Monday, 31 October 2011

running out of bon bons....


Hope that you are all having a fabulous Halloween, here we are running out of bon bons.......
Wish that I had thought of taking some photos earlier but I was too busy handing out bon bons. Hence when these three scarey monsters arrived, I grabbed my camera - I adore their costumes and don't they look scarey!Note FBF is on the way with an additional supply so let's hope that we have enough to see the night out...



Leeann x

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Happy Halloween


{fab french mannequin dressed for the occasion}


Wishing you all a tres bon week-end and a not too scary halloween!


Leeann x

Friday, 28 October 2011

French food Friday...Honey Lavender Icecream


I first tried this in Provence and loved the combination of the lavender and the honey.

For those of you that have seen the movie it's complicated you will recall that Merryl Streep made it for Steve Martin and it really looked great.


By using honey as opposed to sugar you end up with icecream that is deliciously creamy and the smoothest ice cream you've ever tasted.


Be warned, though - there is a caveat...this ice cream will not freeze as well as homemade ice cream usually does. For those of you who like your ice cream hard freeze the ice cream overnight to make it scoopable, instead of the standard two to three hours after churning



Ingredients:


1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup dried lavender
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream

Method:

1. Bring the milk, cream, honey, and lavender to a gentle boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.

2. Remove from the heat and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain and let cool a bit.

3.In a separate medium bowl, beat the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm milk mixture, whisking as you pour.

4. Pour the warmed eggs back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

5. Strain again into a bowl.Set the bowl over a large bowl of ice water. Stir the custard until cool, then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (3 hours or overnight).

6. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.




Bon appetit....Leeann x

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Inspiring....


{fabulous photo from here}


I am about to start work on a new project which involves redecorating a very old house in the village. It is a fabulous house with lots of features and the plan is to use a melange of modern and antique items.

I have a ciel de Lot/Bed crown like the one in the photo, stashed under the stairs @ maison No. 20 and I am thinking about using it in one of the bedrooms. I also like the idea of using the two single antique headboards and my client has just bought two so may use these as well.


What fun, there is something about a new project that I simply adore, could have something to do with the fact that it will involve hunting for tresors.....


A demain mes amies, Leeann x


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Antique Sheet Project...

Better late than never as they say. Here is a photo of the curtain that I made using an old antique sheet. I folded the part with the monogramme over to form a valance and I am happy with the result.

Here is a close up of the valance....


If you would like to make one and need an antique sheet, I have a few in stock, you will find details here.

So many projects and so little time, I spent the summer buying objects which require work, painting or fixing and the plan is to spend the colder months working on these.


Back to work I go!........Bonne semaine a tous, Leeann x

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Felicitations NZ All Blacks - World Cup Champions



Let's just say that there were a lot of sad faces in our village this morning, including FBF......and one very Happy and Proud Kiwi girl.

Felicitations to the All Blacks and to everyone in New Zealand for putting on such a great show and making everyone so welcome. This has given us all a boost, no matter where we are in the world.


Leeann x

Friday, 21 October 2011

French Food Friday.....Pumpkin Soup baked in a Pumpkin


Photo taken by moi, Brantome SW France, October 2011




It is pumpkin season here in SW France and the village appears to be awash with pumpkins. Not forgetting that there is even a pumpkin festival taking place on Sunday morning in the nearby village of Issigeac.


Not forgetting of course, the game of the century when NZ take on France in the final of the Rugby World Cup, could get messy at our house as obviously FBF will be supporting France and I being a kiwi, will be hoping that NZ are at their best, enough said on this subject!


Back to business......here is this week's recipe, hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


Pumpkin Soup, Baked in a Pumpkin



1 half of a baguette, plain or whole grain; cut into cubes
3 kilo/(7-pound)pumpkin, washed and dried
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
225 grams/ 8-ounce container crème fraîche
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg


½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
340 grams/12 ounces imported Gruyere cheese (try to get the real French stuff); shredded
1 bay leaf

1. Heat your oven to 425 degrees.

2. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven about 8 minutes.


3. Using a sharp, small knife, cut out a 3 or 4 –inch circle from around the pumpkin stem and set it aside. Scrape out the seeds and loose stringy bits using a large metal spoon or your hands.

4.Put the pumpkin in a roasting pan and sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt inside. Arrange a layer of the toasted bread on the bottom of the pumpkin.

5. Stir together the broth and crème fraîche. Add the remaining teaspoon salt, nutmeg and pepper to the mixture and stir again until dissolved.

6. Pour about a third of the broth over the bread, followed by a third of the cheese. Continue layering twice more and top with the bay leaf. Replace the pumpkin top and carefully place in the oven.

7.Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes.

At this point, take the pumpkin out of the oven and gently poke it with a skewer or the point of a knife – there should be very little resistance, but should still hold its shape. If it still feels a bit firm, put it back in the oven and test it at 15-minute intervals until if feels done – try not to over cook so that the pumpkin doesn’t start to slump or cave in. There goes your tureen.

To serve, carefully spoon out some broth, bread and pieces of pumpkin (you have to scrape the sides a bit to break up the flesh). As you get toward the bottom of the pumpkin, some liquid might begin to leak out – keep the pumpkin in the pan or another large bowl just in case.

Top with additional cheese......bon appetit!


Serves 10-12 depending on how hungry you are.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Finally arrived...


After many weeks/months of waiting, we finally have received the Mathilde M Tete de Lits/Head Boards.

They are really stunning and we have both cushions and curtains to match.




They measure 160 cms W x 122 cms H. The tete de lit is 145 euros and the cushions are 21 euros each. Curtains are 50 euros each.


If you have any questions, please email. Note I will be updating the online shop tomorrow.


Leeann x

Monday, 17 October 2011

decorating for halloween...

Happy Monday....where did the weekend go to? Before I knew it, I was waking up to Monday morning. Monday morning is like Sunday in our village as many of the shops close on a Monday and there are not a lot of people in the street. This has taken me a while to get used to after living in large cities but it is something that I have slowly become accustomed to.

The village is gearing up for Halloween and there is going to be a parade through the streets of the village next Friday morning, with small children dressed in their scarily best, which will end at the local chateau which being a ruin is scarey at the best of times.

I have decorated my wee boutique for Halloween and we even have a pumpkin that lights up in the window, I just need to remember to turn it on and a witch dangling from an antique chandelier......


We had finished hanging cobwebs etc when in popped a customer who wanted to buy chandelier so this is my second attempt.... those false cobwebs are a lot harder to remove than real ones as I found out and ended up cutting the chandelier free.

What are your plans for Halloween, are you doing anything special?


Dites-moi.....tres bonne semaine a tous Leeann x

Saturday, 15 October 2011

a little late ......French Food Friday

The following recipe is one of my all-time favourites. The thin, crisp pastry shell is filled with a layer of almond cream made from both finely ground and coarsely chopped nuts that give the tart layers of texture.

I love the way that the apples on top slowly caramelise as the tart bakes.

Ingredients:
1 cup slivered almonds (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon melted butter, for brushing
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon dark rum


Baked Pastry Shell

3 large Golden Delicious apples—peeled, halved, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/4 cup light brown sugar


Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a mini processor, pulse 3/4 cup of the almonds until finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl. Pulse the remaining 1/4 cup of almonds, until coarsely chopped. Transfer to the bowl, add the granulated sugar, flour and salt and toss gently to combine.
2. In another bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the 4 tablespoons of butter until creamy. Add the almond mixture and beat until blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the rum.
3. Spread the almond filling in the Baked Pastry Shell. Arrange the apple slices on top in concentric circles. Brush the apple slices with the melted butter and sprinkle with the brown sugar.
4.Bake the tart for 1 hour, until the filling is set and the apples are browned and tender. Transfer the tart to a rack and let cool slightly. Remove the ring and serve the tart warm or at room temperature.

Note the apple tart can be baked one day ahead. Wrap well and let stand at room temperature.

...........Bon appetit et bon week-end a tous,Leeann x

Thursday, 13 October 2011

tired but very happy...





That is how I felt last night when we returned from spending the day in Bordeaux.

We managed to even fit in a very quick visit to the Salon de Antiquities where we saw many beautiful things and I wish that we could have stayed longer but the main objective was to collect the lovely lady that you see in the photo above.

Many years ago she was used by a costume designer in the Bordeaux theatre.

She is a Stockman mannequin and in fabulous condition apart from a few pin holes on her shoulders which I think only adds to her character and I only wish that she could speak as I am sure that she could tell a story or two.....I adore her.




A demain mes amies, Leeann x

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

pretty present...


That is what I thought when I say this pair of lovelies. What a lovely present they would make.

The ligne sack is perfect for storing your washing in either when at home or whilst travelling and the lingerie sack is ideal for keeping your delicates separate from other items in your suitcase. Both items are made locally but supplies are limited as it depends on the availability of the fabric.




The large laundry/ligne sack is 15 euros...





The lingerie bags are 10 euros each and would make a great stocking filler...



Such pretty fabric and a change from the standard toile de jouy, I particularly like the medallion part with the girl feeding the chickens, perhaps I am a country girl at heart.



That said, I am planning a shopping trip to Bordeaux tomorrow so am off to prepare my shopping list....



A tres bientot, Leeann x




p.s. I also have some more of the lovely toile de jouy aprons back in stock, should anyone be looking for one.

Monday, 10 October 2011

new in...



New in stock are these fabulous 19th century church candelabras and an extra large piece of toile de jouy that dates back to 1785, for details click here.


Très bonne semaine à toutes et tous...... Leeann x

p.s. The pumpkin tart turned out well, stress levels were high as FBF advised that his Aunt makes the best - enough said!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

last weekend's photos part 2..



I hope that you are all having a tres bon week-end. As promised, here is part 2 of the photos that we took whilst spending the weekend in Brantome, a gorgeous village 1 1/2 hour's drive from our house.



So many beautiful buildings......

All the buildings are so beautifully well cared for.....and what is a better way to zip around town than in a brand new fiat which is perfect for traversing the quiant but often tiny streets.




I think I have told you before, this area is famous for its foie gras, hence the sign......


There are lots of lovely shops but fortunately for FBF many are closed on Monday... note to self, come back on a day when they are all open!



Local boulangerie window, there is something timeless about baskets and French bread....


I love the way that vegetables and fruit are presented in France, every item so carefully placed and each is a work of art in itself.....

Hope that you enjoyed the photos, I am now off to continue making yesterdays recipe as I am up to the part when you chill the pumpkin and apple mixture......




bon dimanche a tous, Leeann x

Friday, 7 October 2011

French Food Friday - Tourte au Potiron (French Pumpkin Pie)


{photo taken by moi, last weekend in Brantome}




I will resume part 2 of the photos tomorrow. This week's recipe features pumpkin/potiron as it is pumpkin season here in SW France and when I saw these lovely pumpkins displayed outside a shop in Brantome, I just had to take a photo - aren't they gorgeous?


Hope that you enjoy making this recipe as much as you do eating it...





Tourte au Potiron (French Pumpkin Pie)



You can bake this fabulous French pumpkin pie the same day you plan to eat it, but feel free to make the pumpkin-apple filling the day before and refrigerate it.



The crust turns out best if the filling and puff pastry dough are almost frozen when the pie goes in the oven. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream or creme fraiche.


8 servings

Ingredients:
85 grams (3 ounces) unsalted butter
1.4 kilos/3 pounds pumpkin seeded, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 9- to 10-inch square sheets frozen puff pastry
1 large egg, lightly beaten



Directions:

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the pumpkin or squash and apples and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


2. Reduce the heat to low, add the light brown sugar and the vanilla bean, scraping to incorporate any browned bits of fruit from the bottom of the skillet.


3. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the fruit is very soft but still holding its shape.



4. Set aside to cool, discarding the vanilla bean.


5. When the mixture has completely cooled, add the chopped pecans.


6. Cover and refrigerate or freeze to firm up a bit before using.

7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Have ready a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

8. Roll out each sheet of puff pastry, one at a time, on a lightly floured work surface or on a large sheet of parchment paper, to a square of an even thickness.


9. Using a round 11-inch pan or plate as a guide, cut out a circle of pastry dough from each puff pastry sheet. Discard the scraps or reserve for another use.


10. Freeze for 10 minutes before using.

To assemble: Place 1 of the pastry circles on the lined baking sheet. Spread with the well-chilled pumpkin mixture, leaving a 1-inch margin around the edges. Brush the outside edge of the bottom pastry with the beaten egg. Lay the remaining pastry circle over the filling, tucking the pastry slightly around the edges. Then fold the edges of the bottom pastry up over the top pastry circle, pressing firmly for an even seal. Brush the top pastry with more of the beaten egg.


Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until deep golden brown.


Cool slightly before serving.




Bon appetit.... Leeann x

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Photos taken at the weekend...part 1



As you know, we attended a vide grenier at the weekend, in the very gorgeous village of Brantome.






It is called the Venice of the Dordogne and is about 1 1/2hours drive from Maison No. 20.



The vide grenier was set in a gorgeous park by the river and there was 170 stands. The atmosphere was great as there was a good mix of locals and professional antique dealers.



It was cold in the morning (9 Degrees) but by lunchtime it was 31 degrees hence it was wise to dress in layers.



Unfortunately I did not get time to take photos of the other stands but here are a few that I took of our stand.....




Love the clock in this photo and was pleased in a way that it did not sell... not sure that FBF agrees as it is his clock.




In this photo I am telling French Boyfriend (FBF) that he needs to focus, enough said..


In this photo, you can see many of FBF's tresors, our stand contained a mixture of antique and vintage items which had been relooked, the relooked items were a hit with the younger crowd.




FBF looking relaxed before the rush set in.....



Me and my not so discreet croissant.....well a girl has to eat, hasn't she and what is nicer than a fresh croissant.


More tresors including a lovely trumeau mirror, chandelier and a very shabby chair...




And last of all, an old child's bed containing lots of lovely Mathilde M products.



Please come and visit me tomorrow as I will be showing you some photos of the village that I took yesterday before we left.

Leeann x

Monday, 3 October 2011

yesterday...






Here is a hint of what will be appearing in tomorrow's post. I took it at the antiques fair that we attended yesterday and it contains a few objects that were on our stand.



Will tell you all about it tomorrow when we get home....



A demain, Leeann x