Hunting through a second-hand bookstore, I came across a small hardback book of breakfast recipes. I was won over by the lovely pencil drawings along with the classic recipes - one of which was for brioche. That was 23 years ago and warm brioche has been part of our Christmas morning brunch ever since.
A leisurely brunch is an enjoyable way to start Christmas Day, after the early wake-up and the frenzy of present-opening, when the hunger pangs have set in.
The best thing about making brioche is that it needs to be started a day in advance, so the first stage is already taken care of. In our family we make individual savoury brioche to serve with creamy scrambled eggs made with plenty of fresh herbs from the garden.
Today I have a recipe for plaited sweet cinnamon brioche loaf, which may sound a little tricky but isn't, and it goes beautifully with tropical fruit and yoghurt.
The tip when making brioche is to allow plenty of resting time and add flour whenever the dough becomes too sticky. The final result looks and tastes gorgeous and all your guests will be impressed by the effort that was involved.
Follow up the sweet start with baked eggs. Tuck spinach and salmon into lightly buttered ramekins before adding parmesan and eggs and baking until the eggs have just set, they are creamy, rich and delicious.
To pick up the palate to cope with the rest of the day's festivities and eating, I've made a simple and refreshing watermelon granita. Frozen ices are easy to make and very fashionable right now, so you'll be right on trend. They can be made a few days before the big day and then left to defrost slightly just before you need them. Before serving, scrape the ices with a fork and pile into beautiful glasses or dishes to serve. They look so pretty in their pastel shades.
1. When using fresh herbs as a garnish, don't place on warm food or the herbs will quickly discolour. Add them at the table.
2. Rockmelon and honeydew can be substituted in the granita recipe if you prefer.
For more of Amanda Laird's fabulous recipes, visit foodhub.co.nz