Love meat? Love to socialise and play the role of host? This is the brunch for you
This one goes out to all the meat lovers in the UAE, the fully fledged members of a club whose idea of the perfect Friday afternoon involves good times with family and friends, and great times with loads of delicious meat dishes. This is our guide to preparing your own DIY brunch, with a parade of skewers, burgers, beef and much more, all jostling for you and your guests’ attention and affection.
The best way to approach food at the start of a brunch is the same as how to get in a bath. If you throw yourself straight in, you’re just going to get hurt. Much better to ease yourself in slowly. The first plate (that first dip of the toe) is there to send a signal to your stomach that a real good feeding is about to commence. ‘I’m ready, tummy. Are you?’
So the spread of starters you offer should mirror this tactic. Nothing too heavy, nothing too ambitious. And as this brunch is about mixing and mingling, finger food is the order of the day.
Go down the meat-on-sticks route: it means little fuss for you, big-impact flavours for guests. Shish taouk skewers are zippy with sumac, garlic and paprika, while Bombay lamb kebabs are fragrant and smoky. To make life easier, both can be marinated overnight.
Dips are also a safe bet. Smoked paprika hummus and htipiti – a Greek red pepper delight – would be great, and taste leagues better when made in advance. Remember to grab them out of the fridge before everyone begins to arrive (especially that one person you just know will rock up early).
Serve the skewers and dips with bread from our bakery (such as pittas, flatbreads), antipasti from our deli (like mixed olives, sun-dried tomatoes and marinated artichokes) and your brunch will be off to a flier.
Now it’s time for the true meat feast start. Serving beef for a group can be a tricky task, satisfying the full array of preferred levels of doneness. A joint of grass-fed beef (like this ribeye roast) recognises this problem and solves it for you. Because of the quality of the beef, it will be juicy and tender throughout the whole joint: those who like their meat closer to well-done can claim dibs on the first few slices; anyone who prefers beef nearer to rare can call shotgun at first sight of the crimson centre.
These Korean chicken thighs threaten to be the hot topic of your brunch (just like that outfit, that hairstyle, that secret revealed ‘by accident’). They are so, so easy to prepare: simply marinate the thighs – the night before, of course – in a mixture of soy, maple syrup, sriracha and friends. The recipe calls for the thighs to be griddled. But listen – this is your party, so you can braai if you want to. If you do decide to head outside to the barbecue, you’ll find everything you need to dominate the grill in store – hardwood from the SpinneysHome range, long-reach tongs, basting brushes and more.
As you’ve gone to the effort of lighting a fire, you may as well add a few extras – our boerewors is traditionally spiced and oh-so-juicy, and these Moroccan lamb burgers come with a harissa and feta mayo, which is reason alone to make them.
The American philosopher Homer Simpson once advised that “you don’t win friends with salad.” Although we reckon Homer would be great fun at brunch, we disagree with him on this point. Not only do you win friends with salads, your friends will definitely expect a few lighter options on the side of the meat.
They don’t have to be complicated. This dill and mustard potato salad certainly isn’t. Our growing range of organic veggies – spinach, cucumber, tomatoes – can be mixed into the easiest of salads (stick a guest on salad duty). Beetroot and feta grain salad would be delicious with all of the mains, and is substantial enough to be a terrific option for any non-meat eaters who’ve managed to sneak their way into your brunch.
By this stage, there might not be much room left for anything sweet. But a quick break, and maybe a little boogie, later and everyone should have freed up some space. For ice cream sandwiches. Oh yes. You’ve done enough work, so now guests can pitch in. And as fate has it, our range of freshly baked cookies are the ideal size for scoops of ice cream.
The final touches:
Nothing ruins the mood of a social gathering quite like the phrase: ‘we’ve run out of ice’, so make sure you stock up. If you’re planning on a lengthy invite list for brunch, it’s best to keep the fancy plates and cutlery safely tucked away where they belong. Which isn’t in the hands of your clumsy friend. We’ve got a range of pretty paper plates, cups, cutlery and straws, and our SpinneysHome range is full of essentials for the clean up the morning after, including sponge scourers and 100 per cent biodegradable cloths.