It is a bit of a strange day for me today as this morning was our last morning in the shop that we have in the nearby village of Castillonnes. We have made a lot of friends in the 6 months that we have had the shop and enjoyed being part of the weekly market as we had a stall outside the shop.
Love the banter between les commerçants du marché and we had slipped into a Tuesday routine, quite a contrast to when we first opened the shop.
We will start emptying the shop tomorrow and we are at present on the lookout for new premises closer to the village in which we live.
The Fabulously French Boutique will continue to open Thursday mornings and is also open by appointment.
As they say one door closes and another opens, so am hoping that the other opens soon.....
This post is a bit later than I would have liked but I have a good excuse for being late. We had a RDV to collect some furniture for the shop and unfortunately it rained this morning which was not the best of conditions for moving furniture.
First up is a set of 6 Sarreguemines Napoleon III plates which are and very decorative. They come from a local château and have been well looked after, with all in immaculate condition. I am selling them individually, they are 20 euros each and would look fabulous displayed on the wall.
Another newbie is this rocaille style candelabra, again very decorative and with only one branch it does not take up a lot of room.
This lantern was one of a pair but unfortunately the other had a panel of glass that was broken so I thought it best to leave it where it was. Collection only as I would hate to post it only to have it arrive broken.
This is a stunning rare vintage French original senior Officers Pompier kepi cap. Pompier is a fireman in France.You will find more détails here.
I am off to start dinner and as usual are running late....
Peel and finely slice onions and garlic. Crumble the cheese; chop the anchovies. Heat 60ml (4tbsp) oil; add onions, garlic and rosemary. Lay greaseproof paper over the onions; cover pan with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer over a low heat for 45min, stirring occasionally, adding water if onions look dry. Drain onions, reserving the liquid.
For the dough, stir together flour and yeast; make a well. Add reserved onion liquid made up to 300ml (½ pint) with warm water, remaining oil and salt, stirring until a soft dough is formed. Knead for 10min (4-5min in a mixer). Shape into a ball; place in a oiled bowl. Leave for 45min until doubled in size.
Mix the crumbled cheese and chopped anchovies into the cooked onion mixture.
Roll dough out to a 30.5cm (12in) round. Lift on to a lightly floured baking sheet. Spread onion mixture over, leaving a 6.5cm (2½in) border. Lightly brush border with water. Bring up sides to cover the filling; seal well. Place another non-stick baking sheet on top of parcel and invert it, so the seal is underneath. Press down lightly.
Make deep, diagonal slashes across the top, 1cm (½in) apart; prove for 30min or until spongy. Brush lightly with beaten egg. Sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt.
Cook at 220°C (200°C fan) mark 7 for 45min-1hr (if it over-browns, cover with greaseproof paper). Cool for 5min.
PREPARE AHEAD Complete to end of step 5. Refrigerate for up to 4hr. TO SERVE Complete the recipe. COOK'S TIPS If you omit the anchovies, this dish will be suitable for vegetarians.
Today was another hot and sunny one so perfect for planting Bruyère or heather as it is called in English, in my window boxes at Maison No. 20. Love the colour as it goes perfectly with the colour of our shutters...
I hope that you had a fabulous weekend, ours was a lovely sunny and very warm one.
Meteo advises that the heat is going to stay with us all week long and I for one am not complaining as it gives me a chance to leave the windows wide open and let the house respire, before we are obliged to keep the windows closed in order to keep the warmth in. I have added a few new items to the shop including this fabulous clock....
This week's recipe involves croissants and at Maison No. 20 we go through a lot of these, 90 a week in high season....hence this recipe is handy for using left overs.
Merci to the fabulous Nigella Lawson for coming up with this one.
2 stale all-butter croissants, coarsely torn 1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons water 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup milk 2 tablespoons bourbon 2 large eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter a 1-quart shallow baking dish and arrange the croissant pieces in the dish. In a small saucepan, stir the sugar and water over moderately high heat until the sugar dissolves; wash down any crystals on the sides with a wet pastry brush. Cook without stirring until a medium amber caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, milk and bourbon. Cook over low heat just until any hardened caramel dissolves.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs. Gradually whisk in the hot caramel. Pour over the croissants and let stand for 10 minutes, pressing the croissants to keep them submerged.
Bake the pudding in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, until puffed and golden. Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve.
As you know I love a bit of bling and this fabulous pair of vintage candelabras would certainly add a bit of bling to your dining table. The finishing touch perhaps for a festive table. You will find them here.
I do not know what has happened to the weather as it is normally sunny in October but at least this weather is good for the plants and at the same time, gives me an excuse to cosy up inside the house.
I am feeling in an indulgent mood so have put a lovely fur throw on our bed and am thinking about lighting lots of candles, candles and rain....almost as good as lanterns and snow!
The light is not the best for taking photos but I have managed to take a couple of photos of this lovely, very decorative clock that has just arrived and tomorrow I will try and take some photos of the other new arrivals.
Autumn has arrived in SW France and I cannot think of anything nicer than a chocolate soufflé with a chocolate sauce.....if you are going to indulge you may as well do it properly...light as a feather, these chocolatey melt-in-the-mouth soufflés are sure to please
Prep:20 mins Cook:10 minsPlus cooling
For the hot chocolate sauce
142ml pot single cream
25g caster sugar
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), broken into pieces
For the soufflés
melted butter, for greasing
50g caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra
175g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), broken into pieces
2 tbsp double cream
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites
2 tbsp double cream
icing sugar, to serve
Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7 and place a baking tray on the top shelf. For the sauce, heat the cream and sugar until boiling. Remove from the heat, stir in the chocolate and butter until melted, then keep warm.
Brush 6 x 150ml ramekins with melted butter, sprinkle with the 2 tbsp caster sugar, then tip out any excess. Melt the chocolate and cream in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, cool, then mix in the egg yolks. Whisk the egg whites until they hold their shape, then add the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, whisking back to the same consistency. Mix a spoonful into the chocolate, then gently fold in the rest.
Working quickly, fill the ramekins, wipe the rims clean and run your thumb around the edges. Turn oven down to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6, place the ramekins onto the baking tray, then bake for 8-10 mins until risen with a slight wobble. Don’t open the oven door too early as this may make them collapse.
Once the soufflés are ready, dust with icing sugar, scoop a small hole from their tops, then pour in some of the hot chocolate sauce. Replace the lids and serve straight away.
Fabulous news, the Tour de France is returning to our area, please see below for détails......
Tour de France in the Dordogne
NEXT year’s Tour de France is returning to the south-west after missing it from the 100th race – with riders heading from the Pyrenees to Bergerac on July 25 and then a time trial to Périgueux the next day.
Newspaper Sud Ouest says the Dordogne will host the two final stages of the 101th before the peloton heads to Paris for the final day and the finish on the Champs-Elysées .
Périgueux and Bergerac have spent tens of thousands of euros to get the Tour de France to visit the Dordogne – but the potential returns for tourism are immense with the race being televised worldwide.
The 101st race starts in Yorkshire on July 5 with a 190km stage from Leeds to Harrogate followed by a 200km stage from York to Sheffield. The third stage is 170km from Cambridge to London on July 7.
Details of the rest of the Tour route are being kept secret until the launch on October 23 in Paris, with only leaks from sources in towns involved giving some information.
The Tour has not been in the Dordogne since 1994, when Miguel Indurain won the time-trial, which that year was from Périgueux to Bergerac.
Sir Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour winner and Olympic champion, has backed 2013 winner Chris Froome to lead their Team Sky in the 2014 Tour. Wiggins told the Daily Mail: “I think he has earned the right to lead the team again next year and do it all again.”
- See more at: http://www.connexionfrance.com/Tour-France-Bergerac-Perigueux-Dordogne-Yorkshire-Wiggins-Froome-15054-view-article.html#sthash.hAKS49jL.dpuf
The film that we watched last night was fabulous and what made it extra special was the fact that it was inspired on a real life story of a woman that lived in the Périgord area, which is where we live and worked as the private cook of ex-French President Francois Mitterand. .
A bit about this fabulous film....
Hortense Laborie (Catherine Frot), a renowned chef from the Périgord, is astonished when the President of the Republic appoints her his personal cook, responsible for creating all his meals at Elysee Palace.
She cooks from her private kitchen but she has to face opposition and jealousy from the staff of the main kitchen that provides all her meat, vegetables and raw materials as well as other amenities such as a larger freezer.
But thanks to her fighting spirit, she charms the President and eventually gets to source her materials outside on her own.
This is French comedy as its charming best. An underdog who makes good, set in the French culture of haute cuisine. The food on display is deliciously looking enough to make anyone’s mouth water.
I loved all the suppléments which showed the preparation of the fabulous food for the film and behind the scènes in the Elysee Palace which was stunning, so many fabulous and large chandeliers...
A fabulous and very French film, this gets a "must see" from me.
It is turning out to be one of those days where it is hot and sunny one minute and then all of a sudden the sky darkens and along with it the temperature cools.....I said to French Boyfriend let's go for a walk, was only out for 15 minutes before the sky turned a menacing black colour.
I managed to get this photo in the nick of time as I wanted a photo with the grapes and reddish colour leaves and had to be quick as the vendange is taking place this weekend.
750ml bottle full-bodied red wine (needn't be expensive, just gutsy)
4 large chicken legs, halved (or 8 thighs), preferably free range
3 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
25g unsalted butter
2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
25g plain flour
1 bouquet garni with 2 bay leaves and 1 large sprig of thyme, optional
zest of 1 orange removed with a vegetable peeler (so it doesn't dissolve completely)
20 very plump prunes, stoned
cornflour, if needed
sugar, to taste
grated zest of half an orange
handful of parsley, roughly chopped
Reduce the wine by half over a high heat – this takes 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool a little then pour it over the chicken in a shallow dish and leave to marinate for 10- 15 minutes. This done, drain the chicken and pat it dry. Keep the marinade for the sauce.
Preheat the oven to 110C/Gas 1⁄4/fan 90C. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole. (If you don’t have one, do this in a large saucepan.) Season the chicken, then fry to colour in the oil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat, add the butter and caramelise for a further 5-10 minutes, until the chicken is a beautiful dark brown colour.
Pour off the fat, add the tomatoes and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes so they start to caramelise and get wonderfully toasty. Spoon in the flour, stirring well to make sure you don’t get any lumps. Now gradually pour in the reduced wine, stirring like mad, then just enough water (about 500ml/18fl oz), to cover the chicken. Drop in the bouquet garni, if using, and orange zest.
Bring the liquid gently to the boil, tip in the prunes and skim the top (if you’ve used a saucepan, tip into a casserole now). Braise in the oven, with the lid slightly ajar, for 2 hours. Make absolutely sure the liquid never boils. Check to see if the chicken is tender enough to eat with a spoon – it should be falling apart – then take out of the oven.
Lift out the chicken and prunes into a serving dish and keep warm. Reduce the sauce until it is rich in colour and strong in taste, with the thickness of a gravy. If necessary, when it has the strong taste you want but is not thick enough, thicken with a little cornflour dissolved in water. Season with salt, sugar and black pepper, then strain it back over the chicken and prunes. Serve sprinkled with the orange zest and parsley.
I am not complaining as it gives me a chance to concentrate on my ever growing list of indoor type tasks......such as photograph a couple of new arrivals and start thinking about a Halloween style display for my wee boutique.
The first of todays arrivals is a vintage French double inkwell, a very decorative piece that would look great displayed on either a modern or an antique style desk.
The other new arrival is this huge Antique late 1800's French Lourdes hand carved pilgrims rosary.
It is a large Priests style rosary traditionally worn on the journey home around the waist or girdle by pilgrims and hung on the walls or doors of the practising home.
A simple cross with a brass Christ and the scored engravings in french: Mère de Jesus N.D de Lourdes je Vous Consacre. Ma Famille. On the back of the cross there are some simple scored engravings of the tools of the crucifixion and in French "servire domino Christo".
There is a hand carved heart carrying the inscription "COEUR IMMACULEE DE MARIE PRIEZ POUR NOUS" and on the other "Souvenir de ND LOURDES". It measures approx 1.3 meters circumference / 55 inches long.
I hope that you are having or had, a fabulous day.
Ours was spent sorting through boxes in a garage that we need to clear and it took a lot longer than I thought that it would.
Hence this post is a lot later than I would have liked but I wanted to share this photo with you. It is a photo of an old advertising panel painted on a wall of a building in our village which has been preserved and I think, looks fabulous. So much nicer than looking at a plain wall and at the same time reminds of what this buildings purpose used to be. In a previous life it was a place where conserves were made, a bit different to it's use today.....fabulous loft style apartments....if only the walls could talk, they would surely have a tale or two, to tell.