Holiday Brunch for Friends

Instead of giving objects as gifts for a few friends this year, I made brunch. All told is was a 6 hour process between shopping, setting the table, cooking, enjoying the long luxurious meal together, and cleaning up. I enjoyed it all immensely, and my friends seemed to, as well. Most of the meal elements were firsts for me, and there weren't any complete disasters, but a few things could have been better.

Decided to put all the food out at once, so we wouldn't have to get up or deal with a buffet. Eventually the wine bottles got to the table. Grazing included baguette slices scattered on the table, with oil and vinegars (mango and black currant), mixed olives, cashews, and various cheeses. The cheese labels are porcelain and were a gift from my sister. Love them.

The main meal included a walnut, pear, and blue cheese salad with a balsamic vinaigrette. And a baked egg with spinach and feta. One of my friends is a vegetarian, so I put a big bowl of crispy pancetta on the table for us meat eaters to sprinkle over the egg bake or anything else. Clearly I cooked the egg yolk to death. Kind of gross looking.

The olive oil and vinegar, next to the milk tarts, were so pretty and festive. And I served it all on my Grandma's china. The tart pans were also a gift from my sister. The crust was easy to make, but I got it way too thick in the pans. I'm just so heavy-handed; baking of any kind is a struggle for me. The milk pudding filling was delicious, and even better topped with pomegranate seeds and crushed pistachios.