For Brunch Club fourteen, on 25th February 2018, we decided to do something a bit different… we stayed home. Well, Lori stayed home and the others came round to her place! “Back in January, when Topper asked what I wanted for my birthday I couldn’t think of anything. I tried thinking of experiences rather than physical things, but all I could think of was how much I loved a) Topper’s amazing cooking, and b) meeting up with my lovely fellow Brunch Clubbers.” What better way to belatedly celebrate my birthday than by combining the two?
LORI: I set the table with a selection of fruit juices, plus all the ingredients we use for a tasty Bloody Mary – vodka, V8 vegetable juice, Worcestershire sauce, smoked chipotle Tabasco, and celery salt. Once everyone arrived, I sorted out a pot of tea for Lou and Ed, plus a flat white each for me and Eleanor (I use Lactofree milk at home, rather than soya). I have to say that the Bloody Mary was a great start to my brunch!
ED: Lovely English breakfast tea in a lovely teapot what’s better than that?!
ELEANOR: I had my first Bloody Mary! Lori kindly made me one and it was surprisingly delicious, the celery salt really set it off. The coffee was also delicious. Thank you Lori!
LOU: I had bought a tea selection, and Ed and I shared a pot of a Waitrose loose leaf which was SO GOOD.
WHAT WE HAD
LORI: Topper made us a potato hash with onions, green bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and baked beans. This was served with Clonakilty black pudding and Brindisa chorizo for the meat eaters, and with a seitan chorizo for Ed (if you know of a good veggie ‘black pudding’, do let us know!). The dish was topped off with a pair of poached eggs, and there was some fresh sourdough toast on the side. Topper also made some hollandaise sauce in the sous vide, which he described as “unnecessary, but fun”.
WHAT DID WE CHAT ABOUT?
LORI: Lots of things, but not as much Drag Race chat as usual – partly because Topper doesn’t watch the show, but also partly because we’ve been sharing reaction videos with each other via Telegram each week.
ED: So much Drag Race chat to catch up with, the wonders of Woolwich as it’s a completely different part of London which I don’t know at all.
LOU: Lots of lovely things, including The (Woolwich) Arsenal, and optimal selfie lighting!
BRUNCH PUDDING REVIEW
LORI: Before everyone arrived, I popped to Boulangerie Jade (which has recently replaced the previously reviewed Cornerstone Cafe in Woolwich) to get us some pastries for our Brunch Pudding. I took requests from everyone and was very impressed with the selection on offer. Topper had a spectacular pistachio éclair and, while there’s not that much for anyone avoiding wheat, I had a couple of delicious florentines (one dark chocolate and one white).
ED: I had a delicious walnut and coffee creme patissiere/filled-donut sort of thing. It was dreamy.
ELEANOR: I had an incredible baked cheesecake with raspberries – it was quite big and I was expecting it to be heavy but it was light and creamy and utterly delicious. Quite yummy.
LOU: I had the cutest lemon tart – crisp pastry and a sharp curd filling which was just perfect – not too heavy, not too light.
LORI: Getting stuck into the washing up!
ED: Back on the DLR, I remember I did some lovely writing on my way home, Brunch Club is always inspiring!
ELEANOR: Back home on the bus (benefit of being local to Lori) and a quiet night in.
LOU: I headed home to wonder why I had never eaten black pudding before, and to make a list of other foods I should try before I’m 40.
LORI: This was a lovely post-birthday celebration for me. Having friends over for brunch is great if you have excellent culinary skills (or live with someone who does!), as long as everyone’s OK with the amount of travel involved. Thanks so much to Topper for cooking for us!
ED: Food was really, really special. I’d not had seitan before but had heard good things, which was confirmed by Topper’s glorious cooking skills. Thank you Topper and Lori!
ELEANOR: The food was delicious! The hollandaise was tasty and there were plenty left so Topper kindly made a doggy bag of hollandaise so I could take it home and have it for brunch the next day. Thank you Topper for cooking and allowing us into your home.
LOU: I felt so spoilt! The food was absolutely incredible and Lori and Topper were perfect hosts on a sunny day!
Standard disclaimer: All images were snapped by Brunch Club members on their phones, so excuse any blurriness as we were all rather excited about eating the food.