Saturday, April 30, 2011

An easy breezy brunch for any weather!

I had been wanting to invite our friends Sue and George over for quite a while and soon they’ll be departing for their cottage for most of the summer. I was wondering about what to do that would be easy when I was so busy getting ready for a book tour, Malice Domestic and Festival of Mystery. Sue and George are fun and relaxed so I decided on a simple brunch. By some miracle after trying Cleo's fabulous recipes, I still had a half-cup of maple syrup left, from a sugar bush here in the middle of Canada’s capital. And I had an idea: Maple syrup French toast. As the maple leaf appears on our Canadian flag, it's downright patriotic.

I thought if we softened up Sue and George with mimosas and some easy advance nibblies, then served the French toast with a bit of maple-glazed bacon and fruit, that would do the trick. It’s all very easy, so we could relax too.

As you can see, Sue likes the mimosas!

I decided to follow it with an easy lemon mousse with served with a few berries and a chocolate cookies. What a nice way to welcome spring weather!

Unfortunately, the day was freezing and blustery with hail and winds and rain. At midday we turned on every light in the living area and hoped the power didn’t go out. The upside was that this brunch, which would be nice and sunny even served outside, was warm and comforting in the bad weather. My DH squeezed large juicy oranges and popped a bottle of Prosecco, a dry Italian sparkling wine. We like it more than champagne and that’s good because it’s not expensive.

Here is the recipe for Maple French Toast and I have to say it was absolutely delicious.

3 eggs

½ cup maple syrup

½ cup 5 % cream (or milk or heavy cream – suit yourself!)

½ tsp real vanilla

6 slices of bread

I used homemade, but any white bread is fine, especially egg bread or rustic – my attempt with whole wheat bread was not so successful in this recipe.

2 tbsp butter

Beat the eggs, maple syrup, cream, vanilla and salt in a bowl.

Arrange the bread in a baking dish or lasagne dish.

Pour the mixture over it. You can make it the night before and it will be perfect for breakfast. The bread will soak up all the liquid. Yum. Make sure you let it rest at least an hour.

Melt butter in a heavy pan with even heat or use a griddle. Keep it to medium heat. Fry slices for about two minutes on each side. They should be golden. We ate ours with bacon drizzled with maple syrup and pepper and baked. Some people had extra maple syrup for the vitamins.

I didn't include the bacon recipe, because it still needs experimentation to get a nice rich color. Stay tuned.

Mimosas (my kind of recipe – two ingredients)

Some fresh orange juice

Some Procecco or your favourite sparkling wine or sparkling water (chilled)

Pour into glasses and serve.

Lemon Mousse


1 ¼ cup whipping cream

1 lemon juiced and zested

½ fine sugar or regular sugar put through the food processor

2 egg whites

Put the cream, lemon zest and sugar into a large bowl and whisk them together until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the lemon juice and whisk again until the mixture thickens further, don't let it get too stiff or you won't be able fold in the egg whites.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks and then fold them into the lemon mixture. Spoon the mousse into 4 glasses and chill. Decorate with extra zest if you like, or berries and small cookies.

We think we’ll make this brunch a tradition! With a griddle, we can whip up enough for a crowd easily.

I've decided to offer all these recipes to Charlotte Adams, currently run off her feet in The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder. After all, she's offered us a lot of time saving tips and that's only fair.

The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder: a Charlotte Adams mystery (April 5, 2011)
A TOP PICK! RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 stars

“Devotees of the classic mystery can do no better than this clever twister.” The Globe and Mail.


  1. Bad weather for you, too? I think we're all ready for summer (or at least spring!)

    I love french toast and this maple french toast sounds delish! And mimosas! That's my kind of brunch, MJ. :) Wish I could have been there! Hope you're having a wonderful time at Malice...wish I could be there, too!

  2. I'll second Elizabeth/Riley's good wishes for a great weekend at Malice! This brunch menu looks absolutely delicious. Marc and I are also big fans of Prosecco, and that Lemon Mousse looks like a perfectly refreshing treat to make all summer long. Thanks, MJ!

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. I just learned from Louise Penny's blog that you won "best short story" MJ

  4. Mary Jane, I just finished the "Busy Woman's Guide to Murder", and loved it... I will be posting a review this week (probably Wednesday), along with my interpretation of a recipe inspired from the book (the Black and White Fudge... which turned into Butterscotch and Black Fudge (long story to be covered in my posting). Loved the tip on only 5 things at a time on your to do list... been doing that for a few days and works very well.

    And congrats on best short story!