Brunch, the Sunday Way
There's no secret that I love books and cooking. And as you can tell from our Year of the Pancake, we love breakfast in this house, and I'm always up for a nice brunch.
So of course I was excited to get my first ARC for a cookbook! And this one is all things brunch!
Brunch the Sunday Way, is by Alan Turner and Terence Williamson. I received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The description really caught my attention:
"For the first time London’s legendary champions of brunch share the recipes that have made Islington’s Sunday Café a runaway success. Covering everything from quick and easy staples to fabulous feasts, and taking inspiration from a global list of ingredients, this book will take you all the way from cracking an egg to flipping pancakes and roasting pork – all with spectacularly Instagrammable results!"
Instagrammable results is true! The cookbook has a few different sections, and each one has pictures of brunch plates that make your mouth water. Of the recipes I tried before compiling this review, I got some amazing pictures as well! It also felt like a great way to try out a successful brunch place from the UK when I don't know when I'll get to visit again.
One thing I wasn't prepared for is the differences in measurement between the UK and the US. This required a little extra work on my part, but if you're anywhere else in the world, this probably won't be a problem for you. The US seems to just be on a different page when it comes to any kind of measurement.
I tried three recipes from different sections in the book, for variety.
The first recipe I tried was for a feta and olive cake!
Keep in mind that due to the pandemic, a few substitutions may have been necessary, but I will be sure to point out any changes I made.
This is a savory bread that I was really excited to try. I love feta and kalamata olives and already had some on hand! It also seemed to be one of the easiest, no fuss recipes in the book. Mix everything up and throw it in the oven, but with the feta, olives, and scallions I was pretty sure the pay off would be more than worth it.
The recipe called for sun blush tomatoes, which I did not have so I used sun dried tomatoes. I checked and they are not the same thing but I figured it would be a good substitute and complimentary to the other flavors in the loaf.
The recipe also called for a lot of olive oil. Paired with the olives and feta, I was a little worried that this was going to be a pretty heavy bread. It was so moist and decadent but also really delicious! I had a piece in the morning warmed up with a little low fat butter, but it also makes a great side!
A few days later I grabbed a piece of the feta and olive loaf at dinner, as a side to go with a breaded chicken with roasted red pepper cream sauce and it was amazing! A great way to swap out your usual carb. If you're looking to impress, this is a step up from mashed or roasted potatoes, for sure! This is a really versatile recipe, and great to make ahead. I was originally worried about how fatty or dense it might be, but a few days later I popped a piece in the microwave to warm up, and it hadn't dried out at all!
The second recipe I tried was scrambled eggs on sourdough with roasted tomatoes. Another simple recipe, but I know roasted tomatoes are a bit of a classic when it comes to an English breakfast. I'm usually to lazy to make them myself, but this recipe seemed straight forward and I figured I could throw the tomatoes in the oven while I put together the rest of the breakfast.
A little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme before throwing the tomatoes in the oven. I didn't have fresh thyme so I used dried and the tomato still turned out lovely! I did need to leave it in the oven longer than the 15-20 minutes noted in the recipe as they were a little too runny for my taste. But the simple flavor was perfect with the rest of the breakfast.
The scrambled eggs used a splash of cream, whereas I normally would add a splash of milk. Scrambled eggs might sound super easy, but slowing down to cook them on a low heat is a great way to get creamier eggs, and trying this recipe reminded me of that! I was hesitant to pick this recipe because it seemed so simple, but it really shows you how a few little swaps can take your breakfast to the next level!
Even the bread! Normally I would make a regular piece of toast, but sourdough is such a nice bread, and we don't usually have it at home. Swapping out our usual loaf of white bread for sourdough was a stress free treat! Slowing down to scramble the eggs with care, was another treat! I added some store bought chicken breakfast sausage to the meal and I can honestly say that it was a simple but lovely breakfast, that didn't take a ton of time or effort on my part. The most time consuming part was waiting for the tomatoes to finish in the oven. But for someone with a busy morning routing you could toss them in the oven while you get other things ready!
Seriously, look at how bright and inviting that plate looks!
The last recipe I tried from Brunch the Sunday Way was the falafel. I've made falafel before and it's a great meal to prep and make to have for lunch or dinner for a few days. The picture looked so vibrant and hearty that I was really excited to try the recipe.
The falafel is paired with a spinach salad, hummus, and sliced avocado. Looking at the recipe it can be overwhelming. There are three different components to prepare. The cookbook includes a recipe for hummus, but having already had store bought hummus in the fridge I decided to use that instead. This helped cut down on the time needed as well as the clean up effort afterwards.
One other swap I made was to bake the falafel instead of frying it. Due to dietary restrictions in our household, frying the falafel wouldn't have worked for us personally, but we have baked falafel before and it's worked really well! What I didn't realize is that this recipe is meant to make four huge falafels. If I were to do it again, I would probably use the mix, which was a really nice consistency, to make my usual smaller sized falafels, and spread it out over more meals.
The spinach salad had the shortest ingredient list with four ingredients, one of which I had to skip because I could not get my hands on a pomegranate anywhere. But when you realize that one of the items is quinoa it's more work and another pan, because you first have to cook the quinoa. As a tip, I would suggest making this on a week where you might work quinoa into other parts of your meal plan so that you can make a bunch at once and really make the most of your efforts.
The sumac dressing was also really nice, but it didn't have an sumac which I was surprised about. Not sure if that was a mistake as this was an ARC. I also used canned beets because it's what I had available in my pantry. Overall, this is one of the best spinach salads I've had!
I added some goat cheese the next day to leftovers. First, the portions were huge and very filling. And second, what are beets without goat cheese?
Overall, the recipes I tried were yummy! I would point out that part of why I didn't try most of the other recipes is because they seemed very time consuming, having multiple components, some of which probably needed to be made in advance.
Would I try more of these recipes? Absolutely! But will we be relying on this as a brunch staple? Probably not. Though the recipes we tried were good, they were a lot of work, and I don't want to spend my whole morning making breakfast on the weekend. And I don't want to make a jam, and cook chicken breast, before I can make myself a sandwich. At the least, the recipes are great inspiration if you're confident in the kitchen or comfortable in making some swaps!
We will probably be reserving these recipes for special occasions. As you can tell from the pictures, these recipes are sure to impress any brunch guests!
To try these recipes for yourself, you can purchase Brunch the Sunday Way, here!