Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Making cards...

Today I am busy making cards for a marche de noel that we are having a stand at, on Saturday.

If you have a surplus of paper doilies you may want to have a go yourself as they are fun and easy to make.

All that is required is some coloured card, ribbon, glue and a doily or two.

Leeann x

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

just arrived

Two more of the lovely hand made red charm bracelets have arrived.

You will find more details here and here.

We have one silver bracelet remaining along with and one in antique purple tones.

It is back to making Christmas cards I go as we are busy preparing for a Marche de Noel that is taking place on Saturday.

Leeann x

Monday, 28 November 2011

love these...

{photo: Maison 20 kitchen, this morning}

What is not to love about bulbs? One day there is next to nothing and as if by magic, the next day lovely fragant flowers boost into you feel the same as I do?

Bonne semaine a tous...................Leeann x

Saturday, 26 November 2011

fabulous and french....

{fabulous photo from here}

I think that this Parisian dining room definitely meets the criteria....fabulous and most definitely French. I adore it! What is not to adore? Love the chandelier, those louis dining chairs, the fabulous mirror above the chimney......a dream apartment in Paris.
All we need is a bottle of champagne and some macarons!You can see more photos of this stunning apartment here.

Bisous from a chilly SW France, Leeann

Friday, 25 November 2011

French Food Friday....Mulled Wine/Vin Chaud

We have had the warmest two weeks on record in France, hence waking up to 0 degrees this morning has come as quite a shock. As a result, I am thinking cosy which includes feather duvet on bed in place of French summer quilt, baking which warms the kitchen at the same time and warm spicy drinks.

One of my favourites is mulled wine, hope you enjoy it as much as we do.....

Vin Chaud


Heat gently 75 cl of wine + a glass of water add 20 g of spices for mulled wine (1 / 2 box) and 60 g sugar complete the mixture with a few slices of oranges.
Note: Infuse spices at least 10 minutes (the mixture should not boil)
Préparation :
Chauffer doucement 75 cl de vin + un verre d’eau
ajouter 20 g d’épices pour vin chaud (1/2 boîte) ainsi que 60 g de sucre
compléter le mélange par quelques rondelles d’oranges.

Remarque :
Laisser infuser les épices au minimum 10 minutes (Le mélange ne doit pas bouillir)

You can replace the bottle of wine with a good bottle of apple juice, we tasted this recently at a marche de noel and it really is delicious.

Note for those of you that live locally, we have the mulled wine spices available in the shop, which are sourced from a reputable company in Belgium, reknown for their fine foods and spices.

Santé,a tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Give thankful

{photo from here}


Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something,for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary,because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,and they can become your blessings.

~~Author Unknown.~~

Wishing everyone that celebrates thanksgiving, a very Happy Thanksgiving.......Leeann x

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Shop Update...

I was hoping to finish this post earlier in the day but had to go to Bordeaux unexpectedly to look at some items that were advertised for sale.

The result? We have just arrived back at the house with......a pair of fabulous louis style chairs circa 1930, chandelier with crystals and matching wall lights and a fabulous very large venetian mirror which just fitted in the car.

Needless to say we are tired but happy with our new tresors. Speaking of tresors, I have updated the shop with some new items (as shown in the photo above) and have more items to photograph tomorrow.

Signed a "tres fatique mais tres contente" Leeann x

Monday, 21 November 2011

Autumn in the Dordogne...

{photo: 8h30 - dimanche 20 novembre 2011, Eymet}

Early yesterday morning on route to a local vide-grenier, I took this photo. The location is a couple of minutes walk from our house - one of the things that I love about living in our village is that in a few minutes we can be in the countryside.

For me, there is nothing nicer than a walk in the country in Autumn, I love the rustling noise that the leaves make and I adore walking through big piles of leaves.

We managed to find a few tresors which I will share with you tomorrow and after the vide-grenier we stopped for coffee at a fabulous Salon de thé, which is part of a boutique hotel not far from Bergerac.

I am planning to tell you all about it this week and am sure that you will adore it as the owners have furnished to hotel with a mixture of antique and new french objects. Not forgetting that the food is fabulous with all cakes made on site by the owners......

Back to work I go, a demain mes amies.........Leeann x

Saturday, 19 November 2011

bon week-end a tous...

{photo Bordeaux, November 2011}

Just wanted to wish you all a "tres bon week-end".

Leeann x

Friday, 18 November 2011

French Food Friday....Strawberries in Cointreau

I made this recipe last night with the last strawberries of the season.
Unfortunately it will be a while before we are eating French strawberries again.

Preparation Time
5 minutes

Ingredients (serves 2)
250g (1 punnet) strawberries, washed, hulled, halved
2 tbs Cointreau liqueur
60g good-quality dark chocolate
3 tbs double thick cream

Place the strawberries and Cointreau in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Cover and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours to macerate.

Run a vegetable peeler to peel along the long edge of the block of chocolate to make chocolate curls. Set aside until serving.

To serve, spoon the strawberry mixture into serving bowls. Top with cream and chocolate curls.

Bon appetit a tous.......Leeann x

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

love this room...

{photo from here}

Lots and lots of gorgeous colours, I adore this room.

Leeann x

Monday, 14 November 2011

Arrived this morning...

These gorgeous pair of reproduction wooden Santos dolls with articulated arms and legs, arrived this morning.

They come complete with stand and would make for a lovely Christmas gift.

The dolls are well made and look fabulous displayed on a desk or dressing table.

They really are gorgeous...

They are available separately, but I adore them as a pair....

Each stands 13"/33cms and the stands measure 4"/10cms square.

Price: 50 euros each + postage

You will find more details on the fabulously french online shop which you can access by clicking here.

Back to photographing the antique sheets I go.....

Leeann x

Cannot see the wood for the trees...

{photo from the very fabulous Rodney Smith}

Monday morning......and I feel like I cannot see the wood for the trees.The weekend passed tres vite as normal but it was an interesting one if you call finding an antique chandelier with lots and lots of crystals interesting, along with a haul of fabulous monogrammed sheets.

Hence I am not sure where I should start first....maybe photographing the sheets.

Wishing you all a fabulous week/ Je vous souhaite une semaine tres fabuleux.....Leeann x

Friday, 11 November 2011

French Food Friday....Hermé’s Chocolate Macarons

This recipe is translated from Hermé’s magnificent book Macaron, published by Agnès Viénot Editions.

The recipe makes about 72 macarons
For the macaron shells
10½ oz/300g icing sugar
10½ oz/300g ground almonds
4oz/120g 100% cocoa solids chocolate
8oz/220g egg whites at room temperature (about 6-7 egg whites)
1 tsp (4.5g to be precise) carmine red food colouring (or cochineal)
5 tbsp mineral water
10½ oz/300g granulated sugar
Cocoa powder for dusting
For the bitter chocolate ganache
5oz/140g butter at room temperature
12½ oz/360g best-quality plain chocolate, chopped
14oz/400g whipping cream
1½ oz/40g 100% cocoa solids chocolate

To make the shells....Line 2-3 baking sheets with baking parchment. Mark the parchment with circles 1½in/3.8mm wide (I drew around a piping nozzle of the correct diameter), spacing them ¾in/2cm apart. Turn the paper over (the circles should show through).
Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds (you’ll need a fairly wide mesh sieve for this) into a large bowl.
Chop the 100% cocoa solids chocolate and put it in a bowl over a pan of just-simmering water, leaving it to melt and reach a temperature of 122F/50C.
Divide the egg whites into two equal portions.
Mix the food colouring into one portion and add to the bowl with the icing sugar and almonds (no need to mix it).
Put the mineral water in a small pan and add the granulated sugar. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, then boil the syrup using a thermometer to track its temperature.
Meanwhile, put the other half of the egg whites in a bowl and plug in the electric beaters. When the syrup reaches 240F/115C, begin to beat the second quantity of egg whites to soft peaks.
Once the syrup reaches 244F/118C, pour it slowly on to the whites, beating all the time. Keep beating until the mixture returns to a soft peak consistency and has cooled to 122F/50C. (This egg white-syrup mousse is what chefs call an Italian meringue.)
Add the beaten egg whites to the bowl with the icing sugar and almonds.
Mix, then add the melted chocolate. Once it is incorporated, beat the mixture hard with a wooden spoon for a minute or so, without trying to incorporate more air.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a ³/8in/10mm plain tip. (Depending on the size of your piping bag, you’ll probably need to do this in three or four batches.)
Pipe the mixture onto baking sheets lined with the parchment paper marked with circles. Using a sifter, sprinkle lightly with powdered cocoa (you’re aiming for a few freckles, not an even dusting).
Tap the baking sheets on a work surface covered with kitchen towel.
Let the shells stand for half an hour, until a skin forms on the surface. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
Slide the baking sheets into the preheated oven. Bake for 12 minutes, quickly opening and shutting the oven door twice during the cooking time to let the steam escape.
Take the baking sheets out of the oven. Slide the sheets of parchment paper with shells onto a work surface and leave to cool.

To make the ganache....Cut the butter into pieces.
Put the chocolate into a bowl. Boil the cream and pour about a third at a time onto the chopped chocolate, mixing each time. The mixture will separate and look grainy, but keep mixing and it will come together.
Allow the chocolate mixture to cool to 122F/50C.
Add the chopped butter and beat until smooth.
Pour into a wide dish. Press clingfilm onto the surface of the ganache and refrigerate until thick enough to pipe.
To assemble the macarons
Spoon the ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a ³/?in/10mm plain tip. Pipe a generous mound onto a shell, then top with another shell, twisting lightly so that the filling spreads and bulges enticingly.
Store covered in the fridge for at least 24 hours to allow the inside of the macaron shells to soften.
Bring back to room temperature before eating.

Bon appetit a tous.....Leeann x

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

money may not grow....

{photo - Bordeaux, November 2011}

.....on trees but it looks like fabulous yummy macarons do! When I saw this window display it was coup de foudre/love at first sight.

It is one of the most unusual not too mention very creative, that I have come across.

Speaking of macarons, we have just receive another delivery of the Mathilde M perfumed variety, should you be looking for a gift of the non-fattening but fabulously smelling kind.

You will find more details here. I am now off to prepare dinner..where did I book the Skinny French cookbook? There is even a recipe in in for macarons which cannot be all bad.

Amicalement, Leeann x

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

a touch of green...

{photo - Bordeaux November 2011}

Love, love conifers in this lovely shade of green. So fabulous and fresh looking, especially when it is grey outside.

Leeann x

Monday, 7 November 2011

saw this in Bordeaux...

Bonjour from a foggy SW France, I hope that you had a great weekend.

As you know we spent Friday in Bordeaux, where we picked up some stock for the shop.

We had enough time to wander around the streets a little and I could not resist snapping this photo of Jane Birken and Serge Gainsbourg, that appeared in the front window of a local gallery.

Don't you just love the expression on both their faces...c'est vraiment amour.

Bonne semaine a tous........Leeann

Saturday, 5 November 2011

for the weekend...

{ Photo Bordeaux - vendredi 4 novembre 2011}

I thought that you may like something sweet for the weekend...

Bon week-end a tous, Leeann x

Friday, 4 November 2011

French Food Friday...Pain d’épices

Pain d’Epices

Pain d’épices is my favourite afternoon snack when I feel the need for a slightly sweet treat.

Makes one 9-inch (23cm) loaf


2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered almonds
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg, at room temperature
100 mls milk
1 cup (340g) honey
1 tablespoon finely-grated orange zest

1. Preheat the oven to 350º (180ºC). Butter a 9-inch (23cm) loaf pan, dust it with flour, then tap out any excess.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, the ground spices and salt in a bowl.
3. Warm the milk and honey in a small saucepan.

4. Add the egg to the milk and honey mixture, then add the dry ingredients in three additions, scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure everything gets mixed in evenly.

5. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The top will bake to a somewhat dark color, which is normal.

6. Cool 10 minutes, then tip the cake out of the loaf pan. Let cool completely before slicing.

Storage: Pain d’épices can be wrapped in plastic and stored for at least a week, during which time the flavors will meld and it’ll get denser. It can also be frozen for a few months.

Bon appetit.......Leeann x

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Bollywood Christmas Decorations...

I thought that I would share a photo of the Bollywood Christmas decorations, which we are stocking for the first time this year.

They are hand made in India by family run businesses.
Two of the businesses are based in Kashmir and supply the painted products.
One of the Kashmir based businesses has been running since the end of the 19th century, the other since 1965. Both specialise in producing paper mache painted products. The businesses employ artists who create the designs and then local artisans (mainly Muslim men) come and choose the designs and the number of pieces they want to paint, either going home to paint them or staying in the business' premises. One ball may involve 3 or 4 artisans, one doing the base colour for example, one painting birds if that is his specialilty, and one adding the final touches. Many artisans come from a long family tradition of painting paper mache and the skills are passed down from father to son.

The sequined decorations are made by a Delhi based family business which has been passed down three generations. The beaded embroidery product is sewn by mainly Muslim ladies in Rajasthan in their own homes, and they are paid accordingly to the complexity of the design and therefore their required skill level. Many of these ladies would not be permitted to work outside their own homes so this work gives them an opportunity to earn some money towards the family's income by a group of families in the North of India.

Oh so pretty and a gift with a conscience....
Leeann x

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Boutique de Noel..Now Open

Just a quick note to let you know that the Fabulously French "Boutique de Noel" is now open.

In the Boutique de Noel you will find lots of lovely Christmas Stockings, Mulled Wine Spices, lovely fragant Christmas candles, items for decorating your Christmas table.

New for Christmas 2011 - we are a stockist of the lovely and oh so different hand made Bollywood Christmas decorations, which you can also see at the very fabulous Christmas Fair in Bath, SW England later in the month.

Leeann x

Gluten Free Raspberry & Lemon Muffins

Bonjour from a sunny SW France, After a week of rain, we finally have lots of lovely sunshine forecast for the next 10 days or so. P...