Brunch Club

Amongst the endless stream of chores, bills and responsibilities that come with adulthood lurk some rather lovely perks: Not being forced to eat your vegetables; choosing your own clothes; having brunch. As a teenager I would roll out of bed halfway through the day and just lay around in a fluffy pink dressing gown eating jam on toast and regretting my life choices thus far. My initial years of adulthood were largely spent doing things that I’d never had the financial freedom to do before such as going out for dinner and planning lovely holidays. Nowadays, I’m happy to accept the fact that my favourite place in the world is home and I love nothing more than being in my kitchen in a comfy t-shirt making friends and family something lovely to eat. I’m very comfortable with being an adult and to celebrate I invited my equally adult friends round for brunch expecting us to have very adult conversations whilst sipping tea from China cups with our pinky fingers sticking out. What followed, however, was nothing short of chaos.

It turns out that a host who isn’t actually that good at adulting, three friends with varying skills in both parenting and cat-parenting, a toddler, a newborn baby, an angry cat, a playful kitten and a really tiny dining table can create absolute carnage.

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I got off to a good start by setting the table with some nice cups and saucers for the tea, cute bottles with straws for the smoothies and champagne glasses for the water because frankly they’re the only type of glasses for which I have a matching set of four. Jess (expert mother of three children and three dogs, very little cat experience) got to work making everyone tea and quickly realised that the inept host (me) hadn’t thought to check the date on the milk and we were now faced with a dilemma. Jade (surprisingly good with children despite not being a parent, hates cats) drove to the shop that is a 30 second walk from my house with her Louis Vuitton handbag and tried to use a credit card to pay for a 90p bottle of milk in a cornershop that looks like it hasn’t changed since World War 2. Milkgate eventually involved Jade driving the 2.8 seconds back to my house, me begrudgingly having to go outside in my Ugg slippers to deliver change all in 10ps that I had scraped together from the back of the sofa, Jade going back to the shop looking like a tourist and finally bringing the milk back. All for Jess to never actually finish making the tea.

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We had smashed avocado on toasted rye bread with crispy streaky bacon and poached eggs to start. Normal bread wasn’t on the menu as Jade imposed her allergies on the rest of us but actually the rye bread was delicious. To make this most-basic-bitch-on-instagram brunch dish for yourself, just mash two avocados with a good pinch of salt and a squeeze of lime juice and spread this onto 4 slices of toasted rye bread. Top each toast with two slices of crispy bacon and a poached egg. I poach my eggs by bringing a pan of water to a gentle boil, adding a dash of cider vinegar and gently dropping the eggs in one by one from a ramekin. Cook for three minutes then transfer to kitchen towel to remove the excess water. You can drizzle the toast with some hot sauce to be extra hipster.

As we ate, Maggie (Jess’s youngest) decided to play in my vegetable trolley and throw my onions around the kitchen because that is of course the most fun one can have with onions and Bear (my kitten) took great pleasure in terrorising Jade. We’re all quite OK at this point and having a giggle about life before children and cats. Jess picks Bear up for a cuddle and drops him clean on his head. They say cats always land on their feet. That’s a lie.

The next course was a green smoothie. I made this by blending together 2 pears, one apple, a chunk of cucumber, two balls of frozen spinach, half an avocado and some apple juice until it was smooth with a vibrant green hue. We drank this out of dainty milk bottles with star patterned paper straws because I like to waste my hard earned money on shit.

Lulu (my older, grumpier cat) spends the entire time licking the cellphone wrapping of a gift that Jade bought round for Ellen (brand new human mum, experienced cat mum) because that’s her most favourite thing to do.

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We moved on to our final course, a rainbow fruit salad with honey orange dressing. I mixed together blueberries, green grapes, halved strawberries and chunks of mango and poured over a dressing made from a heaped tablespoon of warmed honey and about the same of orange juice. We had this with shop bought coconut macaroons and more chats about nipple pads, smelly nappies and cat poo. Bear decided this was the perfect time for cuddles and joined us at the table trying to eat a strawberry as it travelled from my bowl to my mouth. My friends decided to never come to eat again.

Brunch turned into a chilled afternoon involving the trivia game on the Google Home Mini, a selfie stick (yes they still exist) and a game of ‘put that where Maggie can’t reach it and the cats can’t lick it’. My house ended up looking like Changing Rooms had been in, with everything below hip level in a different place and onions in unimaginable locations. Teddy (Ellen’s baby: cute but does the smelliest farts) had some lovely cuddles and managed to leave with all facial features in tact despite Lulu’s best efforts. I had a mountain of washing up and a lot of gone off milk to dispose of but it was worth it for a lovely day of fun, friendship and food. This is adulthood at its most special and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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Speak soon,

Tania x

 

 

 

 

How to Host a Dinner Party

Ever wanted to host one of those super chic grown up dinner parties but have no idea where to start? Read on for my fool-proof idiot’s guide on how to host the perfect dinner party.

Step One: Decide who you want to invite. Anyone who has allergies or special dietary requirements should be relegated to the reserves and only invited under very extreme circumstances. Your friend with the gluten intolerance can stay at home with a Marks and Spencer’s ready meal for one, she doesn’t need to know that you’re hosting the dinner party of the century. Likewise, that vegetarian couple who witter on about saving the planet one chicken at a time can bore off, no-one likes them anyway.

Step Two: Once you have finalised your guest list and it contains the few remaining non-fussy friends you have left, it’s time to work on your menu. The food needs to be as flashy and pretentious as possible, so dig out the cookbooks and get to work on menu planning. Your main goal here is to find recipes that look good on Instagram, we’re going to get the guests drunk so they won’t care what it tastes like but your 578 followers will want to see results. Avocado continues to be very photogenic and #cauliflower will get you a few extra likes.

Step Three: Wander aimlessly around Sainsbury’s searching for the ever elusive tahini so that you can make your special recipe hummus, then make your way to the most crucial aisle, the wine section. Aim for a bottle per person, plus another for luck. You want to ensure good vibes at your dinner party and the only way to do that is for everyone to be drunk. No point going for the expensive plonk either, just get the one with the prettiest label and it’s guaranteed to look expensive. Your shallow dinner party loving friends won’t care that it tastes like bleach if you tell them that its £30 a bottle and the girls from TOWIE drink it. Not all lies are bad.

Step Four: Before you can even contemplate cooking anything, you need to make your home look picture perfect so that you can show off to your guests. This may involve taking the week off work prior to your party, or hiring a decorator to re-vamp your house to fit in with the latest trends. I’m thinking marble everywhere. At the very least, wash your hand towels, buy some flowers and light a candle in every single room of the house. Diptyque will score you brownie points, as will Jo Malone, but if you would prefer not to sell an organ for the luxury, Yankee normally have a good sale section.

Step Five: Start your cooking preparations either the day before or the morning of your party. Have as much prepared in advance as possible so that you can concentrate on contouring your face instead of sweating over a hot stove. Your guests won’t even mind the food going stale when they have their very own Kim Kardashian serving it to them.

Step Six: It’s finally time for your guests to arrive! Your house looks and smells lovely, you’re all glammed up and your food is prepared. Cook any last minute bits that you need to do whilst your guests enjoy that ‘delicious’ wine you bought and start serving up on your nicest plates. To make life easier, I suggest leaving everything in the middle of the table so that your guests can help themselves, less work for you and the fat one can take as much as they like without the shame of asking you for more. Keep conversation flowing by fishing for compliments on how nice the food/home decor/your new lipstick is, and make sure everyone takes plenty of pictures showing what a great time you’re having. Post your triumphs to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram using all appropriate filters and hashtags. #bestdinnerpartyever

Step Seven: End the night by asking if anyone would like a coffee from your new all singing, all dancing coffee machine, and cursing when someone actually does as it takes 17 minutes to make a soy latte machiatto with caramel drizzle. All commit to doing it again with no real intention of doing so as this one night has cost you a week’s wages, a month’s worth of washing up and a hangover that’s probably going to stick around for the entire weekend. See your guests off with lovey dovey air kisses, close the door, kick your shoes off and quickly check Instagram to see how many likes your pavlova got.

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These gorgeous rhubarb and rose bellini cocktails would go down a treat at your sophisticated soiree. The recipe will be up soon, stay tuned!

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