Winter brunch (+ recipes)
We don't need many excuses to get into hibernation mode over the winter. It's so appealing to light the candles, get the fire roaring, crawl under a blanket and hit the remote control.
It's a fact - winter makes us feel lethargic, eat more and sleep more.
People with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) often have patterns of binge eating and can sleep up to 16 hours a day. SAD affects just a few per cent of the population, but many researchers believe most of us are susceptible to seasonal over-eating, oversleeping and a general bodily go-slow.
Apparently we don't need to feel guilty about this, though - it's a natural part of the way our bodies are programmed to slow down when the days are short and it's cold, just as animals prepare for winter by fattening up, then sleeping until spring.
When I ask my Scandinavian friends (who have to endure months of semi-darkness and perishing cold) how they connect with friends over their long, winters, they invariably respond "weekend brunch!"
Brunch doesn't require lots of preparation or effort - this kind of entertaining is easy like Sunday morning. Five reasons to love brunch:
- You can eat more. Indulge in the pleasures of two meals at once.
- You can still sleep in. Brunch can start whenever you feel like it. Everyone's in relaxed, lazy-day mode.
- You can eat whatever you like. From mushrooms on toast with bacon to savoury tarts, mezze platters, mix-and-match bagels and toppings, or fry-ups with hash browns, sausages, bacon and eggs any which way; or go straight for the sweets with french toast, waffles, pancakes, pastries, cinnamon buns, scones, fruit salad or muesli. Pre-noon, people tend to be in more of a breakfast frame of mind, while a later brunch offers the chance to indulge in food that feels more lunchy.
- Brunch food usually isn't too taxing on the wallet. You don't need to fork out for big-ticket protein items, and it's also economical on prep time and energy - perfect when you just feel like chilling out over the weekend.
- Cocktails and brunch go hand-in-hand. It's quite acceptable to drink alcohol at brunch. Be sure to offer virgin options, such as bloody mary without vodka, as well as water, juice, coffee and tea.
The trick to a good bloody mary is lots of lemon juice and tabasco. Keep the vodka in the freezer and ensure the tomato juice is icy cold. You can make the tomato juice base in advance and chill overnight until needed. To make virgin bloody marys, just leave out the vodka. Get the recipe
For a stress-free morning, make this spicy tomato sauce the night before your brunch and just warm it through before adding the eggs. You can cook it in the oven or on the stove top. To cook on the stove, add an extra 2 Tbsp water before adding the eggs and feta, cover and simmer gently until the eggs are set. For a fancier presentation you can cook individual portions in ramekins or small frying pans. Get the recipe
This salad is the perfect antidote to that stodgy feeling you can get over winter. Light, fresh, and packed with revitalising goodness, it's just the thing to perk up tired winter taste buds. Get the recipe
For more great Annabel Langbein recipes see her new winter annual Annabel Langbein A Free Range Life: Share the Love (Annabel Langbein Media, $24.95).