Brunch, the only acceptable portmanteau

A few years ago I wrote about how much I hate portmanteau words. This is still valid (Brexit, oh dear Jesus), but there’s one word for which I make an exception: brunch. I guess brunch isn’t so bad because it doesn’t really sound like a portmanteau anymore. Maybe because it’s been around for so long, who knows?

I guess mostly I just cut brunch slack because of what it represents: getting up later than you would for breakfast, and having all kinds of food that you would have for neither breakfast or lunch and which are more delicious than either. Admittedly, on an average Sunday I’ll also get up later than you normally would for breakfast, take whatever I find in the fridge and have that around 2 pm, but that’s just not the same as a proper brunch. Brunch requires love and attention, well-prepared little dishes, a set table, stuff like that – it’s more than just dragging your hungover ass to the kitchen and chucking eggs into a frying pan. Also, not an unimportant point, it’s the only meal of the day that you can have prosecco with, which immediately grants it yet more bonus points.

So the reason that I’ve been thinking about brunch lately, is that for reasons I won’t elaborate on, I just had brunch like two weekends in a row. One of these occasions was in Italy, and I was organising it. My American friend was coming, and I imagined that, like me, she’d want some ham and cheese croissants. Because Italians only do sweet croissants, I decided to do something unorthodox: make my own croissant out of puff pastry. What do I care. Yes, of course I realise that these weren’t actually croissants, they were only croissant-shaped puff pastry ham and cheese rolie wolies or something, and if you’re in a country where you can get savoury croissants, I guess you can just do that, but in a pinch they’ll do fine, really! Plus, they’re fun to make, and they make the house smell nice.


For 8 croissant-shaped puff pastry ham and cheese rolie schmolies, use:

  • one sheet of puff pastry, or one block that you’ve rolled out to roughly a rectangle
  • a few slices of ham
  • a few slices of cheese
  • some egg white
  • baking parchment

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Take your slab of puff pastry and cut it up like so:


Also cut a line of about 4 cm from the bottom edge up in the general direction of the pointy end. Now pile up the ham and cheese like so:


Lightly roll up the rolie zolies. Don’t press down on them too hard! Once they’re all rolled up, grab your favourite silicon brush and coat them in a bit of egg white to make them nice and shiny.


Stick the rolie yolies in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes (start checking on them from 15 minutes onwards to see how they’re getting on – we’re going for a nice golden brown). Have them with prosecco and all kinds of other tiny fun little dishes that you invented.


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