Organising a charity brunch cheaply, simply and quickly.
It has been a longtime since I hosted anything in my house and one thing on my bucket list for 2015 was to do just that.
Coupled with my beautiful, little cousin recently diagnosed with cancer and learning about a lovely charity called Aoibheann’s Pink Tie, what better way to combine a simple gathering of the nearest and dearest ladies in my life than to have a Sunday brunch in aid of Aoibheann’s Pink Tie. I invited my mum, mother-in-law, aunts, sisters, a few WAGS, neighbours, mums from school and cousins.
Once the invite went out and 25 odd people said they would attend I realised it was going to be the same weekend that the boss would be away. Nooooooooooooooo! It was too late to back out. My monkeys had no choice but to be my waiters and any help I was offered I took.
We had a full house and raised a whopping €365 for Aoibheann’s Pink Tie.
Here are my top tips for organising a brunch, QUICKLY, CHEAPLY and SIMPLY.
1. Keep it simple
Poached eggs and hollandaise sauce are fine if you have a chef and waiting team but if you are hosting alone you still want to chat and mingle so keeping the menu simple, self service teas and coffees and lots of chairs scattered around avoids any stress and extra work.
2. Menu – plan ahead
The art of keeping it simple is making sure your dishes don’t have to be kept warm and that most of the prepping can be done the day before. Inspired by suggestions from food bloggers through the Irish Parenting Bloggers, platters and salads were the way to go. Everything can be quickly compiled that morning, with dressing served on the side so the salads will keep for longer. If you have time to bake fresh bread, great. If not, arranging for a guest to swing by Lidl on their way will save you time that morning.
3. Say yes to offers of help
Most people will ask can they bring something and want to help so take up their offer to bring a dessert. It is better to have more desserts that savouries so don’t worry if loads arrived. Anything left over can be divvied out at the end so there is no waste, no self gorging later on and the men and kids get a goodie bag. Freezing cakes is always handy for future guests.
Brunch means tea, coffee, water and juice. This is good for being cost effective in your own pocket (no wine to buy!!) but also with pots of tea and coffee, jugs of juices and iced water on the table people will help themselves. They will also at some point stop drinking tea and coffee and you will be able to sit down and join them.
5. Breathe and enjoy.
When it comes to a charity event and the notion of brunch nobody is expecting haute cuisine or entertainment. Guests are happy to pour their own coffee when handed a mug and a coffee pot and happy to ask for a fork if there isn’t one. Aside from maybe one or two guests that may not know anyone, once you introduce them to the chattier guests, conversations will happen.
Most importantly enjoy the few hours!
Goats cheese. beetroot and pine nut salad
Roasted vegetables and feta salad
Green salad (avocado, spring onions, cucumber and baby tomatoes)
Roasted baby potatoes and chorizo
Roasted asparagus wrapped in parma ham and parmesan cheese
Smoked salmon with cream cheese
Puff pastry jambons (puff pastry, lardons, mozzerella & cheddar cheese)
Dressing on the side
Sliced farmhouse brown bread & baguettes
Cheese & crackers & grapes
Thank you to my wonderful sister and my neighbour for being amazing tea and coffee makers, to my mum, mother-in-law and cousin for helping me clean up, my monkeys for being the best waiters and a HUGE thank you to everyone who donated.
I would highly recommend hosting a ladies brunch 🙂
For more information on Aoibheann’s Pink Tie, a really wonderful charity, click here.