Hello hello, and welcome to The Scrooge’s Brunch.
The aim of the game is to have a sublime and divine (and other posh words) brunch, without having to spend upwards of $20 (AUD!!) for a single plate of wholesome, tasty, real (i.e., recognisable components) food.
The good thing about wholesome “real” food is that it isn’t so hugely extraordinarily hard to figure out what went into the meal. If you can figure out what went in and approximately how to make it, then technically, a Melbourne style brunch should be within your grasp every weekend (twice!). And by you, I mean me, because I have unfortunately been seduced by Melbourne cafe culture, and eat brunch out far too often.
Inspiring stuff, no? I’ll at least attempt to plate everything in a nice cafe-ish way. And I’ll obviously only try to recreate dishes that I thought kicked some serious coffee cup.
Also, I promise not to ask any of cafes in question about how they make their food. That’s cheating, plus they will probably look at me weirdly/hipster snub me. The point of the exercise is independent recreation at home, not the copying of a cafe recipe to a T.
First up is a variation on the infamous Avocado and Feta Sourdough Toast. I decided to start with a relatively easy one.
The Scrooge’s Brunch:
Avocado and Feta Sourdough Toast, with Pomegranate Seeds + Other Fun Stuff
Fresh and crunchy and yum, this is a refreshing and satisfying brunch for relatively little effort.
1 large ripe avocado
1/3 cup feta – I used about half the amount of feta to avocado, it isn’t an exact science here
1/2 cup cooked, drained, cooled chickpeas
2 – 3 radishes
1/2 a pomegranate
1/4 cup toasted pistachios – I used cashews because I didn’t have pistachios
1/8 cup fresh coriander leaves
Loaf of sourdough
- Ingredient preparation:
- Avocado: peel and chop roughly in cubes, at least 1.5 cm long
- Feta: crumble
- Chickpeas: if tinned, drain, rinse, and set aside. If you cook them yourself you need a bit more prep time – use a water ratio of 1:4, and stick them in a slow cooker for 2-3 hours the night before. Drain, and leave to cool in the fridge overnight. If you pop the little skins off the texture will be better, do this by gently rubbing them against each other in a metal sieve.
- Radishes: clean and slice into little sticks that look like toothpicks. Mine as pictured are a little thick.
- Pomegranate: as carefully as possible, extract all the little pretty seeds.
- Nuts: toast your nuts briefly and allow to cool
- Sourdough bread: toast this!
- Now, in a big bowl, gently mix all the toppings together. You don’t want to mash it. As you can see above, I mixed a little too enthusiastically.
- Just before serving, artfully (yeah right) scoop it onto the toasted bread. Hooray, you saved $20!
Portion control: makes enough for 4 regular portions or 2-3 “Melbourne brunch” portions
Do aheads: you can do the chickpeas, radishes, pomegranate, and nuts ahead. Then just toast the bread and mix everything up with the feta, avocado, and coriander before brunch.
Verdict: 70% likeness, because I swapped the pistachios for cashews. I’m also pretty convinced they candied their pistachios, Bigfoot claims otherwise – this dispute requires another brunch visit to settle it. Also, my radish slices were too thick.
A note on attribution: I have left the name of the cafe in question off the post, as I thought it was better not to publically identify how to make specific dishes at specific cafes (even though this is a re-creation rather than the actual recipe) – though in my view, a huge part of Melbourne brunch culture is the cafe atmosphere, for which, of course, there is no recipe. If this isn’t correct attribution, please let me know and I’ll happily fix it.