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Showing posts from April, 2014

April Showers...

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you had a good weekend. Ours passed at a rate of knots and I cannot believe that it is already lundi.

I have spent the morning dodging showers and I am most grateful for the covered arches on the village square as it is here that you will find me in between showers....

The roses on the square appear to be thriving and no doubt are thirsty hence love this weather....

It is not the best weather for walking as I have found out as it is sunny when I leave the house and 5 minutes later rain seems to appear from nowhere.

I have started work on recovering the matching chair to the one that I completed last week and hope to have this finished midweek.

Next Monday I have another reupholstery class so need to decide what I am going to recover next....what fun!

Bonne et doucesemaine à vous tous, Leeann x

French Food Friday...Brioche

recipe and photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,

There is something about brioche and for me it is the fact that it literally melts in the mouth. Merci to the fabulous French for this wonderful invention....

Michel Roux’s brioche

Makes: 1.2 kg dough
Preparation time:  45 minutes plus 9 and a half hours resting
Cooking time:  45 minutes

You will need
70ml tepid milk
15g fresh yeast
500g plain flour
6 eggs, beaten
350g butter, slightly softened, plus extra to grease
30g caster sugar
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp milk, for egg wash Method
1. Pour the milk and yeast into a bowl and stir to dissolve the yeast. Put the flour, one teaspoon fine salt and beaten eggs into an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and pour in the milk and yeast mixture. Mix on slow speed to combine and knead the dough for five minutes.
2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then knead at medium speed for about 10 minutes. By this stage, the dough should be smooth, elastic and combined we…

a touch of green...

Isn't it amazing what a difference a touch of fresh greenery makes? These doors are pretty in their own right but the grape vine with its lovely fresh leaves, makes them charmant.... à demain, Leeann x  

two lessons later...

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you are having a nice Easter break.  This morning I attended my 2nd reupholstery lesson and managed to get the chair finished including the double piping. It has been a very long time since I last touched a sewing machine so I was happy to do the few couple of metres and then let the teacher take over.

This is the chair that I started with.....

and after a couple of coats of Annie Sloan old white chalk paint and a recover in antique linen fabric, this is the finished result.... 
The chair is one of a pair that I purchased at a local vide grenier and I am planning on covering the 2nd chair in similar fabric. Merci to the lovely Deborah who is a fabulous teacher and has the most fabulous atelier here in the village of Eymet. I had a fabulous time and I am already looking forward to working together on my next project which is more than a simple recover as it needs serious attention. Future projects include recovering an antique French corbeille bed plus make a…

joyeuses paques...

photo from here Bonjour mes belles, Je vous souhaite une tres bonne fête de Pâques a tous... Leeann x

French Food Friday...Chocolate Vanilla Roulade

recipe and photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,

As if you can have too much chocolate, this is perfect to finish off Easter lunch.

Chocolate Vanilla Roulade
unsalted butter for the tin
3 large eggs separated
125g ● 4½ oz icing sugar sifted
50g ● 2oz cocoa sifted

extra icing sugar for dusting
250ml ● 9fl oz double or whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste
50g ● 2oz dark chocolate (about 70 per cent cocoa) melted and cooled to room temperature
Easter-themed decorations optional
● Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Butter a 23cm x 32cm / 9in x 12½ in swiss-roll tin or similar, line the bottom with baking paper and butter this too. Whisk the egg whites until stiff in a large bowl, then sprinkle over half the icing sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking well with each addition until you have a stiff, glossy meringue.
● In another large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar until pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Fold the whites into the yolks a th…

a beautiful day....a few photos


It was a beautiful day here in SW France and I thought that I would take a few photos whilst waiting for my hot cross buns to rise.

French Boyfriend has really taken to them like a duck to water so I have had to make more....

Latest batch of hot cross buns, the crosses are not quite as thick.....

I  popped down an alley way and this is what I found.....

lots of beautiful blossom......

wisteria complete with a random poppy growing on the wall....

this is a photo of our friend's house which is a couple of doors down from our house, in the same street as ours....

roses growing by the wall of the old convent across the road from us....
You can just see the top of our friend's house in this photo...

Just around the corner, are these beautiful climbing roses, love the contrast of the roses against the 14 century wall...

Back to making my Easter shopping list I go.....

à demain, Leeann x

Easter is in the air...

photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,

Yesterday, I  glanced at the calendar and realised that it was Easter this week and thought that I had better get into Easter mode.

I rummaged around in the cupboards and managed to find all the ingredients that I needed to make these....

It was the first time that French Boyfriend has tried hot cross buns and only the third time that I have made them in my life, so I am happy with the result. I used a plastic freezer bag to pipe the crosses and now realise that I should have cut the corner closer to the edge which would have resulted in thinner crosses.

I used flour and water to make the crosses but I have another recipe that uses pastry for the crosses so plan to try this out later this week.

He was not sure at first but after his second this morning, he likes them as they are less sticky today.....

I now need to plan a menu for Sunday lunch, last year we had lamb but I feel like a change this year.

 Hence I am looking for inspiration, what are you havi…

bon week-end....

Coucou mes belles,   Just stopping by to wish you a fabuleux week-end. Mille mercis to the lovely Olga for the beautiful lilas...freshly picked from her lovely jardin. amicalement, Leeann x

French Food Friday...Strawberry & Champagne Terrine

Bonjour mes belles,

Strawberries have started appearing on the market and since we have quite a few bottle of champagne on hand, in case of emergency, this recipe is one that I plan on making over the weekend.

This lovely terrine is made in a 6-cup loaf pan, but you can vary the look of it by using two or more smaller molds or mini-loaf pans, or by alternating the Champagne and strawberry components in several layers in one pan. Just be sure that each layer is almost completely set before pouring on another. Serve the well-chilled terrine cut in thin slices.

For the champagne layer:1/4 cup cold water  1 Tbs. powdered gelatin (about 1-1/2 packets)1/3 cup sugar 1-1/2 cups Champagne or sparkling wine1/2 cup sliced strawberriesFor the strawberry layer:1 Tbs. powdered gelatin (about 1-1/2 packets)  2 Tbs. Champagne or sparkling wine2 pints strawberries, rinsed and hulled2 tsp. fresh lemon juice3 to 6 Tbs. sugarFor the Champagne layer:
Put the water in a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin on …

Fabulously French...

Bonjour from a lovely, sunny SW France,

The weather here is fabulous and the forecast is for lots more lovely sunshine.

This morning I looked out of my kitchen weather and this is what I saw, so I quickly picked up my camera and rushed to get a photo or two.....

A photo opportunity not to be missed and makes up for the fact that we saw lots of fabulous spring flowers yesterday whilst on route to deliver some furniture and I did not have my camera with me...

amicalement, Leeann x

a fabulous find....

 Bonjour mes belles,

This afternoon we bought beaucoup de livres......lots of lovely books hence Maison No. 20 is now stocked up with lots of books. 

There are a lot on Paris, so for guests that love Paris they are in for a real treat as we now have a wide selection in both English and French.

I have also a few that I will be listing on Fabulously French including this one which has lots of photos from the second empire.

The Second French Empire (French: Le Deuxième empire français) was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.

You will find it here.

amicalement from a sunny SW France, Leeann x

je suis malade...

Source : sur centerblog.
Bonjour mes belles,

Yesterday morning I woke up with ear ache and a stuffy nose and sore throat. Not a good start to the day and by lunch time the ear ache appeared to be getting worse. I tried a hot cloth but the ache persisted so after trying some self diagnosis on the internet, dangerous as you end up thinking you have all kinds of things, I decided a visit to the doctor maybe required.

Managed to get an emergency appointment for 19h. 

The conversation with the doctor went something like this, tell me all about it.....I replied that I have ear ache and a sore throat.

I sat on the bed and the doctor then disappeared. It appeared that he had lost his instrument for checking inside the ear....not a good start.

After a few minutes he returned with ear thingy and said one ear was okay and one was infected.

He then phoned the pharmacy and asked them to stay open until we got there as it was closing time for the pharmacy.

When he has finished t…

French Food Friday...Fraises a la Sarah Bernhardt

photo from here

Auguste Escoffier was a French chef and food writer who brought French cooking techniques to the world in the early 1900s. He simplified the elaborate style into methods that everyday cooks could use. He defined the five mother sauces - bechamel, espagnole, veloute, hollandaise, and tomato - that all modern cooks use, even if they cannot name them. Although Escoffier died in 1935, his techniques and recipes live on.

Sarah Bernhardt  c. 22/23 October 1844 – 26 March 1923) was a French stage and early film actress, and was referred to as "the most famous actress the world has ever known."

Bernhardt made her fame on the stages of France in the 1870s, at the beginning of the Belle Epoque period, and was soon in demand in Europe and the Americas. She developed a reputation as a serious dramatic actress, earning the nickname "The Divine Sarah."

Here is on of his recipes which happens to be a favourite of mine and I suspect may have been a favourite of Sarah …

word of the day "parapluie"

photo from here
Bonjour from a rainy SW France,

It is one of those days where you are best staying indoors. We have had a run on umbrellas this morning as all guests have departing with umbrellas hence my first task this morning was to find some wind proof, attractive looking umbrellas or as they are called in French parapluies.

I managed to find two in the Bordeaux colour that you see above, this is the same colour of as the  shutters at Maison No. 20 and  2 normal looking black umbrellas.

I was searching for a fabulous photo of umbrellas in France and stumbled across this image.  It is the wonder of the internet, you start looking for one thing when hey, presto you take a detour which may lead day I was supposed to be ordering a DVD and entered up in a fabulous clothes shop, needless to say French Boyfriend was not amused. No DVD and more clothes, told him that it is a "girl thing".

Todays diversion was a worthwhile one as I have discovered a fabulous company …

a few new arrivals...

Bonjour from a windy SW France,

It is blowing a gale here today and I am not sure if it is best to leave the windows open or close them. As you know I am a fan of fresh air but  this is almost too fresh for me.

I have added a couple of new items to the online shop including this lovely Napoleon III Miniature Portrait

Another new addition is the vintage painting of Saint Paul de Vence,  which is one of my favourite villages in France and the first time that I visited this particular village I thought that all villages in France were the same as this.

The new item made me smile, it really is fabulous and French silver plated toothpick holder complete with escargot..... For tea drinkers we have this fabulous antique sterling silver tea strainer or as it is called in French; passoire à théand this one is a beauty.  Note the black shadow that you see on the right of the photo is me not a spot on the tea strainer.

I have a couple of other items that I have yet to photograph including a fabulous ru…

le printemps est arrivé...

Bonjour from a warm and sunny SW France,

Today we have lots of  sunshine and it is perfect weather for spring cleaning.

I spent the morning cleaning windows and now have all the windows open, allowing the house to breathe again. Such a liberating feeling and I am sure that the house is happy as a result.

This week our house is filled with lots of lovely tulips, which have yet to open.

Here's hoping for more of the same...... très bonne semaine à tous,  Leeann