Hosting a great holiday brunch is all about using quality, local ingredients. Take it from the team at Killarney’s popular brunch destination, Café du Parc, which is located at the Killarney Plaza Hotel.
The perfect brunch gathering combines warm hospitality with great ambiance and locally sourced ingredients. And – let’s face it – nothing beats sitting around the table with great food, friends and family during the holiday season.
These brunch dishes, developed by chef William Fitzgerald, are chic, but familiar and achievable for the novice chef. The best part? You can prep a lot of these dishes in advance and simply finish cooking as your guests are sitting at the table.
Ireland’s first hydroponic (growing vertically and indoors, without soil) farm specifically for hospitality businesses, Killarney Urban Farm grows vegetables for bars, restaurants and hotels in the Kerry region. Their vertical system currently grows leafy greens all year round, and are featured in these holiday brunch recipes. As Killarney Urban Farm was created with the idea of being able to supply their local hospitality community with vegetables, you should look for your local growers as well when you’re making these recipes at home.
This dish comes together easily, but needs to be started the day before you serve. Mainly, you will be searing the mushrooms, frying the tempura greens and reheating the potato terrine just prior to serving. Dragoncella is a tangy Italian sauce which goes delicously well with these meaty king oyster mushrooms.
For the potato terrine:
1kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled, very thinly sliced (on a mandolin) and placed in a bowl of cold water
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
A generous pinch each of salt and pepper
40g melted butter
120ml double cream
For the pickled cranberries:
180ml apple cider vinegar
150ml maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
2 pieces star anise
1 tbsp fresh ginger, thinly sliced
Zest and juice of 1/2 orange
200g fresh cranberries
For the dragoncello sauce:
120g leftover bread (we use foccacia or ciabatta) torn and soaked in 60ml red wine vinegar
1 hard boiled egg, grated
50g fresh tarragon, finely chopped
30g capers, finely chopped
80ml Irish rapeseed oil or extra virgin olive oil
For the mushrooms
4 king oyster mushrooms, sliced lengthwise and gently scored crossways, on both sides, with a sharp knife
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
Flaky sea salt
For the tempura greens:
Fresh Killarney Urban Farm garden greens (or any local greens like rocket, cress or frisee)
150g self raising flour
100ml chilled soda water
4 precooked chestnuts, finely sliced (on a mandolin is best)
120g Dingle Goat’s Cheese (or a goat’s cheese local to you)
1 On the day before your party, make the potato terrine. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line a loaf tin with parchment paper, making sure the paper hangs over the sides.
2 Take your thinly sliced potatoes and dry on a clean dish towel or kitchen towel. Mix them with the rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, melted butter and double cream.
3 Layer the potato mixture in the loaf tin and cover the top with the overlapping parchment paper. Add a layer of tin foil to the top of the tin, as well.
4 Roast in the oven for approximately one hour. Remove the tin foil and cook for another 30 to 40 minutes, until golden.
5 While the potatoes are cooking, make your pickled cranberries as they will need to sit overnight. Bring all of the ingredients, except the cranberries, to a boil in a small saucepan. Once boiled, remove from the heat and immediately add the cranberries.
6 Bring the pot back to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool, then leave to infuse overnight (ensure the cranberries are completely submerged in the liquid).
7 Remove the potato terrine from the oven and press the top of it down with a heavy weight (we use tins of beans). Once cooled, keep the weight on the terrine and chill overnight.
6 The next day, remove the terrine from the loaf tin and slice into four equal portions. Place these slices on parchment paper and keep in the fridge until ready to reheat.
7 After making the terrine and pickled cranberries, make the dragoncello sauce. In a food processor, add all of the dragoncello ingredients and pulse gently to combine into a chunky sauce. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and bring to room temperature when ready to use.
8 When ready to plate, bake the potato terrine slices in a 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 preheated oven for 30 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook for a further 20 minutes, until golden.
9 Heat a frying pan on medium high heat. Add the rapeseed or olive oil and, when good and hot, add the sliced and scored King Oyster mushrooms. Sear on both sides until tender and golden in colour, then add the chopped thyme and butter to the pan. Baste the mushrooms in the melted butter. Remove from the pan and sprinkle with a bit of flaky sea salt.
10 While searing the mushrooms, heat a deep fat fryer to 180°C. In a bowl, combine the self raising flour and soda water to make a batter. Dip the greens in the batter and deep fry until crisp. Set aside to drain on some kitchen towel and season with a bit of salt.
11 Warm four large dinner plates. Divide the goat’s cheese among the four plates, then place a slice of hot potato terrine on each. Add the mushrooms to each plate and drizzle with the dragoncello sauce. Sprinkle the pickled cranberries over top and finish with the tempura greens and sliced chestnuts. Serve hot.
While these aren’t authentic Mexican-style quesadillas, they are a delicious way to use up Christmas leftovers and still leave your guests wowed. If you can’t find Kell’s Bay Cheese, feel free to use a local cheddar or even some mozzarella.
8 soft flour tortillas
8 tbsp Eve’s Smokey Tomato Relish (or any tomato relish)
200g Kell’s Bay Cheese, finely grated
200g streaky bacon, cooked in the oven until crisp
300g smoked (or leftover roasted) turkey, sliced
8 tsp vegetable oil (for frying)
4 eggs, fried sunny side up
4 generous handfuls Killarney Urban Farm Tats Shui Frill Asian Leaves (or equivalent local greens)
1 Lay out four of the flour tortillas on your workspace and add 2 tbsp of tomato relish on each.
2 Divide the cheese, bacon and smoked turkey between the four tortillas. Place the remaining four tortillas on top to make a sandwich. At this stage, you could leave these in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
3 When ready to serve, fry each quesadilla in a large frying pan with 2 tsp vegetable oil.
4 Cook over medium heat until the bottom side is crisp, then carefully flip and repeat on the other side.
5 When the quesadillas have all been fried, place them on 1-2 baking sheets and bake at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 5-10 minutes, to ensure the inside is hot and the cheese is melted.
6 While the quesadillas are in the oven, fry four eggs sunny side up and line four large plates on your workspace. Add a handful of garden leaves on each plate, as well as any other salad toppings you might like to use (we used finely diced bell pepper, red onion and mango).
7 Cut each quesadilla into four wedges and place alongside the salad. Top each with a fried egg. Feel free to serve with more tomato relish and sour cream.
A classic combination and always a winner at any brunch gathering, these potato pancakes go so well with the smokey, velvety Irish salmon. The horseradish takes your usual sour cream garnish to a new level.
500g potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp full fat milk
3 tbsp cream
3 large eggs
4 egg whites, beaten until stiff For the horseradish cream:
150ml double cream
1 tbsp freshly grated horseradish (or jarred horseradish)
1 tbsp English mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
250g smoked salmon
1 small jar Goatsbridge trout caviar
Killarney Urban Farm micro greens and nasturtium leaves (or any local microgreens like onion cress, coriander cress or basil cress)
1 Make the pancakes: steam the potatoes, then purée in a potato ricer. Leave to cool.
2 In a large bowl, mix the flour, cream and milk and add in the puréed potatoes.
3 Add the whole eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition, and then fold in the egg whites.
4 Preheat a large non-stick pan on medium. Add a little bit of oil, then lightly wipe it out with kitchen towel.
5 Ladle in a small amount of batter and fry gently on both sides until golden brown. Place the potato cakes on a parchment lined baking tray and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.
6 Make the horseradish cream: in a large bowl, whip the cream until glossy. Add the mustard, horseradish, salt, pepper and lemon juice and taste before adjusting any seasonings.
7 Warm four dinner plates. Place a pancake on each one. Divide the smoked salmon equally among the plates and dollop some horseradish cream around each. Add a small spoonful of caviar on top and garnish with micro greens and nasturtium leaves. Serve immediately.
A twice-baked soufflé isn’t only a delicious brunch option, but a smart one for entertaining. Baking it twice means you can prepare it in advance and bake once more before serving. Paired with a velvety sauce and crunchy savoury granola, this is a unique dish which cheese-lovers are sure to enjoy.
For the soufflé:
3 tbsp softened butter (for greasing the ramekins)
25g panko breadcrumbs
550ml full fat milk
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 pinch nutmeg
150g goat’s cheese
3 large eggs, separated
For the savoury granola:
150g hazelnuts, lightly toasted
100g pumpkin seeds
100g jumbo oats
100g sunflower seeds
80g pistachios, lightly crushed
6 Sprigs fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp salt
20ml Irish rapeseed oil
Killarney Urban Garden leaves (or any tender salad leaves)
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Grease four ramekins with the butter and then coat the inside with panko bread crumbs. Set aside.
2 Make the infused milk: place the milk, onion, nutmeg, thyme and bay leaf into a saucepan and gently heat over medium-low for about 20 minutes, then strain through a fine sieve. Put the infused milk back into a saucepan and keep warm.
3 In another saucepan, melt the butter and then add in the flour. Cook this mixture on a low heat for four to five minutes. Gradually ladle in the warm infused milk and whisk until you have a smooth, shiny sauce.
4 Add the goat’s cheese and whisk until smooth, then divide this mixture in half – one half will be a sauce, and the other will make the souffle batter.
5 Separate the eggs. Add the yolks to the sauce mixture, mix well to incorporate and set aside. Beat the egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the souffle mixture. Add the souffle mixture to the prepared ramekins.
6 Place the ramekins in a deep roasting tin. Place in the preheated oven and, before closing the door, add boiling water to the roasting tin. The water should go halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 18-20 minutes, then remove and cool.
7 Make the savoury granola: preheat your oven to 120°C/250°F/Gas Mark 1/2. In a large bowl, combine all of the granola ingredients to ensure they’re well coated in the rapeseed oil.
8 Line a baking tray with parchment and add the granola mixture to the tray. Spread evenly and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely before using.
9 Once cooled, remove the soufflés from their ramekins and place on a parchment-lined baking tray. You can keep them chilled at this point, until an hour before you’re ready to serve. Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before reheating.
10 30 minutes before serving, reheat the sauce gently on medium-low heat. If it seems too thick, you can thin it out with a bit of cream. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Add the soufflés to the preheated oven for 5-10 minutes (you can sprinkle more cheese on top, if you like).
11 Warm four dinner plates. Add a bunch of garden greens, then place the soufflés on top. Finish with the sauce and a generous sprinkle of the savoury granola. Serve immediately.