THE OFF SEASON: a brunch time affair

brunch_cover On weekends, like all downtown Toronto hipsters, I actively participate in the -ever so popular- brunch culture.  Going out for breakfast during the lunching hours is a luxury that I truly enjoy.  [Perhaps this is the result of several years of waking up too late to enjoy McDonald breakfasts.]  However, on long weekends, I like to capitalize on the extra day off, stay in, and make brunch.  Though this past weekend included Family Day [a holiday celebrated in most provinces], to us Manitobans, it’s better knows as Louis Riel Day; a day to celebrate one of the most controversial figures in Canadian history -politician + rebel + founder of Manitoba.

brunch_05 Louis Riel Day in Winnipeg falls during the Festival du Voyageur; an annual winter festival that celebrates our province and country’s unique French heritage.  During these 10 days, amazingly detailed snow and ice sculptures decorate the city and people don their toques + ceinture fléchées [a bright coloured traditional French-Canadian wool sash] as heritage is celebrated through entrainment, traditions, food and art.  Since I was missing out and wanting to keep things French in honour of LRD, to celebrate from 1 province over, I rallied up some fellow Winnipeg expats to prepare the most french brunch dish we could think of; crêpes!

brunch_06C R E P E S | recipe from the book How to be Parisian Wherever You Are
[makes about 8 crêpes using a 12″ pan]

1c flour
3 eggs
1tbsp vegetable oil
3tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1-2tbs water
2c milk
1/2c beer

sift flour into mixing bowl
make a well in the centre of the flour with your hand | add the eggs + water + oil + sugar + salt + water
mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon
add milk while stirring | continue to stir until batter is smooth
add beer | stir
cover batter with dishtowel | leave to rest for 1hr
grease a large sauté pan with an oil soaked paper towel | heat pan over med heat
with a ladle, pour enough batter into the pan so it spreads evenly | no thicker than a pin head or quarter
cook for about 2mins then flip
repeat until all the bater has been used

brunch_01brunch_02What’s brunch without cocktails?!  Instead of the usual OJ mimosas, we spiced things up with freshly juiced honeydew.

2 parts sparkling to 1 part fresh fruit juice of choice!

brunch_08 Like most meals I make, the preparation + cooking occupies way more time than the eating and the coordinating of when to make what is beyond overwhelming.  Though there were 3 cooks in the kitchen for brunch, my friends Shereen + Morgan and me, the prep/cooking wasn’t any faster.  In our defence, the crêpe batter did need that hour to sit and I kept interrupting to take pics.  We joked that we would be eating brunch by dinner.  Though these were the rants of 3 starved gals running on mimosas, at one point, we actually thought that we wouldn’t be eating until sundown.

brunch_11Our  L R D  B R U N C H  M E N U  included the following:

SAVOURY CREPES | filled with grated smoked cheddar, tomato + cucumber + garlic + onion salsa, avocado, bacon, scrambled eggs, and Valentina hot sauce

brunch_10   brunch_13HASH BROWN POTATOES

brunch_16SWEET CREPES | filled with flambé bananas + strawberries, whipped cream, Nutella, and fresh mint

brunch_15B A N A N A + S T R A W B E R R Y  F L A M B E

2tbsp butter
3 large bananas
5-6 large strawberries
2tbsp brown sugar
juice of 1/2 lime
3-4tbsp Grand Marnier liqueur

over med. heat melt butter
add brown sugar + bananas + strawberries | sauté for 2mins
remove fr heat | add Grand Marnier | ignite with a match
the alcohol should burn off + extinguish in a few seconds
add lime juice

brunch_12instead of sweetening the whipped cream with sugar, we used honey  

brunch_14Contrary to our dramatic exaggerations, and though some dishes were warmer than others, we were eating by 1:30pm -a proper brunch time!  I’d say, our LRD brunch was a success!  Both crêpes were delicious and, hands down, a great way to change up the usual bacon + eggs.

Happy Louis Riel/Family Day!


hand cameos by Shereen + Morgan -TEAMWORK!


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