5 Brunch ideas to bring the family together

Brunch and Supper ideas to bring the family together

I keep hearing how it’s difficult to get everyone from a family in one spot at mealtime.  But we all know it’s important to connect together as a family and chat – and it’s sometimes easier to do this over a meal than spur of the moment.

With this in mind, I thought I’d throw together some ideas for brunch and supper – some little utilised meal options but two that can be especially fun and also easy ones to involve others in.

It’s fair to say brunch meals are generally ‘calorific’.  Think waffles dripping with Canadian maple syrup, bacon and eggs on ciabatta, lashings of hollandaise sauce smothering hash browns and a bit of smoked salmon – all beside an obligatory large flat white or similar.

The calories sure add up quickly – but it is a bit of a special occasion meal, once a week or less – so we can treat ourselves (at least that’s what I always tell myself).  I’m not sure a spinach salad would cut it as far as gathering everyone for a chat before they head off to Saturday sports!

5 Brunch ideas to bring the family together

If you have a waffle iron, they are a relatively fast and easy thing to make bulk of. They freeze well and are delicious toasted in a toaster, so if you have leftovers, don’t throw them out to the birds.


MP900178389Here is my favourite waffle recipe, it’s quick and easy – from an American cookbook that I picked up while I lived in Canada – ‘Betty Crocker’s Cookbook’ otherwise known as The Big Red Cookbook.

It’s a popular one in the States, and Americans do tend to be the originators of the big breakfast.  Surely Betty Crocker does it best!


2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour

1 ¾ cups milk

½ cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon granulated or packed brown sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

¼ tsp salt

Fresh berries if desired


  1. Heat waffle iron
  2. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater or wire whisk until fluffy.  Beat in remaining ingredients until smooth.
  3. Pour a scant 2/3 cup batter from cup or pitcher onto centre of hot waffle iron.  Close lid.
  4. Bake until steaming stops – carefully remove waffle.  Serve immediately, top with fresh berries.  Repeat with remaining batter.

Here’s a variation on a recipe I saw on a cooking show.  I will just highlight now, that this is not in any way healthy!  But it is fast and a delicious way to serve brunch to several people at once.  It’s kind of a glorified bread pudding really, and it’s really yummy.

French Toast Casserole


150-200 gm diced bacon

50 grams butter, sliced into small cubes

Approx 5 cups stale white bread

70 gm pecans, toasted and chopped

1 large apple, diced and sprinkled with lemon juice

11 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup maple syrup plus 1/2 cup

3 cups milk

1.5 teaspoons cinnamon

A few grates fresh nutmeg

Salt (pinch)

Peel of 1 lemon

1 cinnamon stick


  • Toast the bread cubes and pecans in the oven for approximately 20 minutes at 180ºC, turning once or twice as they toast.
  • Preheat a fry pan over medium-high heat with and cook the diced bacon until crisp and golden brown. Let cool.
  • Grease (oil spray is easiest) a medium to large casserole dish. In the dish, place approximately half of the diced cubes of butter.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, 1/2 cup maple syrup, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, and whisk until blended.
  • Layer the bread, nuts, bacon and apple in the casserole dish.
  • Pour over the egg mixture, making sure the dish is covered evenly. Dot the remaining butter cubes over the top. Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  • The next day, preheat the oven to 180ºC. Bake covered for 1 hour, until puffed and remove foil and bake uncovered until golden brown, around 15 minutes.
  • Over medium heat, in a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup maple syrup, lemon peel and cinnamon stick until warmed through.
  • To serve, scoop casserole onto a plate and serve with warm maple syrup on top.

Eggs Benedict – The cheats method


If you don’t mind a packet mix, Eggs Benedict can be foolproof at home.  If you want to try your hand at hollandaise, do it with time to spare!  It can go horribly wrong pretty easily and takes some practice or at the very least patience to get perfect.

Personally, I’m not above whisking some boiling water into a packet of hollandaise sauce!


For four people, you will need:

4 plain English muffins

8 eggs

1 packet of hollandaise sauce


Heat a large saucepan with several litres of boiling water.

My foolproof method of poaching eggs is to take a sheet of clingwrap and line the inside of a small mug with it.  Crack the egg into the bottom of the cup and discard the shell.  Gather up the sides of the clingwrap being careful to collect the whole egg well within the bounds of the wrap, and twist the top very tightly.

Drop the little parcel inside the water.  It should stay twisted at least long enough for the white to start to set, if it doesn’t you need to use more clingwrap and twist more tightly (or even knot it if you can).

Set a timer for 3 minutes, and when it goes off, remove the parcel with a slotted spoon and stick it whole into a bowl. Three minutes should produce a good soft poached average size egg, but you may want to experiment a little.

Continue with the egg parcels – note where you place them in the pot, so you know which one to remove when the timer goes off.  You may have to do a little guesswork for when to pull some of them out if you’re working on dropping new eggs in mid-timer, but it’s not a perfect art anyway.  The little hot parcels will continue to cook for a period after they are removed.

Toast the muffins.  You may want to put them under the grill of the oven at around 160 degrees celcius, so they’re all hot at once, but keep a close eye on them if you do this.

Boil the jug for the hollandaise sauce and remove the eggs from their plastic parcels, discarding the plastic.  You may need to employ a pair of scissors to aid in this task – but be careful with the fragile soft yolks.

You will now need to work quickly to save the eggs from getting cold.

Butter the muffins, top with the eggs.  Whisk the hot water into the hollandaise sauce and lather a good tablespoon or two on top of each egg.

Serve these with a side of bacon, smoked salmon or spinach and mushrooms are all great options.


Pikelets are a very quick and tasty evening snack.  I personally love pikelets, I make them all the time and they are perfect for little fingers to hold, or topped with a delicious raspberry or apricot jam and whipped cream.

Servings:   4


1 cup self raising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon vanilla


Heat a non-stick frypan on a medium heat.

Put flour into a mixing bowl and add sugar.

Mix together egg and milk and whisk into flour mixture.

Add a large tablespoon of mixture for each pikelet to the heated pan. Cook for approximately 2 minutes on medium heat, until bubbles appear on the surface of the pikelet. Turn over pikelet and cook until other side is golden.

And for something a bit sweeter

Honey Snaps

A good, hot beverage tends to bring people together before bed.  You can channel your school camping days and gather around some hot chocolate.

A good ratio is one part chocolate to five parts milk.  For example, for one large cup – 50 gms of chocolate to 250mls milk.

Pour the milk into a pan and heat gently until it’s almost boiling. Remove from the heat, drop the chocolate in and then whisk until melted and you’re left with a frothy topped mixture. Pour into mugs and serve – marshmallows and lashes of whipped cream are additions to enjoy!

I enjoy a light, crisp biscuit with a beverage such as that.  Here is a recipe I’ve been trying out lately – it’s kind of like a lighter flat version of a brandy snap the day after it’s been filled – a crispy softness that is such an enjoyable texture that they tend to be quite moreish!


65 gm melted butter

65gm liquid honey

50gm caster sugar

55 gm flour

1 tsp powdered ginger

Drop of brandy essence (or almond, experiment with what you have to hand)

A few sliced nuts or dried fruits for on top


Heat oven to 170 degrees celcius.

Whisk wet ingredients together, then add dry ingredients and fold together.

Place teaspoonfuls onto trays lined with baking paper.  Space them well apart – they will spread significantly.  Top with a few pieces of chopped fruit or nuts.

Bake 10-12 minutes until they are light brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 seconds – until you can lift them from the tray onto a cooling rack.  They are soft initially and then harden to become a similar texture to a brandy snap after it has been filled.

Sally Mangai

Sally is the Community Manager here at Kiwi Families. She fills her time with her handsome, busy boys and her handsome, busy husband; trying out new recipes and researching and writing about family life in Aotearoa.

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