Brunch ideas and how to set a brunch menu

We are talking about brunch today! I am sharing brunch ideas on how to plan a brunch, how to set a brunch menu, basically all things how to host a brunch, particularly a buffet brunch.

Step 1 – What time is brunch?

So you have decided to host a brunch, first things first, what time is brunch? Brunch is known to fall between 10:00am and 2:00pm. This applies to  private brunches of course, not restaurants. I know some restaurants that will have brunch going on till 4:00pm. So decide what time to host your brunch before you send out your invites.

A good brunch idea is to allow for enough time to do any last minute prep on the morning of the brunch, so do not ask people to turn up at 8:00am. 8:00am is more suited to champagne breakfast.

Also, keep in mind that most people want to sleep in on Saturday mornings, and those that do not sleep maybe go to the gym early in the morning, or whatever it is people want to do with their early weekend mornings.

The ideal time to host a brunch for me is from 10:00am onwards. How long guests stay is up to you, but account for at least 4 hours. Personally, I like my guests to stay all afternoon long, so we can relax and have a beautiful relaxed Saturday.

Step 2 – Making a brunch menu

Setting a brunch menu is where the fun begins for me! For my Saturday brunch 2 days ago, I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to serve, largely based on my own preferences, and what I like to eat for breakfast/brunch and also from my frequent hotel stays. To plan your brunch menu, do as I did.

  • Take out your notepad and make a list of food items you would like to serve at the brunch
  • Divide the list into three: breakfast items, lunch items, and drinks.
  • If you would like to have alcoholic drinks too, divide the drinks column further into two.

Here are some items you can serve under breakfast items.

  • Eggs – you can have more than one type of eggs, and can get very creative with these. For my brunch this Saturday, I made what I call bacon egg muffins. Everybody loved them, they were a hit! I am going to be putting up my recipe for this  soon and link it here. So if you read this before I do that, be sure to check back for it soon! The point here is, eggs do not have to be ordinary and boring.
  • Cereal – I do not mean just simple cornflakes. Have some muesli, this can go well nicely with the next item below.
  • Yoghurt
  • Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Almond nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, raisins, the like. These go well with yoghurt too.
  • French toast – this was a hit with my guests too, many of whom had not tried it before.
  • Bacon
  • Baked beans
  • Regular toast
  • Jam – have several types
  • Fruit – I like to have grapes, pineapple, mangoes, apples.
  • Pastries – I served macaroons, cinnamon rolls, and cream cheese danishes.
  • Milk
  • Tea
  • Coffee

For lunch items, I thought about a light lunch. Personally, I prefer to have a hot lunch so I made sure to include an item I would enjoy (baked Irish potatoes). I also kept in mind that my guests are used to having a cold Scandinavian lunch, and that this is still brunch so it is best to go easy on the lunch items and not go full blown with hot lunch items.

Here is a list of lunch items you can serve at brunch.

  • Cold cuts and a cheese board. Chorizo, ham
  • Smoked salmon
  • Mushrooms
  • Baked Irish potatoes (recipe to come soon too)
  • Garden salad

If you think this is a lot of food to have, I agree! However, setting a brunch menu depends on the number of people you are hosting to brunch. You can also take some inspiration from my brunch Pinterest board here.

What drinks to serve at the brunch?

Breakfast drinks like juice are a must to serve at brunch. Have more than one type of juice: orange juice, apple juice, cocktail juice. Have fun with it.

Wine, Prosecco and Champagne are all good to serve at a brunch.

In Norway, culturally, it is polite (and a must, pretty much) to take your own alcohol to parties because alcohol is so expensive in Norway. My husband and I like our guests to be at ease so we tend to serve some wine/prosecco/champagne but because guests know the cost of alcohol (and because Scnadinavians drink a lot! Haha) they tend to bring some alcohol too, to supplement what the hosts prepared, and to make sure they have enough to keep their party mood going.

Step 3 – Executing the brunch

Here is where hosting a brunch can get stressful, but it does not have to! You have already done a lot of the hard work. Here are some steps that will make hosting your brunch a whole lot easier.

  1. Prep ahead as much as you can
    • Prep, prep, prep! I can’t stress this enough.Hosting a brunch does not have to be stressful. Whatever you can prepare the day before, do it and get it out of the way. If you will be baking, prep the dough and baking pans the night before. Some food items can be cooked the night before, and warmed the day of the brunch. Try to make the morning of the brunch as light for yourself as you can.
  2. Make a serving plan
    • Make sure you have a good number of serving dishes to take everything you are planning to serve. You want your brunch set up to look beautiful so it would look a lot better if you had proper serving dishes instead of serving your food out of pans.
    • I think a buffet brunch is easier for most people to host. Everything is in one place, and guests can serve themselves. Guests can decide what they want to eat and it is less stressful for you. So, you can relax and have a lovely time too.
    • Prepare the table the night before, and lay out the serving dishes you will be using. Lay out plates, cups, glasses, cutlery, ladles and napkins.
  3. Prepare and serve
    • It is the morning of the brunch and it is now time to turn your attention to the food that needs to be prepared the morning of the brunch.
    • You should prepare last the items that you want to be warm when you start serving so that you are not warming everything.
    • Using beautiful casserole dishes as serving dishes will make it easier to warm food then put it directly back on the table without changing from pan to dish. Of course you need to protect your table with heat-proof pan mats.
  4. Welcome your guests, and enjoy your brunch!

You are now a brunch maven!



Follow:

Behind every successful man is a woman

Tønsberg church

 

So they like to say …

What is she doing there?

How did she get there?

Why is she behind?

Did she choose to be there,

Or is he stealing her light?

Is he stealing her thunder,

Did she volunteer for the back?

Would she rather be kingmaker,

Than bask as king?

Does he share the glory,

Or does he hoard it all?

How long will she be there?

Is she thriving too?

Did she have to bury her dreams

Contend with standing in the shadow?

Is she complete?

 

On my mind today


Tomorrow is 14th February but unlike most, I have been thinking about Women’s Day, and not Valentine’s. I like celebrating Valentine’s, don’t get me wrong, but the man and I are always celebrating something or other so it feels like the year is full of Valentine’s Days.

This Valentine’s I am thinking about the fulfilment of women. I am thinking about whether all the women seen as the woman behind the successful man are content being that. Granted, there are women who are successful in their own right and have supported the successful men in their lives too. In that sense, it may be okay to be seen as the woman behind the successful man. Not behind in the sense that the man is successful at the woman’s expense, but behind in the same way that we could say a mentor is behind their mentee’s success. As in the force that propelled them forward.

I am not against women being a propelling force to success for the men in their lives; spurring them on, supporting them, advising them, lifting them up. I am against women being behind men in the sense that women sacrifice their potential, opportunities and aspirations in the process of helping others thrive – children, husbands, partners.

All dreams are important to the one that holds them


I do not dispute that dreams are different for every woman. Some dream of being homemakers, some dream of being groundbreakers in fields outside the home, and others dream of both. All dreams are important to the one that holds them. My desire is that women are complete, and that the men in their lives do not thrive at the expense of women’s aspirations and potential being laid aside. Everyone should thrive. Together.

Happy Valentine’s.


What’s your take on the saying, “Behind every successful man is a woman?” Share your thoughts!


 

Follow:

A brief trip to Oslo

I’m always happy to see snow! 🌨🌺 As long as I’m warm, that is. I was about to say this was the first time I went to Oslo by myself, then I remembered I did take a work trip there in August last year. It was a 24 hour’s in-and-out trip, but I get better at navigating the public transport each time. The trains, the tram, the bus, the apps – I am quite proud of myself.

When I’ve been there with Ian, I’ve been more than happy to have him take care of the navigation. He is the native, after all. Who needs independent woman mode when traveling with your very capable man –  like, please! 😅 I am happy to take a back seat now and then.

But when I’m by myself – haha – I’m on full alert, eyes-in-the-back-of-my-head, independent-woman mode. So many ways to travel! More power to all you solo female backpackers out there!

Tønsberg Brygge

Follow:

A safari in Murchison Falls National Park

There’s nothing like being out there in the wild with these incredibly graceful creatures!

safari in murchison falls uganda

 

We went for a morning safari drive at dawn and another drive in the late afternoon when we got a chance to get out of the car and get up close and personal-and somewhat slightly terrified-cause giraffes have got very strong hind legs, so you don’t wanna mess!

But it all went well. They were as curious as we were, moving farther away as we approached, but not too far, and turning around to have a look at us, these strange beings trailing them.

 

safari in murchison falls uganda

 

This safari was definitely one of the best ways to start the year, my face was so lit up with joy – as you can see in the pic of the au naturel, unabashedly-me version of myself.

 

 

And then there was the mother elephant that roared us out of her sight, being protective of her baby. She trumpeted so loud, and made as if to charge at us! We revved that engine so fast to get away! You don’t want to be chased by an elephant, trust me!

I can’t wait to go back! I’m told the animals are more playful at night, so maybe we’ll do a night time safari drive.

Follow:

Birgu Fest – A Candlelight Festival in Vittoriosa

 

 

The highlight of Birgu Fest is that the whole city is lit up with candles. The city dwellers turn out the lights in their homes, and light hundreds of candles both inside and outside their homes. If you happen to be in Malta during October, Birgu Fest is must-see!

 

Birgu fest. Holiday in Malta Vittoriosa

 

Birgu, also called Vittoriosa, is one of Malta’s oldest cities. It is one of the “Three Cities”: Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua.

They originally held the festival to showcase Vittoriosa’s historical architecture; now they have renamed it to Birgu Fest and it includes a concert, reduced museum prices, mini cruises, screenings, and food stalls.

The candlelit streets looked quite beautiful! People actually opened their homes so you could see their candlelit hallways.


Birgu Fest. Holiday in Three Cities Malta

There was music and artsy screenings in the side streets, and revellers stopped to watch and take pictures.

Birgu Fest in Vittoriosa Birgu Malta

 

The Maltese are known for their love of sweets and pastry. And what’s a festival without food stalls!? I completely identify with this little girl in yellow, looking at all these sweets and thinking: decisions, decisions, decisions!

Having already had my quota of sweets for the day, I did not buy any here – it took great will power!

 

Pastry stalls at birgu fest in Three Cities Malta

 

There was a mulled wine stall though and I did try that, but let me tell you this: it is a waste of your money. There was barely any wine in that thing! And I’m not even much of a drinker, but even I noticed!

Would I go back to Birgu Fest?


Definitely!

I would have loved to spend more time in at the festival, but my company wanted to retire early, which was such a bummer! That is a case for solo travel right there, I guess. However, I just think it is such fun to have company to share the good times with.

I returned to Vittoriosa a couple of weeks later, so as to see it by day. We took the ferry from Valletta this time, it’s only 1.50 Euro, and then took a guided tour around. It was quite lovely.

If I am in Malta around the same time next year, I will definitely go back for Birgu Fest. I loved it!

If you’re thinking of going to Malta, you can find some great deals here and can read more about which tours you can get here. I definitely recommend a trip to the Three Cities!

I would like to go for a little excursion myself tomorrow, and I am thinking of this quad tour. There is so much to do in Malta, unfortunately I haven’t gotten around to doing it all. If you do make a trip to Malta, you will certainly have plenty to choose from.



Follow:

Looking for house plants that grow in the dark

I am obsessed with buying house plants. All I can think about right now is all the twenty five plants I want to buy – to add to the ten I already have, the textured vases they will stand in, and the elegant stands that will carry those vases.

All I see is green. And yellow, and purple and white, amidst all shades of green.

orchids bloggers in norway

Last week I looked up plants that grow in the dark.  Yes, plants that grow in the dark. And it turns out there are quite a few! The hallway is not always well-lit with natural light, and I want to colour that green too. I am obsessed. So I might buy some of those, and I will tell you about it. I am looking forward to finding out for myself how well such plants fare.

So listen. Here’s a bit of trailing off into the woods a.k.a ramblings of the mind. I am taking a little break from my thesis work to write this.

There is a notice on the wall a few meters to my left that reads “This kitchen is not available for PhD candidates from DepartmentXXX.* You can use the kitchen in the other end of the corridor.” (*Name changed to maintain anonymity of subjects. Smile. Eye-roll.)

We have been sent two emails about this before that notice came up. But I’ve seen a couple of people ignore this sign. They smile and say hi as they go by to the forbidden kitchen, and I smile and say hi back.

For now, I am assuming they have not seen the notice directed at us, even as they walk past it, because … well, maybe because the wall is white and so is the A4 paper on which the notice is printed in blank ink. I don’t know, I’m just trying to think well of my fellow humans. I mean I’ve been known to not see things that are right in front of me a few times in the past.

This one time my sister and I spent a lovely day in Bath. We needed to do one more thing, have tea at Pulteney Bridge. We had read that this was one of Bath’s attractions. So we walked right up to where the map and sign posts said it was, but we could see no bridge.

We went back and forth along this stretch of road about three times, until, a few minutes later, confused and exasperated, we stopped and asked a kindly gentleman, “Where can we find Pulteney Bridge, sir?” And he said, “You’re standing right on top of it.”

See, it didn’t look like a bridge from where we were standing. And from some TripAdvisor reviews I‘ve read, we weren’t the only ones that could not tell there was a bridge in that spot. Sometimes things are not as obvious to everyone as we might think.

In the meantime, if you do know of some plants that do alright in dim-lit spaces, do let me know!

Till next time,

Cheerfully yours,

Catherine.

 

Follow:

Life in a new language – learning Norwegian 

Today I’m exactly midway through my Norwegian language classes. It has felt like home in Norway since March, but learning Norwegian makes it feel more like home even more each week.

The language class teacher is nice, kind and patient, and altogether we represent 9 countries.

We all are like toddlers learning to walk, our shaky Norwegian sentences thick with our native accents as we try to adopt Norwegian inflections. Every shaky sentence is a step towards a confident new life in a new language. We all can’t wait to be fluent!

There were so many sunny days this past week that I sort of forgot how used to the rain I had become over the winter.

The rain is now back in bucket loads! Fall is definitely here, no doubt about it. This city has more rain than any one city needs for an eternity, but I have stocked up on wool underclothes so I’m happy as a lark. When the sun comes out from behind the clouds though, Bergen is the loveliest city you ever saw!

On a whole other random note, or not really, since today is Wednesday, I like Wednesdays. I think I’m at my best on Wednesdays.

I’ve noticed that on Wednesdays, somewhere in the middle of the day, a fireball of energy overtakes me. I want to bake, spring clean, lay out the next week’s clothes, and go meet new friends, all in one Wednesday evening after work. I bet there are people able to do this. Are there? What kind of food do these people eat? Seriously, give me some recommendations please!

 

Follow:

Do you get hair loss out when you travel?

Tap water contains different things in different parts of the world, and this sometimes affects skin and hair quality. When you go on holiday, you want to come back home glowing, with your skin looking sun-kissed, and fabulous. You don’t want to go back looking dull.

The tap water in Malta has a not so ideal mineral content, in fact, sometimes it is too salty to use to make tea in some parts of the island I’ve lived. At work, they all always use water from the water cooler to make tea.

Back to my main topic though, skin and hair: I actually know two ladies that have noticed that their hair gets more dull when they’re in Malta, and they notice more hair loss. They believe it’s the water, and I tend to agree.

So here is a list of things I use to help keep the glow in case the water is a bit harsh where I’m going.

I use this to remove makeup and cleanse my face. You can buy micellar water or micellar wipes. I swear by micellar wipes, I never want my supply to run out! I prefer wipes because they’re sort of 2-in-1, you don’t have to buy cotton, the wipes are enough. Time effective, coat effective, bam! When you use micellar water/wipes, you don’t have to use water on your face. I am not saying you never wash your face with water, haha, but that’s what the manufacturers say so you have the option.

Argan oil is great for treating dry skin and scalp. It makes hair look shiny and real healthy. It’s got Vitamin E and is a good moisturiser.

I’ve been having some concerns with my hair though, and it’s been breaking more than it should so I went to see a dermatologist. I want every bit of me to be healthy!

The dermatologist made some recommendations, and gave me a prescription. I am eager to see how one of the medicines she prescribed works. It’s called Regaine. I think in the US it’s called Rogaine. Anyway, it’s supposed to limit hair loss and help regrow my hair.

So if you seem to be having crazy hair loss, make an appointment with a good dermatologist. They’ll examine your scalp and give some professional advice.

I previously wrote about how to keep the glow when you travel here.

What essentials do you travel with to keep you in perfect form at your destination?

Sharing is caring; if this might help someone you know, like, comment, subscribe and share!

Follow:

Music for the summer – yes Amazon Music!

After the recent Isle of MTV music festival week in Malta, I have gone in search of new music and new sounds I haven’t heard before. Younger me did better than current me at finding and enjoying music new and old. But guess what is in time to help remedy this? Amazon’s Prime Day!

 

11th July is Amazon’s third annual Prime Day, a.k.a the day of thousands of deals

Between now and July 11, you can get 4 months of unlimited streaming and downloads for a few pennies per month, literally pennies. This is music to my ears! Amazon Music Unlimited has a selection of over 40 million songs that you can stream or download, free of ads.

Let me start from the top though.

Amazon Music comes in 2 packages. Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited. Both sound real good to me, but see for yourself first.

Amazon Prime Music

Prime Music is included with a Prime membership. As a benefit of Amazon Prime membership, Prime Music features a curated streaming catalogue of two million songs, always ad-free and on-demand. With a Prime membership, you also get Unlimited One-Day Delivery, streaming of movies and TV shows, and a bunch of other hard-to-say-no-to stuff.

Amazon Prime is even sweeter now than I remember when I first tried it a couple of years ago. It was a 30-day free trial that I cancelled at the end of the month, but they’ve got such enticing add-ons now.

Prime members have access to unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video, thousands of playlists and stations with Prime Music, a rotating selection of e-books and current magazines with Prime Reading, unlimited photo storage and more. I feel that that one-day delivery deserves extra mention though! Ever wanted a dress on Thursday for a party on Friday? Or wanted an extra duvet on Sunday for guests arriving on Tuesday, yet you do not have the time on Monday to run to IKEA because you’ll be at work? This one-day delivery is a dream!

Read more about the perks of Amazon Prime Membership here.

Amazon Music Unlimited

Amazon Music Unlimited costs a bit more at 9.99/- but you can start a free 30-day trial, streaming from 40 million songs! With the 30-day trial, you will be able to download songs and albums to listen offline wherever you are, free of ads.

Try it out for a month, unsubscribe if you don’t want it any longer.

Amazon Music Unlimited is available to everyone, even if you’re not a member of Amazon Prime. However, Amazon Prime Members can sign up a discounted rate. Amazon Prime is looking a lot more attractive to me now though.

Give Amazon Music a go!

Follow:

Isle of MTV Malta 2017

isle-of-mtv-malta

 

The Isle of MTV is one of the biggest annual music festivals in Europe. It is organised by MTV Europe and has been held in Malta since 2007. It was previously held in France, Portugal, Spain and Italy.

The main show is preceded by the Isle of MTV Malta Music Week, featuring several events across the island.

 

Isle-of-mtv-malta-2017
This year’s line-up included Jonas Blue, Raye, DNCE, and The Chainsmokers. Last year’s line-up had Wiz Khalifa, Jess Glynne, Steve Aoki and Clean Bandit. Certain parts of the night were less than music-festival festive, but DNCE did not disappoint! I really liked them!

DNCE at Isle of MTV Malta 2017

Two of DNCE’s members

Jonas Blue’s act was good too, and Raye had some fabulous moments. I am still not so sure about The Chainsmokers, I have to admit.

The Chainsmokers at Isle of MTV Malta 2017

The Chainsmokers’ act

If you would like to visit Malta and need some practical tips, search my blog for ‘Malta’ or start here or here.

For more on Isle of MTV festivals see here.

Follow: