Thursday, 31 January 2013

new business cards...




Bonjour mes belles,

What better way to start a new year than with new business cards. As they say a change is as good as a holiday......mind you a holiday someplace warm is most appealing!

The company that supplied my cards is called moo.com and it is a great site which lots of fabulous templates and not only do they produce business cards, they also produce post cards, mini cards and sticky labels.

The site is fabulous, easy to navigate and has a modern feel to it.





What a particularly liked is the attention to detail from the emails that you receive to the packaging, which includes a slick looking business card holder.


So if you are looking for business cards hat are a wee bit different, this is a great place to buy them from.  

Moo have offices in Europe and the USA. Click here or here to view the site in french.

I am hoping to crack on with the painting today and look forward to showing you the results bientot......


bonne journée à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

painting....




photo from here


Bonjour from a warmer SW France,

What a difference some warmth and sunshine makes in terms of motivation and the ability to get some painting done.

On Sunday we purchased a fabulous bureau, which although smaller than the one that you see in the photo above, it is vintage and the style is along the lines of louis XVI.

It was varnished wood and I was keen to start using a can of Annie Sloans chalk paint in graphite which is a lovely blue black.

The plan is two coats of paint, shabby the edges and then apply a dark wax.

Note I have started the exterior but have not made a decision re the inside of the bureau as I am torn between a grey blue colour....
 



or picking something similar to the colour in the first photo ....decisions, decisions! Back to the painting I must go.

à demain, Leeann x
 

Monday, 28 January 2013

lundi matin...



Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you all had a good weekend. Ours was a wet one but the sun is supposed to be heading our way this week and as I sit writing this we have a melange of showers one minute and sunshine the next.

We have received a lovely collection of vintage rosaries which I have started photographing this morning......so very pretty but at times not the easiest of objects to photograph.

 

Speaking of hard to photograph, we also have a fabulous chandelier covered in lots of lovely crystals which needs to be photographed, so I have a feeling that I am going to be spending most of the day with camera in hand.

And on that note, it is back to work I go.

Wishing you all a fabulous week/Je vous souhaite à tous une semaine fabuleuse....Leeann x 

 

Friday, 25 January 2013

French Food Friday...Croque Madame Muffins





Bonjour mes belles,


Last weekend I happened to turn on the television in time to watch Rachel Khoos cooking programme where she cooks French inspired recipes from her petite flat in the centre of Paris.

I really liked the idea of this recipe as it is  her take on the French classic, a Croque Madame. Most of you are familiar with a Croque Monsieur which is a toasted cheese and ham sandwich, commonly served in most French bistros for lunch or as a light snack.
 For a more decadent treat, the Croque Monsieur is also sometimes coated with a béchamel sauce and baked in the oven until the sauce is golden and bubbling.
Croque Madame, on the other hand, has the addition of an egg.

Rachel Khoo’s version is to make them in a muffin tin, producing gorgeous little snack-sized savoury treats which would be perfect at breakfast, brunch or lunch.


Croque Madame Muffins (Makes 6, adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen)

cheese sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
200ml milk
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
30g Gruyere cheese ( you can use Comte, Emmenthal or Parmesan)
salt and pepper to taste


6 white bread slices, crusts cut off and flattened thinly
3 tablespoons melted butter
75g ham, cut into strips
6 small eggs


To prepare the sauce: Melt butter in a pan, add flour. Beat to form a smooth paste. Take off heat, cool for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, until there is no lumps. Place pan back on medium heat, add mustard and nutmeg, simmer gently for 10 minutes, whisking to prevent burning and clumping. As it thickens, remove from the heat. Add the cheese, stir till it melts. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in some milk. Sieve if there are lumps.


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Brush each flattened bread with melted butter. Press in a 6 hole muffin tin. Press down with a small glass. Divide ham between muffins followed by the egg. If egg is too much, pour away a little of the egg white. Put 2 tablespoons of sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on how runny you like your eggs. Serve immediately.


...bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 24 January 2013

the same taste?!


photo from here

Bonjour from a sunny SW France,

If you are a fabulously french facebook follower you will know that I did a little shopping online at the weekend and I purchased the fabulous duvet cover and pillow cases, that you see in the photo above.

I decided that purchasing the whole set was a wee bit impulsive and instead I would pair it with a antique monogrammed sheet.

I said nothing to French Boyfriend and thought that it would be a nice surprise.

This morning French Boyfriend is flicking through the catalogue and stops at the page with.......this photo and says that he does not like a lot of the new toile de jouy designs (he is an antiques dealer stuck in the 18th century) but he likes the look of this design.

Thought that it was best to come clean and tell him that I did a "little" shopping on the internet and that it was scheduled to arrive this weekend.

Just hope that he is not present when my parcels arrive as I have not told him about the other items.....

  bonne journée à tous, Leeann

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

new arrival..






Bonjour,

I thought that this new arrival was too pretty not to share. 


It is a vintage (1940's/1950's) bouilotte style lamp with marble stand and the lamp shade is made from carton with a parchment patine and a toile de jouy motif with birds, flowers and angels in a lovely dusty rose colour.




A close up of the romantic style lamp shade. So pretty!

You will find details here.

We have also received a chandelier but I have not had time to photograph it but it is safe to say that it brightens a gray day...

amicalement, Leeann x

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

it is chilly here...




photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

It is wet and cold here today which is not very motivating for me as most of  the items on my "to do list" are best done when it is warmer. 

Most tasks involve painting which rerquires warmth. We started painting the walls of our new project a couple of weeks ago and were not impressed when returned a week later to find that the paint had run in places and in others was still damp. 
It was only then that we noticed the words on the tin " do not use in temperatures less  than 5 degrees".

So what is a girl to do when it is rainy outside.......ironing, house work etc or perhaps a wee bit of shopping on the internet? 

You can guess the rest......the ironing and housework have yet to be attended to, but I have bought another fabulous faux fur throw.

Let's just say that the one that I bought is being made good use of and French Boyfriend is complaining that he has cold knees when working at his desk so I thought that a fur throw may come in handy. Also think that it would look fabulous displayed on a louis style chair in the window of our new "project".

....à demain, Leeann x


Monday, 21 January 2013

new in at Fabulously French...





Bonjour mes belles,

I cannot believe that it is already Monday afternoon, for some reason Mondays are always crazy and I seem to rush from one task to the next hence I am just getting around to writing my blog.

I wonder if Marie Antoinette had the same problem, probably as there were always people demanding her attention.......not an easy life and I suspect that she would have been happy with a simple less complicated life.

A lot of our customers including many French ladies, adore her hence we have a new arrival at Fabulously French; a fabulous coin purse featuring a portrait of MA with pearl border and the purse itself is made by a vintage chanel style fabric. 



Note these are a limited edition and once they are sold there will not be any moreas we do not have any more of the fabric. You will find details here.

Back to work I must go.......


Trés bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

 


Saturday, 19 January 2013

bon week-end à tous...




photo from here



Bonjour mes belles,

Today the snow has disappeared and we have rain hence it is warmer than it was yesterday but think that we will be resting "cosy" this weekend. Note although cosy is an English word, the French have adopted it and like to use a lot.

I have not eaten boiled eggs like this for a while and think that they will be perfect for petit-déjeuner tomorrow.

.....bon week-end à tous, Leeann x



Friday, 18 January 2013

French Food Friday...Ultimate crème brûlée

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

It has turned particularly cold this week across France hence the need for something warm and comforting....
 

Ultimate crème brûlée

Ingredients

  • 2 cartons double cream , 1 large (284ml) plus 1 small (142ml)
  • 100ml full-fat milk
  • 1 vanilla pop 
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 50g golden caster sugar , plus extra for the topping 



Serves 4

Preparation and cooking times

Total time Ready in around 1 hour 30 minutes

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4. Sit four 175ml ramekins in a deep roasting tin at least 7.5cm deep (or a large deep cake tin), one that will enable a baking tray to sit well above the ramekins when laid across the top of the tin. Pour the two cartons of cream into a medium pan with the milk. Lay the vanilla pod on a board and slice lengthways through the middle with a sharp knife to split it in two. Use the tip of the knife to scrape out all the tiny seeds into the cream mixture. Drop the vanilla pod in as well, and set aside.
  2. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk for 1 minute with an electric hand whisk until paler in colour and a bit fluffy. Put the pan with the cream on a medium heat and bring almost to the boil. As soon as you see bubbles appear round the edge, take the pan off the heat.
  3. Pour the hot cream into the beaten egg yolks, stirring with a wire whisk as you do so, and scraping out the seeds from the pan. Set a fine sieve over a large wide jug or bowl and pour the hot ixture through to strain it, encouraging any stray vanilla seeds through at the end. Using a big spoon, scoop off all the pale foam that is sitting on the top of the liquid (this will be several spoonfuls) and discard. Give the mixture a stir.
  4. Pour in enough hot water (from the tap is fine) into the roasting tin to come about 1.5cm up the sides of the ramekins. Pour the hot cream into the ramekins so you fill them up right to the top - it's easier to spoon in the last little bit. Put them in the oven and lay a baking sheet over the top of the tin so it sits well above the ramekins and completely covers them, but not the whole tin, leaving a small gap at one side to allow air to circulate. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the mixture is softly set. To check, gently sway the roasting tin and if the crème brûlées are ready, they will wobble a bit like a jelly in the middle. Don't let them get too firm.
  5. Lift the ramekins out of the roasting tin with oven gloves and set them on a wire rack to cool for a couple of minutes only, then put in the fridge to cool completely. This can be done overnight without affecting the texture.
  6. When ready to serve, wipe round the top edge of the dishes, sprinkle 1½ tsp of caster sugar over each ramekin and spread it out with the back of a spoon to completely cover (Anne Willan's tip for an even layer). Spray with a little water using a fine spray (the sort you buy in a craft shop) to just dampen the sugar - then use a blow torch to caramelise it. Hold the flame just above the sugar and keep moving it round and round until caramelised. Serve when the brûlée is firm, or within an hour or two.
 .....bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Fabulous idea...


photo from here

Bonjour from a freezing SW France,

It is freezing here today and tomorrow is going to be much of the same but it should start warming up over the weekend.

I just had to share this photo with you......as you know I love the faux livres type of wallpaper and think that this is a fabulous idea for a blank wall. One for my ideas file which is growing by the day...

à demain, Leeann x
 
 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

stolen kiss...



"Un baiser légal ne vaut jamais un baiser volé." 
 " A legal kiss is never as good as a stolen one "
********
Guy de Maupassant

Monday, 14 January 2013

a bright start....




photo from here


Bonjour mes belles,

It is a brand new week and I thought that we would kick it off with a bright start.

Love this photo with the fabulous butterflies and the coloured paper umbrellas and the chair is fabulous. 

I am now off to run some errands in the sunshine.....

trés bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x


Friday, 11 January 2013

French Food Friday... Gratin Dauphinoise with Smoked Salmon






photo and recipe from here

This particular recipe proved most handy last night when all we had in the house was potatoes, smoked salmon and of course cream which French Boyfriend adores and uses when he thinks I am not looking....




Serves: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes


You will need
1 clove of garlic, peeled
Butter, for greasing
4 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
250g smoked salmon
2 fresh bay leaves
600ml double cream
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ gas mark 4. If using an Aga, use the bottom shelf of the roasting oven.
2. This dish is more elegant if you slice the potatoes very thinly with a mandoline, or you can use the slicing attachment on a food processor.
3. Rub a baking dish or tin with the garlic clove, and then discard the clove. Grease with butter. Arrange a layer of potato slices in the bottom of the dish, so that they resemble fish scales.
4. Salt the layer lightly. Then add a layer of smoked salmon. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes and salmon, salting lightly as you go. You shouldn’t have more than three layers altogether, as you need room at the top for the cream, so don’t overfill the dish. Just three layers also keeps the dish from being too stodgy.
5. Place the bay leaves on the top layer and season. Pour over the double cream; this should cover the potatoes and bay leaves generously.
6. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes, which will brown the top. If you stick a skewer in the potatoes, they should be soft and yielding.

...bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 10 January 2013

I adore this...



photo from here

As you all know I am a fan of neutrals and this is probably why I adore this photo.

Love the taupe coloured wall, the lovely wooden floorboards and the shabby style dresser with the chicken wire is stunning and yet a very practical piece of furniture.

I had better fly as the boutique is open today and I have to give it a quick tidy if there is such a thing!



trés bonne journée à tous, Leeann x


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

a bit of bling...





Bonsoir mes belles,

It has been one of those days.....first thing this morning I had a RDV with very good looking young French doctor who advised that I looked better than yesterday! 

Needless to say that the horrible thing that I had yesterday appears to have almost disappeared, so I am hoping that it stays that way....

This afternoon did not get off to a good start as some workmen digging a trench nearby, accidentally cut the telephone cables 

which meant that we had no internet access for 5 hours but I managed to start photographing some new items that have arrived and am now happy back on the internet......what did we do before we had this incredible invention?

Hence I am in the mood for bling hence one of my manequins is wearing some bling......a very baroque style pearl garland which is covered in fairy lights.....just the thing to brighten a cold night in SW France.

I am now off to light lots of candles and get cosy for the evening.

....bisous, Leeann 

Monday, 7 January 2013

my best purchase...





photo from here

Bonjour from a chilly SW France,

Back in November when it was still warm, I bought a couple of fur throws exactly like the one that you see in the photo above, thinking that they would be a nice cosy touch to put in the apartments.

Today I have come down with some sort of bug which has really knocked me for 6 so you can guess where  I am......cosy with lovely warm throw on the couch and am pleased that my temperature is back to normal so fingers crossed that it stays this way.

bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Online SALE Now ON...






Bonjour mes belles,

Just a quick note to let you know that the Fabulously French Online SALE is now on.

Lots of items have been discounted to make way for new stock. 

Up to 50% off.

Click here to start shopping.

à demain, Leeann x



Friday, 4 January 2013

French Food Friday...Tarte aux poires et aux amandes







Bonjour mes belles,

The first recipe for 2013..it is one of my favourite's. Hope you enjoy making it as much as we enjoy eating it!



Tarte aux poires et aux amandes

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 to 12 portions

This recipe makes enough for one large tart or two smaller ones
Make the pastry first, as you’ll need to let it chill for an hour before rolling it out.

Pâte sablée


Ingredients

  • 250 grams (9 ounces) flour
  • 125 grams (4.5 ounces) butter
  • 60 grams (2 ounces) caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Place the flour and sugar in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and mix well.
  2. Cut butter into small pieces and work into flour until a fine texture is obtained.
  3. Make a well in the centre and add the egg. Gently work the egg through the mixture using your fingers, then knead gently a few times.
  4. Refrigerate for one hour before using (very important – otherwise the pastry will be too soft to handle and roll out).

Almond cream filling


Ingredients

  • 150 grams (5 1/4 ounces) powdered almonds
  • 150 grams (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
  • 150 grams (5 1/4 ounces) butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 30 grams (1 ounce) flour
  • 4-5 pears, peeled, cored and halved
  • A few drops of almond extract or a tablespoon of kirsch (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter, gradually adding flour, sugar and almond powder.
  2. Add eggs one at a time and continue mixing until pale and creamy.
  3. Add almond extract if desired.

To assemble the tart

  1. Roll out the chilled pastry and carefully place it in a large tart pan, then pour the cream into the unbaked crust.
  2. On a cutting board, thinly slice each pear half without going all the way through.
  3. Carefully arrange the sliced pear halves in the almond cream.
  4. Bake at 200 degrees C (400 degrees F) for 30 minutes or until done.
The surface should be lightly browned and a knife inserted in the centre should come out clean. Allow to cool completely before serving. Sprinkle with a little icing sugar if desired and serve with chocolate sauce.

.....bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

a blank page...






Bonne année à tous,

Wow it is rather exciting! A new year and a blank page in which to full with as little or as much as you like.

We are about to undertake a new project with some friends of ours, which is a great way to kick off a new year.

I hope that you will join me for the ride and I am hoping that there will not be too many bumps....

As I said in my previous post I hope that all your dreams (and mine) come true in 2013.

Leeann x