Boy, what a break­fast!

Vic­to­ria Prever sug­gests break­fast buf­fet for brit mi­lah guests

The Jewish Chronicle - JC Magazine - - Contents -

With many new moth­ers lucky to find time to take a shower and run a brush through their hair, it is no won­der even the most sea­soned host­ess is go­ing to find cater­ing their own child’s bris pretty try­ing.

De­spite the nine-month run-up, the ac­tual bris is a last-minute af­fair as you gen­er­ally have lit­tle idea when the guest of hon­our is ac­tu­ally go­ing to ar­rive and al­low you to get a date in the di­ary. He also may hold up pro­ceed­ings with jaun­dice or other health is­sues. That makes it very dif­fi­cult to choose a day of the week and to know who will be able to make the sim­chah.

It is not sur­pris­ing that most of us buy in - where bud­get per­mits — or lean on fam­ily to help cater this mile­stone event.

If you do want to cater it your­self — and know you are ex­pect­ing a boy — there are many brunch dishes you can pre­pare weeks ahead. To make life eas­ier while still giv­ing the sim­chah a home-cooked feel, you can mix your food with a smat­ter­ing of catered food to lighten the load.

Your freezer will be your best friend. Bagels — full-sized and mini ones; bridge rolls, crois­sants and other Vi­en­nois­erie freeze bril­liantly. The

break­fast pas­tries will only re­quire warm­ing up on the big day. Bagels are a bit more work as they need fill­ing, so you may want to spend your money on plat­ters of filled bagels and bridge rolls. If you re­ally do want to do it your­self, then serve warmed mini bagels in nap­kin-lined bas­kets along side plat­ters of smoked salmon and bowls of egg may­on­naise, hum­mus and other spreads and let your guests help them­selves.

Other easy savoury op­tions are savoury miniquiches and filo parcels, which can be baked and frozen up to three months in ad­vance.

For sweet brunch op­tions, the ob­vi­ous can­di­dates are home-baked cakes, muffins and bis­cuits. The cin­na­mon ba­nana muffins be­low are ideal. Bake a batch each time you have brown bananas to use up and you’ll have enough in no time. Muesli bars or flap­jacks also have that brunchy feel – oats al­ways feel like nu­tri­tious fare, even if paired with less healthy but­ter and su­gar.

Scones also work well, ei­ther savoury like cheese and mus­tard or sweet ver­sions; and are as good warmed from the freezer as they are freshly baked – but do freeze them soon af­ter they are first baked.

It also pays to keep the menu stream­lined. It looks far more stylish to of­fer a few gen­er­ous op­tions; no one needs an Is­raeli ho­tel-style break­fast. The amount you need to serve will de­pend, to some ex­tent, on the day of the week your bris falls.

A week­day will mean an early af­fair - be­fore mo­hel and guests go on to start their work­ing days; and has the ben­e­fit of be­ing a bit of a drive-through, in cater­ing terms. Your guests may be starv­ing – af­ter their early start - but will most likely need to eat and run. They will want fast, fill­ing fin­ger food.

So you’ll be able to re­strict your menu to filled mini bagels, mini skew­ers of fresh fruit with yo­ghurt and honey to dip them in, with some bas­kets of muffins and oaty bis­cuits or muesli bars. Serve them with a va­ri­ety of juices plus tea and cof­fee.

Should you end up with a weekend sim­chah, you can plump for a more leisurely brunch style af­fair. You may have a lit­tle more time on the morn­ing to pre­pare, but that may bring a com­men­su­rately higher din­ing ex­pec­ta­tion.

Guests will have time for more re­laxed nosh­ing. Gra­nola sun­daes – lay­ers of plain or vanilla yo­ghurt, fruit com­pote and gra­nola in small wine glasses or tum­blers and topped with a few fresh berries look el­e­gant and at­trac­tive. You could also pro­vide bowls of fresh berries or fruit skew­ers on sticks.

For savoury op­tions, frit­tata con­verts well to fin­ger food. Once you have the ba­sic recipe – see be­low – you will be able to sub­sti­tute dif­fer­ent fill­ings and cheeses in them – try finely diced roasted veg­eta­bles with goat’s cheese. Th­ese can be cooked ahead and served warm or at room tem­per­a­ture.

Again, the tra­di­tional Jewish breads are al­ways wel­comed, but if you fancy a change, serve bas­kets of brioche rolls or mini bread rolls.

Or, for a re­ally easy ready-made but el­e­gant fin­ger food snack made en­tirely of ready-made in­gredietns, top bagel crisps with sliv­ers of gravad­lax or smoked salmon rolled into rosette shapes. Fin­ish with a dol­lop of ready­made sweet dill mus­tard sauce or a smear of honey bal­samic mus­tard.

For a sweet fin­ish to pro­ceed­ings, serve trays of brown­ies or le­mon driz­zle cake cut into tiny squares along­side the fruit. You can bake roast­ing tin-sized batches of th­ese, freeze them whole, and then de­frost the night be­fore, cut­ting them up to or­der.

To drink, serve a va­ri­ety of juices, plus sparkling wine or cham­pagne. For the driv­ers, pro­vide jugs of el­der­flower cor­dial mixed with sparkling wa­ter. Teas and cof­fees are an op­tion only if you have in­vited only a hand­ful of guests or, if serv­ing a crowd, you pos­sess an urn as well as suf- fi­cient hands to pass cups around. In com­mon with most new moth­ers of the star of the show, you prob­a­bly will have lit­tle rec­ol­lec­tion of what is go­ing on — but at least ev­ery­one else will en­joy the pro­ceed­ings.

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