Insider tips and recipes for the best start to your weekend thanks to members-only bolthole, Birch
Pyjamas on, coffee in hand, Sunday papers laid out – there’s a lot to love about a lazy weekend brunch. And since we intend to make the most of our gorgeous new loungewear this month, we’re focusing on how to make a brilliant, laid-back brunch at home.
So to help us elevate our usual routine, we spoke to the experts at Birch (because we can’t just have smashed avo on toast every time, right?). As the coolest members-only escape around right now, Birch has got the best advice on what to eat, drink and listen to make sure your DIY brunch is perfectly pitched for the ultimate relaxing weekend.
This is what they had to say…
The dish: Baked eggs with XO sauce
"Add spice to your brunch table with this baked egg dish. It’s even better if you’re using eggs from your very own happy hens like we are at Birch (though good quality eggs from your local shop will also work). For a totally vegan version, swap the egg for a big grilled portobello mushroom. This is our recipe for one (plus loads of XO sauce to keep in the fridge), so scale up as needed. Any extra tomato sauce works perfectly with pasta.” – Robin Gill, Head Chef
200g tomato sauce (see recipe below)
50g XO sauce (see recipe below)
To make the tomato sauce (makes 200g):
1 tbsp olive oil
10g garlic, sliced
2g chilli flakes
20g tomato purée
200g tinned chopped tomatoes
Warm up the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and cook until a light golden colour. Then add chilli flakes, tomato purée, and stir. Cook the purée out until smelling sweet and add the chopped tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer down until it thickens up. Season with salt.
To make the vegan XO Sauce:
200ml vegetable oil
200g shallots, diced
175g celeriac, diced
120g chestnut mushrooms, diced
160g chilli minced, deseeded
215g ginger, minced
75g garlic, minced
Heat up the oil in a small saucepan and deep fry the ingredients one by one, making sure to strain and reuse the oil each time. Once everything has been caramelised, turn off the heat and add everything back to the oil and season with rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and salt to taste. It should be spicy, fatty and acidic in one.
To construct the dish:
Warm up a cast iron pan in a 160°C oven, add the tomato sauce and place back in the oven until heated through. Create a small well in the centre of the sauce and crack in the egg, being careful not to burst the yolk. Place back in the oven and cook the egg to the desired firmness. Finish with sea salt and black pepper and spoon the vegan XO sauce all over the top. Garnish with fresh parsley and mint.
The cocktail: shiso and sorrel cooler
“We grow our own herbs at Birch and like to make the most of them. This refreshing drink is a fantastic way to wake up your senses in the morning and get your taste buds ready for the meal ahead.” – Patryk Sowa, Bars Manager
For the cordial:
120g shiso (try regular mint or Thai basil if you can’t get hold of shiso)
Place all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blitz on low for 10 minutes. Strain into a jug through a coffee filter. Bottle and use within one week.
For the cooler:
40ml shiso and sorrel cordial
20ml lime juice
Apple juice, to top up
10ml triple sec (optional)
50ml gin (optional)
Add the cordial and lime juice to a tall glass with ice. Top up with apple juice. Feel free to add gin and triple sec for an added kick. Decorate with a slice of lime and fresh herbs.