They'll be there for you: The best brunches for entertaining

Cast off the cosy Christmas cocoon and invite a (small gang over for these tasty meals)

Throw open the doors and cast aside the sea of leftovers. It’s time to escape the Christmas cocoon and welcome in the big wide world. Maybe it’s time to meet up with friends, invite them over for some brunch, and perhaps a restorative cocktail or two.

If you’re a smart-phone user, issue your invitations via emoji, so you can spread the word that the avocado toast with bacon and croissants and fizz are on you, without actually using words.

But if words are your thing, and I hope they are, you can delve into the origins of what food writer Aoife McElwain calls "the portmaneau meal", or "the meal that many a Saturday-night reveller drags themselves to bleary-eyed on a Sunday", here.

A good, strong Bloody Mary might be what to occasion calls for, and if you get cracking now, in 12-hours you'll have bacon infused vodka as the base of your cocktail, via the low 'n' slow barbecue experts and Hang Fire Cookbook authors Samantha Evans and Shauna Guinn.


Eunice Power has shared her recipe for perennially popular lime cordial, and beauty of this version is it's ready to use immediately, and is just as good spritzed into sparkling water as it is added to alcohol (well, almost as good).

But if you're sticking with the hard stuff you might make it an Irish gin with an Irish tonic, as recommended by John Wilson.

If you want to get ahead with the brunch prep, Lilly Higgins's rye, cheese and chive muffins freeze really well, according to their creator, who can also vouch for them going down well with young guests, having roadtested them on her own gang.

Eggs ... it's got to be eggs if it's brunch, but that doesn't mean you can't be a bit exotic, and harissa baked eggs could be just the thing to perk up a post-turkey palate. Or head down south for your inspiration with a Mexican breakfast egg taco.

Pancakes are another brunch staple, and Donal Skehan's ricotta pancakes are the light and fluffy US-inspired version, rather than pre-Lent fridge clear out type.

For a slightly posh brunch offering, that's also vegetarian, Vanessa Greenwood came up with a novel use for celeriac when she wrote her recipe for celeriac rosti with flat mushrooms.

And if there's still some turkey hanging around your kitchen, put it to good use (and say goodbye to it, finally) by making Gary O'Hanlon's roast turkey quesadillas.

You can read what the late US author and TV presenter Anthony Bourdain has to say about his time as a brunch line cook, not his finest hour, here, and maybe bookmark his recipe for chicken satay with fake-ass spicy peanut satay sauce for your New Year's party nibbles.