Monday, 21 April 2014

two lessons later...

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you are having a nice Easter break.  This morning I attended my 2nd reupholstery lesson and managed to get the chair finished including the double piping. It has been a very long time since I last touched a sewing machine so I was happy to do the few couple of metres and then let the teacher take over.

This is the chair that I started with.....

and after a couple of coats of Annie Sloan old white chalk paint and a recover in antique linen fabric, this is the finished result....

The chair is one of a pair that I purchased at a local vide grenier and I am planning on covering the 2nd chair in similar fabric.  
Merci to the lovely Deborah who is a fabulous teacher and has the most fabulous atelier here in the village of Eymet.
I had a fabulous time and I am already looking forward to working together on my next project which is more than a simple recover as it needs serious attention.
Future projects include recovering an antique French corbeille bed plus make a matching ciel de lit......what fun! I feel like a child in a candy shop despite having burn my finger on a very hot glue gun this morning.
à très bientot,
Leeann x

Saturday, 19 April 2014

joyeuses paques...

photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,
Je vous souhaite une tres bonne fête de Pâques a tous...
Leeann x

Friday, 18 April 2014

French Food Friday...Chocolate Vanilla Roulade

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

As if you can have too much chocolate, this is perfect to finish off Easter lunch.

Chocolate Vanilla Roulade

unsalted butter for the tin
3 large eggs separated
125g ● 4½ oz icing sugar sifted
50g ● 2oz cocoa sifted

extra icing sugar for dusting
250ml ● 9fl oz double or whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste
50g ● 2oz dark chocolate (about 70 per cent cocoa) melted and cooled to room temperature
Easter-themed decorations optional
● Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Butter a 23cm x 32cm / 9in x 12½ in swiss-roll tin or similar, line the bottom with baking paper and butter this too. Whisk the egg whites until stiff in a large bowl, then sprinkle over half the icing sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking well with each addition until you have a stiff, glossy meringue.
● In another large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar until pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Fold the whites into the yolks a third at a time, then gently fold in the cocoa in two goes. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 10 minutes or until set and springy to the touch. The sponge will sink a little when it comes out of the oven.
● Lay a tea towel over a wire rack and sift over a thin layer of icing sugar. Run a knife around the sponge, turn it out on to the tea towel, peel off the paper and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
● Whisk the cream and vanilla to soft, fluffy peaks, then trickle over the cooled melted chocolate and keep folding the cream over until rippled with chocolate streaks. Spread this over the sponge. Using the tea towel to help, roll up the filled sponge into a roulade starting with a narrow end. Transfer to a plate, seam downwards, loosely cover and chill until required (it will keep well for a couple of days). Dust with icing sugar and decorate the top, if wished.

...bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

a beautiful day....a few photos


It was a beautiful day here in SW France and I thought that I would take a few photos whilst waiting for my hot cross buns to rise.

French Boyfriend has really taken to them like a duck to water so I have had to make more....

Latest batch of hot cross buns, the crosses are not quite as thick.....

I  popped down an alley way and this is what I found.....

lots of beautiful blossom......

wisteria complete with a random poppy growing on the wall....

this is a photo of our friend's house which is a couple of doors down from our house, in the same street as ours....

roses growing by the wall of the old convent across the road from us....

You can just see the top of our friend's house in this photo...

Just around the corner, are these beautiful climbing roses, love the contrast of the roses against the 14 century wall...

Back to making my Easter shopping list I go.....

à demain, Leeann x

Monday, 14 April 2014

Easter is in the air...

photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

Yesterday, I  glanced at the calendar and realised that it was Easter this week and thought that I had better get into Easter mode.

I rummaged around in the cupboards and managed to find all the ingredients that I needed to make these....

It was the first time that French Boyfriend has tried hot cross buns and only the third time that I have made them in my life, so I am happy with the result. I used a plastic freezer bag to pipe the crosses and now realise that I should have cut the corner closer to the edge which would have resulted in thinner crosses.

I used flour and water to make the crosses but I have another recipe that uses pastry for the crosses so plan to try this out later this week.

He was not sure at first but after his second this morning, he likes them as they are less sticky today.....

I now need to plan a menu for Sunday lunch, last year we had lamb but I feel like a change this year.

 Hence I am looking for inspiration, what are you having for Eater lunch this year? Dites-moi.....

Leeann x

Saturday, 12 April 2014

bon week-end....

Coucou mes belles, 

Just stopping by to wish you a fabuleux week-end.
Mille mercis to the lovely Olga for the beautiful lilas...freshly picked from her lovely jardin.
amicalement, Leeann x 

Friday, 11 April 2014

French Food Friday...Strawberry & Champagne Terrine

Bonjour mes belles,

Strawberries have started appearing on the market and since we have quite a few bottle of champagne on hand, in case of emergency, this recipe is one that I plan on making over the weekend.

This lovely terrine is made in a 6-cup loaf pan, but you can vary the look of it by using two or more smaller molds or mini-loaf pans, or by alternating the Champagne and strawberry components in several layers in one pan. Just be sure that each layer is almost completely set before pouring on another. Serve the well-chilled terrine cut in thin slices.

For the champagne layer:
  • 1/4 cup cold water  
  • 1 Tbs. powdered gelatin (about 1-1/2 packets)
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 1-1/2 cups Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
For the strawberry layer:
  • 1 Tbs. powdered gelatin (about 1-1/2 packets)  
  • 2 Tbs. Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 2 pints strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 to 6 Tbs. sugar
For the Champagne layer:
Put the water in a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin on top, and leave to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and cook over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and melt the gelatin (don’t let it boil). In a medium bowl, combine the gelatin mixture and Champagne. Set the bowl over ice and chill, stirring often, until it reaches the consistency of unbeaten egg whites. Carefully stir in the sliced strawberries.
Meanwhile, set a loaf pan in the refrigerator so that it’s tilted at a 45-degree angle. (Use a wedge of cheese, sticks of butter, or something similar to prop up the pan.) Pour the Champagne mixture into the pan. Let sit until just set, about 2 hours.
For the strawberry layer:
In a small saucepan, soften the gelatin in the 2 Tbs. Champagne, about 3 minutes. Set the pan over low heat and heat to dissolve the gelatin. Purée the berries with the lemon juice, add the sugar to taste, and then strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Whisk the softened gelatin into the strawberry purée.
Once the Champagne layer has almost set, set the loaf pan on a level surface (preferably in the refrigerator so that it won’t have to be moved) and carefully pour in the strawberry purée. Refrigerate at least 6 hours but preferably overnight. To unmold the terrine, cover a cutting board with waxed paper, dip the loaf pan quickly into hot water, and invert it onto the board. Slice the terrine into 1/2-inch portions; garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, if you like.
....bon appetite à tous, Leeann