Welcome to A Cauldron Of Thoughts. An outlet for the things brewing inside of me.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Crème Brûlée French Toast

This dish has become a tradition for us on Christmas morning. I love it because I prepare it the night before then take it out the following morning and pop it into the oven. So breakfast is taking care of itself, while we all enjoy our morning together. Oh, and it's delicious to boot!


1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
an 8 to 9 inch round country style bread
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half & half cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon salt


In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 9x13x2 inch baking dish. Cut six 1 inch thick slices from centre portion of the loaf, reserving ends for another use, and trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.

In a bowl whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla, Grand Marnier and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350F and bring bread to room temperature.

Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 - 40 minutes.

Serve hot French Toast immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

This recipe is courtesy of Epicurious.com

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Flore's No-Bake Cake

I attended a funeral yesterday for a woman I barely knew. She was part of my extended family, mother-in-law to a cousin who I'm close to. I like to attend funerals because it is often the best glimpse at who the person really was and what effect they had on those closest to them on this Earth.

Flore was 93 when she died. The same age as my beloved great-grandmother Molly was when she died 10 years ago. Flore's family rose one by one to speak of the love she brought into each of their lives and how much they would miss her. Like Molly, she brought people together over her cooking. Family was important to her. Feeding those she loved was her joy.

As a person who loves to cook and share good times over food, I understood her desire to create memories not only for herself but for those who surrounded her with love. I was delighted to see that her family put together a small sampling of her favourite recipes to share with the rest of us. Included in the buffet following her service, was Flore's no-bake cake, a favourite of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I tried a piece, thought it was terrific, then channelled Molly by getting another piece, wrapping it up in a napkin and tucking it away in my purse. (Molly was famous for 'pilfering' food at the Chinese buffets. She always carried a shaker of cayenne pepper around in her purse too, but that's another story.) So without further ado, I give you Flore's recipe for her no-bake cake:


2 Tbsp of butter
2 egg yolks
500g of icing sugar
30 tea biscuits, broken into small pieces
175 ml. of strong coffee
2 Tbsp of cocoa powder
1 Tsp of vanilla
a pinch of salt

In a big bowl, mix the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Add the salt, butter and hot coffee and mix well. Add the yolks and vanilla and mix well. Fold in the tea biscuit pieces. Press the mixture into a pyrex dish and cover it with waxed paper. Refridgerate for one hour. Cut into squares to serve. Watch the people you share it with smile. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Best Ever Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins

These muffins are always in demand!


3 large ripe bananas

3/4 cup white sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup melted butter

1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups of flour

3/4 - 1 cup milk chocolate chips

Prepare a large muffin pan with either non-stick spray or paper cups.

Mash bananas. Add sugar and combine. Mix in slightly beaten egg. Stir in the butter. Add all dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 12 large muffins.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009



We're clearing out your apartment,
Sure to leave nothing behind.
Delving out your belongings,
Mother asks if I want your chimes.

I smile and say yes,
They were your favourite thing.
Beautiful ceramic birds,
That bang together and ting.

I look at them remembering
The grandmother you were,
A woman who collected things
And kept them close to her.

The day has been long
And night has come around.
I hang your beloved chimes
And listen for their sound.

I stare at them a while
And then turn off the light.
I tuck myself in
And whisper to you, good night.

I let my mind wander
Over events of the past few days,
Trying to make sense of things
But it's all a haze.

I'm drifting now, in the dark
The moon the only light,
Suddenly a sound;
It's birds taking flight!