mentioned in this space or our last, i'm really not a morning person. This time of year dragging myself out of bed is a hard task, I need all the help I can get. Fortunately the antidote is nearly always food, and I get hangry if I don't eat a good breakfast.

So, in the spirit of saving time in the morning i've devised this recipe. Akin to a good old fashioned winter fruit crumble, yet refined sugar free so therefore truly virtuous and full of seasonal berry cheer. Feel free to mix up the fruit, use whatever you have to hand. Frozen fruit is totally cool also, its too flippin' cold for foraging now and I doubt you'll find anything of value. (I really meant to publish this post back in October but i've just been too damn busy, the life of a blogger never did run smooth. However, the recipe has been tested several times over in the interim...)

This serves 6 so is great for feeding a crowd at brunch. Alternatively, split between 6 bowls and save in the fridge to warm up as needed, 1 for every day of the week.

You will need:

  • 350g blackberries/mixed fruits of your choice
  • 150g rolled oats
  • 50g flaked almonds 
  • 50g mixed seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 100ml maple syrup or honey
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 egg

Scatter the berries over the base of a 20cm ovenproof bowl, round or square will work.

Mix the oats, almonds, seeds, salt, baking powder and spices together in a bowl and set aside.

Combine the milk & maple syrup/honey (If using honey it will need warming in a pan over a low heat so it melts a little.) whisk the egg into the milk and maple/honey and pour over the dried ingredients.

Spoon the mixture over the top of the berries and gently press down with the back of a spoon. 

The dish can now be left overnight in the fridge and baked first thing in the morning, alternatively this can be baked straight away.

Either way it wants to be baked at 160°C for 25-30 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the fruit has bubbled up and caramelised around the edges.

Allow to cool slightly before serving with a little yoghurt. 

Brunch Club: Delilah's

Brunch Club: Delilah's

A couple of months ago we featured the manifesto of John Helps, who planned to start up a new quarterly magazine called Great Central, previewing arts and culture events in and around Leicester. 

Well, we're pleased to say the first issue of the paper magazine is officially out today - if you're local to Leicester you should be able to pick it up in venues, eateries and bars across the city - and the website has gone live.

And we're even more chuffed to say we've written a column - which you can read below, with some added photos. Can you guess the subject of our contribution...?

It will probably come as no surprise that we, The Weekend Collective, love brunch. It is, after all, a cultural activity which has no place in Monday to Friday life. So in honour of the most leisurely of meals, we've founded our own Brunch Club - to make a real monthly effort to appreciate good food and good friends.

For our last date, our venue was the newly opened Delilah Fine Foods, an import from across the border in Nottingham. Our company was a couple of adventure loving friends, who we've connected with through blogging - Janet Blogs at Someone, Somewhere and Laura is the face behind Make, Do and Mend. Laura is a Nottingham dweller, so a visit to Delilah's seemed particularly appropriate.  

Set in a lovingly restored building in the heart of St Martins, Delilah's boasts an array of delightful deli items. The menu format is simple and effective - a selection of sandwiches, salads, and tapas showcasing the very best of Delilah's impeccably sourced produce. 

So with such a wide range of foodie finery on offer and four hungry mouths to feed, what did we opt for? The same sandwich. All of us. But what a sandwich it was! Grilled halloumi on a bed of roasted vegetables with homemade harissa yoghurt. Delicious. (To be honest, there was one small difference in our orders -  three of us opted for sourdough bread while Janet bravely branched out with ciabatta - a real rebel).

We ate outside, grasping at the few glimmers of sunshine our terrible English Summer had to offer. And what do blogger talk about when out to lunch? Blogging, obviously. But we're also all fans of good books, creative pursuits and vintage shopping - so there was plenty of swapping stories and ideas of places to visit, things to do and stuff to read.

One of the joys of blogging is the community it builds - friendships can be forged without even meeting a person "in real life". We have made connections all over the world with people we've never met, but we're very lucky Laura and Janet just happen to live nearby.

Brunch was, needless to say, followed by an obligatory rummage through the nearby charity shops, and more chatter. An excellent way to spend a Sunday.

Brunch Club: The Coach, Marlow

Brunch Club: The Coach, Marlow

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Marlow for a long anticipated trip to The Hand and Flowers -  Tom Kerridge's two Michelin stared restaurant. It was incredible. But this is a post about brunch, so I'll tell you no more than that, only to say go there, go there now!

Little known to us Tom Kerridge has two restaurants in Marlow, the lesser known is The Coach, an intimate little pub in the heart of the town. It has the same approach as the hand in flowers in that its a relaxed, cozy affair with an emphasis on delivering bloody good food. 

The evening menu offers British tapas style dining with a choice of meat, no meat and sweet. We gazed upon the evening menu and a few of the dishes that caught our eye were Rotisserie of the day, chicken kiev with cauliflower cheese and smoked haddock and black pudding scotch egg. 

The Coach operates on a first come first served basis, there is no booking system and with just 40 covers it's pretty small. So as you can imagine, it gets quite busy. Fortunately we were visiting on a Friday morning and were lucky enough to get a table. Brunch was the order of the day...

Carlton (the man in my life) opted for muesli followed by a bacon sarnie. I opted for eggs Benedict (always my brunch dish of choice, always.) but needless to say, it was a little bit more special than that. The muesli is of course handmade, the bacon is honey glazed and the hollandaise for the eggs Benni is made to order.

So, enough of my ramblings, have a look for yourself and I bet your mouth will be watering by the time you've scrolled to the bottom of the page...

the coach, marlow
homemade muesli
eggs benedict
honey bacon bagel

Brunch Club: Continental

Brunch Club: Continental

This is the first in what we hope will become a semi-regular feature on our blog, celebrating the meal between breakfast and lunch - something Becca is passionate about...

Brunch Club is an idea I've had for a good number of years, but because of irregular working patterns and (let's be honest) an inability to juggle my social diary when I did have a Saturday/Sunday off, it's never really happened... until now!

I love breakfast food - like, really love breakfast food. There's mornings when I could really do with in a lie-in, but if I wake up earlier than intended and the idea of poached eggs and spinach or granola and honey-drenched yoghurt pops into my head, that's it. I'm compelled to get up and hunter-gather (i.e. stick the kettle on and open the fridge).

I also love spending quality time with my friends. And by quality I actually mean relaxed and lazy - time when there's no distractions, no pressure to dress-up or talk about office politics.

So last Sunday we held our first Brunch Club - just three couples. We prepared the food together, we ate - lots, we tidied away, we watched football, we talked weddings and business and kitchen designs, we listened to music, and we discovered I don't own enough crockery or cutlery to host more than four people at a time...

The Menu: Continental-ish

  • Poached eggs and avocado sprinkled with pepper and lava salt
  • Camembert baked with rosemary
  • Continental meats and tomatoes
  • Sourdough toast, warm croissants
  • Icelandic layered pots (mini recipe below)
  • Coffee, tea, orange and apple juice, mint and elderflower mocktails

The Recipe: Icelandic layered pots

This was the sweet element of our brunch, inspired by the breakfast enjoyed in an amazing hostel on my recent trip to Iceland.

Now, I'll admit, I cheated a little due to time constraints and didn't make my own granola - but Elle has a great homemade recipe you can try. I did however make the compote, which is mega simple and involves non of the faffing-with-thermometers you get with jam making.

  • The night before: wash and cut up your fruit of choice (I went with strawberries and raspberries from Leicester Market). I used the American cups system for this recipe. Add three cups of fruit to a saucepan and add a splash of orange juice , plus a teaspoon of cinnamon. Heat until bubbling, then reduce the heat until the fruit softens - it helps to squash the strawberries down a little with a spoon. Add honey to your desired sweetness - I preferred to keep mine a little sharp. Cool down in a bowl, cover and pop in the fridge.
  • The day of brunch: this is very much a 'do-it-yourself' dish. We just laid out the cooled compote, two pots of Skye (Icelandic yoghurt) and a bag of granola, and invited people to fill their own wine glass (did I mention my lack of serving dishes?) with layers of all three.

Are you a brunch lover? Any recipe, theme or restaurant suggestions for future Brunch Clubs are more than welcome!