Friday, 30 January 2015

French Food Friday...Normandy pork casserole with apples, celery and walnuts

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you have had a fabulous week. Last night I made this dish and French Boyfriend really liked it so I thought I would share it with you.

Normandy pork casserole with apples, celery and walnuts

Serves: 4                  

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pork fillet (tenderloin), trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
  • 8 celery sticks, cut across into 5 cm (2 in)lengths, leaves reserved and chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 450 ml (15 fl oz) cider or apple juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 300 g (10½ oz) long-grain rice
  • 900 ml (1½ pints) boiling chicken stock
  • 3 crisp dessert apples, preferably red-skinned
  • 100 g (3½ oz) broken walnuts
  • salt and pepper
Prep: 15min   
Cook: 2hr  Ready in: 2hr15min              
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F, gas mark 3). Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole, add the pork and fry, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until browned on all sides. Add the celery and onion and fry gently for about 10 minutes or until softened.
  2. Pour in the cider or apple juice and add the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, then cover the casserole and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 1/4 hours or until the pork is tender.
  3. About 40 minutes before the pork is ready, put the rice in an ovenproof dish and pour over the boiling stock. Stir well, then cover and put into the oven to cook with the pork.
  4. About 25 minutes before the end of the cooking time, quarter and core the apples but do not peel them. Slice the quarters thickly, then add to the pork and continue cooking.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan over a moderate heat, add the walnuts and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted. When the pork is tender, stir in the walnuts and taste for seasoning. Garnish with the chopped celery leaves and serve hot, with the rice.
 Un très bon vendredi à toutes et tous !!  Leeann x

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

a bit of marsala...

photo from here
I was not sure whether or not I liked this colour but seeing this photo has changed my mind. I think a little bit of marsala goes a long way...
à demain, Leeann x

Monday, 26 January 2015

Monday motto...

This is my motto for the week, what is yours?

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann

Friday, 23 January 2015

French Food Friday...Chicken Chasseur

 recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,
Apologies for the lateness of this post but my computer came down with an illness which resulted in a trip to the Computer Doctor and I am pleased to say that she has made a complete recovery, mille mercis to the lovely Andy at the computer shop on the square in Eymet.
I am not a smoker but now have a good idea of what it feels like when you give up something you are dependant on. It is amazing what I got done this morning as a result of not being able to check emails, news, weather etc.
Today's recipe is a favourite of mine and the first time that I made this was over twenty years ago when I made it for some friends in NZ. Chasseur means hunter in French and although I am not a huge fan of hunting, it is never the less a big part of the French way of life in France and I think that it always be.

Chicken Chasseur

1 tablespoon cooking oil
4 bone-in chicken breasts (about 2 1/4 pounds in all)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons flour
6 tablespoons dry vermouth or dry white wine
2/3 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes, drained
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  1. In a large, deep frying pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cook until browned, turning, about 8 minutes in all. Remove. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pan.
  2. Add the butter to the pan and reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to moderately high. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the vermouth and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, thyme, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices. Reduce the heat; simmer, covered, until the chicken is done, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

work in progress...

Bonjour mes belles,

It is chilly here in SW France but no snow as yet. It is perfect weather for staying indoors and I have started recovering another chair for the house that we are in the process of restoring. 

The fabric is a lovely rich taupe chenille and I purchased 40 metres so my plan is to cover a few chairs for the bedroom and then use the rest for curtains.

I am not a sewer but we are lucky enough to have a fabulous curtain maker in the village so will be contacting her in due course.

This time I remembered to take a before shot so that you can see the difference. The thing that I really love about old furniture is that it is solid unlike a lot of the furniture these days which looks great but is often flimsy and breaks easily.
I painted the chair frame in Annie Sloan country grey which is becoming one of my favourite colours.
I apologise for the quality of these photos as the light is not great this morning but I wanted to show you what I am working on.
à demain, Leeann x

Monday, 19 January 2015

in one word...

photo from here
WOW! What a fabulous photo to start a fresh week....
Leeann x

Friday, 16 January 2015

French Food Friday...Le Crumble

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

Le crumble is a great dessert that the French have adopted courtesy of Angleterre and you will find in on a lot of French restaurant's menus.

This week's recipe was created by the fabulous Raymond Blanc and makes for an easy yet very yummy dessert and goes nicely with a boule of vanilla ice-cream.


For the crumble topping
120g Butter, unsalted, cold, cut in to 2cm pieces
120g Plain flour
60g Caster sugar
60g Demerara sugar
For the pear & ginger compote
20g Water
80g Caster sugar
60g Unsalted butter
600g Pears, ripe, cored, diced 2-3cm
5g Ginger grated


Planning ahead
You can prepare the crumble topping 1 day in advance and the pears can be cooked ready to be baked with the crumble topping.
Making the crumble
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC. In a large bowl, with your fingertips, rub the softened butter into the flour and sugar for about 4 minutes until the mixture forms a light breadcrumb texture (*1). Sprinkle the crumble topping on an oven tray and cook in the pre-heated oven to lightly colour for 15minutes. Remove and reserve (*2).
For the pear & ginger compote
In a large saucepan (26cm) add the water then the sugar so it slowly absorbs and becomes a syrup.  On a medium high heat, cook the syrup to a very pale blond caramel (*3). Add the butter, the apples and cook for 6-8 minutes (*4), stir in the ginger, pour in to a gratin dish (*5) and leave to cool.
Final cooking Serving
Top the cooled fruit with the crumble mix (about 1cm thick) and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Serve with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

...très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x