Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Bonjour d'Eymet...



Bonjour from a very misty Eymet,

The weather here has been unusual, unusual in the fact that it is not as cold as it is normally in November and today we have a fine mist which reminds me of when I lived in London and used to walk to work along the banks of the Thames river.....not good 'hair" weather.

Friday was a stunning day which was spent in Bordeaux at the antiques fair where we caught up friends, most of which had stands so it gave us a chance to catch up and also admire their wares.

There was a great selection of items on offer and I regret not buying a couple of items but was not 100% sure so best to leave them and I am sure that we will find just as good in the New Year.


There were a lot of people at the fair on Friday and I do not like to carry the camera as it is not easy to negotiate when carrying one hence I left mine in the car.

Managed to snap this photo from the parking area as we were leaving....

 très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 21 November 2014

French Food Friday...Shallot tatins


recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I was hoping to get a post in before this one but it has been a busy week and yesterday did not go exactly as I planned as the light that I had ordered and waited two months for, arrived in a million pieces hence a lot of time was spent packaging and sending it back.

I spent a lot of time choosing this and it was the last one so I am back to the drawing board but think that it maybe a blessing in disguise as I have decided to have a chandelier in it's place.

Nothing beats a tatin and these are very yummy and make a for an ideal lunch or light supper.

Shallot tatins

Caramelised shallots and buttery puff pastry are a perfect combination. You can top with goat’s cheese and rocket salad to make a more substantial meal.
Serves 4
  • 375g (13oz) shop-bought puff pastry
  • About 16 small, even-sized shallots
  • 120g (4½oz) caster sugar
  • 80g (3oz) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper

             

The shallots must all be trimmed to the same size and thickness. If they're not, they'll make the pastry uneven and some will be cooked before others.
 
Place 4 x 12.5cm (4¾in) non-stick ovenproof mini skillets (alternatively, you can use large Yorkshire pudding moulds) on a baking tray and set aside. 
 
On a lightly floured surface, bat the block of pastry with a rolling pin a few times to make it thinner and easier to roll, then cut into quarters and roll out each piece until 3mm (1/8in) thick. Cut out 4 discs using a pastry cutter or saucer that is 2.5cm (1in) bigger than the skillets. 
 
Stack the discs on top of each other – placing greaseproof paper in between – and chill for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, halve the shallots crossways, trim to size (see box, above) and set aside.
Heat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Mix the caster sugar and 3tbsp cold water in a small, heavy saucepan. Put the pan over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat to high and cook for 5-10 minutes until it becomes an amber-coloured caramel. 
Don’t be tempted to stir it or the sugar will crystallise and become grainy; instead, occasionally brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water – this will help to prevent crystallisation.
 
Whisk the cold butter into the caramel a little at a time (it will foam up and thicken the caramel), then take the pan off the heat and add a few twists of pepper. Pour an equal quantity of caramel into each skillet – it will harden immediately. 
 
Sprinkle a little salt over the caramel, then pack the halved and trimmed shallots in the skillets with their widest cut sides facing down. The number of shallots you need depends on their size and how tightly you pack them in, but you should get about eight halves in each skillet.
 
Prick each pastry disc all over with a fork and lay one over each skillet. Tuck well between the shallots and the edge of the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until an even golden brown. Leave the tatins to settle for a few minutes, then invert a small plate over each skillet and turn out onto the plate. Serve hot.

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

beautiful salle de bain...

photo from here


Bonjour mes belles,

When I saw this photo, it was a case of love at first sight. Too good not to share.....

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 14 November 2014

French Food Friday...Rachel Khoo’s Kugelhopf

recipe and photo from here
 
 
Bonjour mes belles,
 
I am in baking mode and commenced with making some gingerbread biscuits to go in a new jar that I bought yesterday. I realised afterwards that I should  have measured the jar opening first and most of the biscuits that I made are wider than the opening of the jar....note to self, buy the biggest jar in the shop or make smaller biscuits!
 
Kugelhopf is one of those things where I have many recipes but yet to find one that really works.
Everyone is raving about Rachel Khoo's recipe so I am planning on trying it out this weekend and thought that you may like to as well.
If you do not have a kugelhopf tin, you can use a normal loaf tin.


 
Rachel Khoo’s Kugelhopf

If you’re using very dry prunes, cut them into small chunks and soak them in 50ml cognac, rum or brandy while the dough rises. Drain them before kneading into the dough
 
 
Ingredients
  • 300g strong white bread flour
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5g instant dried yeast
  • 155ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 70g butter, softened and cut into small cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 8-10 almonds, blanched
  • 70g soft, ready-to-eat stoned prunes
  • icing sugar, to serve
  1. Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Beat 1 of the eggs; make a well in the middle and add this with 125ml of the milk. Switch to a medium speed for 6-8 minutes until the dough becomes soft, smooth and elastic.
  2. Add the softened butter bit by bit and continue to mix for another 5 minutes until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape the bowl down from time to time with a spatula to ensure all the butter is mixed in.
  3. Once the dough is formed (it should be slightly sticky), transfer it into a large, clean bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge until it has doubled in size (at least 6 hours but ideally overnight).
  4. Butter a 20cm Kugelhopf mould (or 900g loaf tin) and line with baking paper. Place one almond in each groove at the bottom (if using a loaf tin, just scatter loosely). Once the dough has doubled in size, remove from the fridge.
  5. Knead the prunes into the dough, but keep the kneading to a minimum. Shape the dough into a ball and poke a hole in the middle. Tuck it neatly into the mould, making sure the middle of the mould pokes through the dough. Beat the other egg and combine with the remaining egg, then use this to brush the dough. If using a loaf tin, form the dough into a sausage the length of the tin, place in the tin and brush with the eggwash. Cover with a clean, damp tea towel or clingfilm and leave to rise somewhere warm until doubled in size (at least 1 hour).
  6. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 5. Brush the Kugelhopf again with eggwash and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling tray or rack. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x
      
 
         

Thursday, 13 November 2014

I finally did it....


Rebonjour mes belles,

Following on from yesterday's post I finally took the plunge and ordered some faux livres wallpaper which I am planning on using on a small wall in the living room of Maison No. 26.

Love the detail and the colours of the wallpaper....



Note we are currently at the rewiring stage which means that there are wires going everywhere.

I am just hoping that I have not missed anything off my plans and I am certain that the electrician is thinking the same.

Wallpapering is a few months off yet but this girl has a right to dream and I am dreaming of the house finished and ready to go.

à plus tard, Leeann x 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Le fumoir de Monsieur...

photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I am back in design mode and this morning I am working on the design on the small living area of Maison No.26.

It is a small area hence I am thinking something cosy with a fabulous comfortable couch along with a bibliotheque filled with books and dvds.

Everything sounds so much nicer in French....bookcase is not a particularly lovely word whereas bibliotheque seems to roll off the tongue and sounds so sophisticated.

I have a plain sheet of paper where the sejour is concerned and as yet I have not sourced an item so I am fairly flexible as to colours etc. There is no natural light in this part of the house so I am thinking that I may have a darkish colour on one of the walls.

Along with the comfortable couch I am looking for a reading type chair, one of those wing back style that is perfect for sinking into with a good book.

It would also make a perfect upholstery project so all I have to do now if find one, easier said that done as I have been looking for a while and yet to find one that I like and is within budget.

On that note I must leave you and continue my search.....

à demain, Leeann






Tuesday, 11 November 2014

lest we forget...




They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.