Saturday, 31 December 2011

Bonne année...


{photo from here}


Wishing you all a "Bonne année 2012", I hope that it is a year filled with love and happiness.


Amicalement, Leeann x

Friday, 30 December 2011

French Food Friday...Kir Royale Cocktail


My favourite champagne cocktail..... Kir Royale not only is it deliciously sophisticated, it is also simple to prepare. Cassis is the main flavour in these classic French cocktail recipes.

The drink known as Kir is produced when white wine and crème de cassis – a luscious French fruit liqueur made from blackcurrant berries. Create a Kir Royal, or Royale, by substituting Champagne for white wine creates. Both cocktails have a pleasant level of sweetness and a lovely hue.

History of Kir Cocktail Recipe
This concoction of white wine and cassis was known as blanc-cassis before Dijon mayor Felix Kir (1876-1968) gave his name to the well-liked drink. Kir was a fan of blanc-cassis and not afraid to show it. He often appeared in public holding his favourite French cocktail.

As Dijon is in the Burgundy region of France, and Burgundy produces both the white wine and the cassis that must be used to make the drink authentic, Kir’s habit could be seen as patriotic. His association thus established, Kir legally allowed French producers to use his name to promote their product.


Ingredients:
3.5 oz. Champagne
1/2 oz. crème de cassis
Twist of lemon (optional)


Add crème de cassis to Champagne flute. Top with well-chilled Champagne.

Garnish with a lemon twist if you want to.



Makes one Kir Royale.




Sante a tous et a demain mes amies, Leeann x

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Fancy French chickens....




Bonjour from a chilly but sunny SW France.

I spent Christmas day with the beautiful creatures that you see above and in the photos that appear below. They belong to French Boyfriend's frere and "belle soeur". Note "belle soeur" is an expression used for sisiter in law and translates literally to beautiful sister.

When I first came to France and heard this expression I thought that it was sweet that everyone caled their sister beautiful and their brother handsome "beau".

Lunch was an amazing affair that started arround midday and finished at 7pm, what a fabulous feast that it was. Champagne started the afternoon off nicely followed by platters laden with french oysters and foie gras. The "piece de resistance" was the "Chapon" which also arrived on an even larger platter.


It is a male chicken which has had its private parts removed and as a result grows larger than normal. Enough said.....

It was delicious and came served with a type of farci.

The meal was finished with two buche de Noels - one ozzing with chocolate and one made with marrons which really was delicious.

After lunch I visited these beautiful creatures......



They were enjoying their luch in the winter sunshine. They are adorable and very fluffy to touch, not at all like a normal chicken.





They were lots of fabulous chickens many of which were exotic, but my favourite photo is this one. he looks so handsome with the sun shining on his beautiful plumes.


I hope that you all had a very Happy Christmas, ours was a fabulous one, merci beaucoup to Thierry and Cathy for a fabulous day.



Amicalement, Leeann x

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Amost too good to eat...


{photo from here}

This "bûche Un Noël à la campagne", is courtesy of Pierre Hermé. The series is limited to 200 cakes only and it will feed 10/12 people depending on how hungry you are and it cost 90 euros.

I adore it but think that it would be a shame to cut it......


Joyeuses fetes a tous........Leeann x

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Joyeux Noel.....



Dear Fabulously French readers,

Wishing you a very "jOYEUX nOEL". Merci beaucoup for all your comments and continued reading over the past 12 months.


I am also hugely thankful to all the creative, generous bloggers who continually inspire me with amazing ideas, I would be lost without you.


Amicalement, Leeann x

Friday, 23 December 2011

French Food Friday...Saint-jacques à l'huile d'olive vanillée


{photo and recipe from here}




Saint-jacques à l'huile d'olive vanillée



Note the recipe appears firstly in French and the English version is below the French version.


Ingrédients


Coquilles Saint-Jacques
200 g de celeri-rave

60 g de oeufs de lump
3 gousses de vanille
10 cl de crème fleurette
1 noix de beurre
10 cl d’huile d’olive
1 grain de café
fleur de sel, poivre



Recette
Fendre en deux les gousses de vanille et les gratter. Mettre les graines et les fibres dans une petite casserole. Ajouter l’huile d’olive et le grain de café (le grain sert d’exhausteur de goûtpour la vanille). Faire chauffer sans bouillir. Laisser refroidir et recommencer trois fois. Laisser au frais une journée dans un bol filmé.
Chauffer dans une poêle 1 cuillerée à soupe d’huile d’olive, y mettre les saint-jacques salées (mais pas poivrées, car le poivre altère leurs qualités). Les colorer sur la première face, ajouter quelques noisettes de beurre pour bien les faire colorer. Retourner pour colorer l’autre face.
Tailler le céleri en petits dés, les blanchir 20 secondes à l’eau bouillante salée. Bien refroidir et égoutter. Monter la crème fleurette en chantilly.
Mélanger avec le céleri et les perles de hareng. Servir en arrosant les saint-jacques d’huile vanillée.






Ingredients

Scallops
200 g celeriac
60 g herring eggs
3 pieces of vanilla pod
10o ml whipping cream
1 knob of butter
100 ml of olive oil
A coffee bean
sea ​​salt and pepper


Recipe
Split the vanilla beans into two and scrape. Put the seeds and fibres in a small saucepan.

Add olive oil and coffee bean (the seed is used as flavour enhancer for the vanilla).

Heat without boiling. Let cool and repeat three times. Let cool in a bowl.

Heat in a frying 1 tablespoon olive oil, put the scallops salty (but not peppery, because pepper alters their qualities). The color on the first side, add a few knobs of butter until well brown. Back to color the other side.

Cut the celery into small dice, blanch 20 seconds in boiling salted water. Cool and drain well. Whip the cream with whipped cream.Mix with celery and herring eggs.

Serve by sprinkling the scallops with vanilla oil.


Bon appetit et a demain mes belles, Leeann x

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Bien sur, c'est Ladurée!


All I want for Christmas......is one of these fabulous cakes from Ladurée.


Three balls made ​​of a soft sponge with dark chocolate, a creamy pear and chestnut mousse.


Et ça, c’est vraiment Noël !


Hope that you are enjoying the time you have left, before the big day arrives.....Leeann x

Monday, 19 December 2011

Fabulous window display cont.....


As promised here are the photos that we took of the window display in a "Blanchisserie" in Bergerac, behind the cathedral. A blanchisserie is a place where you take your washing and they wash and iron it for you.


The first photo is a photo of the whole window...there are even cupcakes that move up and down.


Love the attention to detail and imagine that this took a lot of time to set up.




So many gorgeous characters, all of which make Christmas complete.




Unfortunately Barbie is headless in this shot, but you can catch a glimpse in the earlier photo.




This one is my favourite and I think that when the doors close, they all come alive - think of the mischief that they must get up to.....




And with less than a week to go, I think that these three gentlemen who are in the window of the neighbouring hairdresser, are busy preparing....


Je vous souhaite une semaine fabuleuse...........Leeann x

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A bit of fun..Chanel Video



A bit of fun from Chanel......click on the photo.



A demain mes amies, Leeann x

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Christmas window display sneak peak



Hope that you are having a great weekend and enjoying your last minute Christmas preparations as it is not long to go now.

I took this photo in Bergerac and it is part of a Christmas window display, I plan to show you the rest of the display tomorrow.

Amicalement from a colder and getting colder by the day, SW France


Leeann x


p.s for those of you that live locally we will be open all day tomorrow as it is the marche de noel in Eymet.

Friday, 16 December 2011

French Food Friday....Gingerbread?!




These are technically not French but I am including this recipe as I make them in France and give them to French friends as gifts at Christmas time. For me there is nothing nicer than the smell of freshly baked gingerbread wafting through the house.



Ingredients:
3 cups (390 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar

1 large egg
2/3 cup (160 ml) unsulphured molasses/Dark Treacle (To prevent molasses from sticking to the measuring cup, first spray the cup with a non stick vegetable spray.)




Icing:
2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
extract
1 1/2 tablespoons milk or light cream




Method:


1. In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.
2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 3. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated.
4. Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least two hours or even overnight).
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.


6. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.


8. Use a gingerbread cutter to cut out the cookies. With an offset spatula lift the cookies onto the baking sheet, placing about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. If you are hanging the cookies or using as gift tags, make a hole at the top of the cookies with a straw or end of a wooden skewer. (If cookies are a little soft, place the baking sheet (with the cookies) in the fridge for about 10 minutes. This will prevent the cookies from losing their shape.)
9. Bake for about 8 - 12 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. They are done when they are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown.


10. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, you can press raisins, currants, or candies into the dough for eyes and buttons while the cookies are still warm. Otherwise, confectioners frosting can be used to decorate the cookies. Store in an airtight container.




Icing.....



In an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar.


Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beater. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk if needed. Tint frosting with food color, if desired. Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and decorate the gingerbread men as desired.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies depending on the size of cookie cutter used.


Bon fin de semaine a tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Christmas love is...




...being in the kitchen

with

red velvet reindeers,

pretty fairy lights,

carols playing,

red candles flickering on the dining table,

mulled wine simmering on the stove,

gingerbread biscuits cooking in the oven,

and FBF waiting patiently for biscuits to cook.......

all reasons why I adore Christmas!


Leeann x


p.s. I will be sharing the recipe on Friday.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Good Food and Shopping for Antiques...


{photo from here}


We spent Sunday in Bordeaux as it was the last day of the Antiques fair and also the marche aux puces/flea market.


On of my favourite places to find treasure is the Passage du St Michel which is home to a range of different antique dealers.


On the ground floor is a fabulous restaurant where both the food and the decor are "vraiment super".




{photo from Le Passage St Michel Brasserie Website}


We ordered the plat du jour which was 1/2 a roast chicken with mashed potato and it was the best that I have eaten.


So if you are ever in Bordeaux and you want to hunt for treasure and afterwards eat at a restaurant amongst the treasures, you know where to go but do not tell anyone that I told you....



A demain mes amies, Leeann x

Monday, 12 December 2011

Christmas market photo...



I just wanted to say mille mercis to everybody that stopped by my stand at the Christmas market on Saturday, it was great to see you all.

A reminder of our opening hours this week, Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning 10-13h and on Sunday 10-17h as it is the Marche de Noel in Eymet.

Hope that you are all enjoying the festive season even though it is abnormally warm for December. Note Meto had advised that they may send snow next week, I hope so....


Leeann x

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Christmas Concert...


A big merci beaucoup to Julie and Joel for organising a great marche de noel complete with Christmas Workshop and carol concert for the children.

It was a lot of fun and I think that the photo speaks for itself. I think that we almost enjoyed it as much as the children did, it makes me wish I was a child again.


Bon week-end a tous......Leeann x

Friday, 9 December 2011

French Food Friday......Thirteen desserts

Thirteen Desserts......

Les treize desserts de Noel is a Christmas time must for every home in Provence. Be creative and lay these thirteen ingredients out in an appetizing spread for your guests to pick at after your meal.

Ingredients
• Raisins
• Dried figs
• Almonds
• Hazelnuts
• Dates
• Apples
• Pears
• Oranges
• Dark nougat
• Light nougat
• Marzipan
• Brioche
• Fortified wine

Lay these thirteen desserts out on a table from Christmas Eve to December 27, in the Provencal tradition.

The thirteen treats stand in for Christ and his 12 apostles. The first four on the list represent the mendicant monastic orders: Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, and Augustines, respectively.

The dates represent the safe journey from the east. The two types of nougat, which you can substitute white and dark fudge for, represent good and evil. The fortified wine represents Christ himself. According to Provencal tradition, you must sample each of the thirteen desserts if you hope to experience good luck in the coming year.



Bonne fin de semaine a tous.....Leeann x

Thursday, 8 December 2011

New life for old cake tins...


{Photo Jeanne d'Arc Living}


I do not know about you, but I have a lot of old cake tins that are a little on the well used side but I do not want to throw them away.


Love this idea of using old cake tins as decorations.....merci beaucoup Jeanne d'Arc Living for the inspiration.


A demain mes belles, Leeann x

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

It is beginning to feel...


{maison No. 20 front door}


......a lot like Christmas. The Christmas lights have started appearing in the village and more are going up this morning.


We have started decorating at Maison No. 20 and the house even smells like Christmas. We are using lots of fresh greenery which we cut yesterday afternoon.


This afternoon a delivery of Christmas items that I have ordered from England will be arriving - most of the items are edible and are items that the French adore such as English Christmas cake and lots of mini Christmas pies.
All we need now is snow......... is it feeling like Christmas where you are? Back to preparing for this weeks Marche de Noel I go - I have lots of hearts to fill with lavander.


A tres bientot, Leeann x

Monday, 5 December 2011

Love at first sight...


Bonjour mes belles,


I hope that you had a nice weekend. Ours was another busy one which included having a stand at a local Christmas Market on Saturday and a little treasure hunting yesterday.


When we woke up yesterday it was raining so we thought that it was not worth going to a local vide grenier. Three hours later the rain had stopped so altough it was later than we intended, off we went on our mission.


As normal, we tend to lose each other as FBF stops to chat to the other dealers and I put my head down, passing each that I know with a quick Bonjour only.


As fate would have it yesterday, at the end of a long road standing alone and dirty was a girandole lamp of very large portions. Although the frame is not that old, all of the crystals that adorn her are and as you know I love crystals and find anything with crystal hard to resist.


With FBF no where to be seen nor the vendor, I stood gazing at the object of my desire, unsure what I should do next. I asked the vendor opposite where the missing vendor of the girandole was, but he had no idea and thought that perhaps he had headed off for a coffee.


I did not want to leave my newly found treasure but at the same time wanted to look at the surrounding stands. A few minutes later, as if by magic, I heard a voice stating that the vendor had returned.


I demanded the price, it did not seem unreasonable but at the same time I thought I should at least try and negotiate. I offered a lower price, the vendor said no, so I then upped my offer and to my delight the vendor accepted. I quickly paid and asked if he could mind it for me, I would return later to collect.




I am calling her my winter project as she has quite a few pieces of crystal missing which I need to repose and also hunt for some of the couteau shaped crystals that I do not have any of in stock. It will be a real labour of love as I adore her and she made what started off an ordinary Sunday, a special day indeed!

As far as other treasures are concerned, there was not a lot apart from a pair of wall lights which have crystals and also antique silk so are a little different from the normal wall lights that you see on the market.

I am now off to start cleaning crystals.......


Je vous souhaite une tres bonne semaine, signed a tres contente moi x

Friday, 2 December 2011

French Food Friday...Boules de Neige

This month we will be focusing on recipes for Noel and I am kicking off December with a recipe for snow balls or boules de neige as they are called in French....

Ingredients:
3 eggs
450grams flour
150 grams sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp Oil

For decorating:
500g coconut flakes
Jam - apricot or strawberry - whichever you prefer
1 soup spoon Orange Water/Fleur d'oranger

Preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
2. In a bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar. Add the oil, baking powder and flour and mix until smooth.
3. Form into balls 3cms in diameter and place on a tray lined with baking paper.
4. Place the tray in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes.
5. In a pot heat the jam with the ortange water. Leave the balls to cool a little until just warm then place in the jam mixture, then roll in the coconut.

Note these make for a great gift either displayed as is or in paper/foil cases.


Bon appétit et a tres bon vendredi a tous....Leeann x

Thursday, 1 December 2011

perfect stocking filler...Paris pocket diary

These wee tresors arrived this morning. They are pocket diaries and have a vintage map on the fromt of them and have a black elastic closure. I think that they are the perfect stocking fillers and I have put one aside to put in French Boyfriends wee stocking.Note the "wee" part as he has already had some of his presents in advance as one was too big to hide and the other necessary as he was wondering barefoot in the kitchen which was fine in the summer but not so good when it is only a few degrees in the morning. Hence he now has slippers to match last years Christmas present - nice gray coloured robe.

You can find more details on the diaries here.

And for those of you seraching for quality robes and slippers, I bought FBF's online at M&S, an English store that recently reopened it's doors in Paris and now offers an online store in French.

A demain mes belles, Leeann x