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Showing posts from September, 2014

Bonjour octobre...

Bonsoir mes belles,

The last day of the month and tomorrow is the first day of October, the last 3 months of the year are always my favourite.

I am looking forward to nice cosy months curled up watching movies, perhaps reading a book or two and tackling those projects that I simply have not got around to doing.

Roll on October I say....

amicalement, Leeann x

French Food Friday...Croissants

recipe and photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you have had a fabulous week. I for one, am really looking forward to the week-end, which will no doubt include a few of these yummy French creations....

Preparation time:  45 minutes, plus resting and chilling time
Cooking time:  12 minutes

You will need
For laminating:
300g butter, room temperature
40g plain flour

For the dough:
30g fresh yeast or 15g dried yeast
230ml cold milk
2 ½ tbsp sugar
2 tsp honey
380g strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
Egg yolk mixed with a pinch of salt, to glaze Method
1. First making the lamination. Put the butter and flour in a bowl and knead together with your hands to incorporate them. Turn the mixture out onto a sheet of clingfilm, top with another sheet and flatten with a rolling pin into a rough square about 10 centimetres across. Refrigerate for about one hour to harden.
2. Meanwhile, make the dough. Put the yeast and milk in a bowl and stir until the yeast has dissol…

This is the one that I want...

photo from here As asoon as I saw this photo, it was a case of love at first sight or as the French say coup de foudre. My walk in dressing area is far too small but I am hoping to rectify this very shortly and I am hoping to have much more space....dreams are free buy I suspect that my wardrobe expansion project may require some euros so suspect that I will not be buying as many winter clothes this season....what about you? Do you have enough room for all your clothes and shoes? Leeann x 

Bienvenue Autumn...

Salut mes belles,

I am not sure about you but Autumn is my favourite time of the year and I adore Autumn in SW France.

It is as if the hands on the clock move at a slower pace,  giving us the time to admire nature at her best.

The days are still hot here but the mornings are cool and the evenings are drawing in so perfect for dinner by candle light.

We are looking forward to a fabulous Autumn and for those of you in the same part of the world, hope that it is fabulous one for you....

amicalement, Leeann

French Food Friday....Summer Tomato Tart scented with basil

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

Yesterday there was an abundance of tomatoes on the market and I used a few to make ratatouille and am planning on using some to make this fabulous tart from my favourite French chef; Raymond Blanc.

Ingredients For the tart bases
125g  All-butter puff pastry (*1)

For the filling
½  Medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 tbsp  Extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
½ tsp  thyme leaves
2 pinches  sea salt
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
30 cherry tomatoes, halved
6  Baby mozzarella balls, thinly sliced
8  Black olives, stoned and cut into thirds
8  Basil leaves, roughly torn
Cooking Method

Planning ahead

The puff pastry rounds can be shaped in advance, placed on a baking sheet, covered and frozen or refrigerated.

To prepare the tart bases

Cut the puff pastry into two equal portions and shape into balls. Roll each one out on a lightly floured surface to an 18–20cm round, 2mm thick. Place the pastry rounds on a lightly floured tray and freeze fo…

a morning well spent...

Salut from a very sunny SW France,

Here is the result of yesterday's upholstery class. The part that took me the longest to complete was removing all the tacks and it is not my most favourite of tasks.

After the lesson I finished another identical pad for a matching chair and started work on French Boyfriend's antique dog bed which to me looks like a tiny foot stool but happy that it is small as I am hoping that it will not take long to complete...

I am looking forward to spending the winter months tackling a range of upholstery projects and learning more about this fascinating skill.

We are very lucky to have such a fabulous and very patient teacher so I am making the best of this opportunity.

Meanwhile French Boyfriend is busy hunting through his stock of items that he wants recovered so think that I will be needing quite a few lessons.

à très bientot, Leeann x

just the way I like it...

photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,

Just rushing out the door to my upholstery lesson but thought that I would share this  photo with you.

I am in the mood for cosy and this looks like the perfect place to be cosy....

à demain, Leeann x

French Food Friday...le gâteau magique

recipe and photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,

This weeks recipe is for le gâteau magique and the reason that it is called this is because it is a cake with three components, part cream, part flan and part génoise.

English version follows below....

Comment on fait ?Facile à préparer, la liste des ingrédients se résume à cinq composants de n’importe quel placard de base : beurre, sucre, farine, œufs et lait. Après avoir mélangé au batteur 4 jaunes d’œufs avec 150 g de sucre, on ajoute 125 g de beurre fondu, 115 g de farine, 1 c. à soupe d’eau, 50 cl de lait et les 4 blancs montés en neige en dernier. On obtient une pâte très liquide et très différente : une consistance de type pâte à flan, avec sur le dessus, une mousse à base des blancs en neige. Ensuite, il ne reste qu’à l’enfourner pendant 1h à 150 °C. Et abracadabra, la magie opère… à la sortie du four, trois couches distinctes apparaissent !

Let the magic begin...
Easy to prepare, the ingredients listconsists of fivecomponentsofanybasic…

so french...

 Bonjour mes belles, I hope that you are having a good week. Any spare time I get this week is being spent on sourcing taps, sink etc. and it is taking far longer than I thought...I am now taking a break from this exciting! task and I will resume my search tomorrow. Thought that I would share a couple more photos that I took last week on our "wee break" to the mid Pyrenees.  There is something timeless about old French doors and windows and no matter where you go in France, you will find some charming examples just waiting to be photographed....  

so many beautiful textures and so very inspiring....
à demain, Leeann x

my current obsession...

photo from here the bathroom in the new project that we are about to commence shortly. We spent the whole of Saturday looking at a variety of floor tiles, shower trays etc. along with what seemed like half of France. French Boyfriend and I joined the queue and waited paitiently for the next available assistant in the bathroom shop. Finally our turn arrived and we were informed that our choice was not available due to the fact that the Italian factory that made the tiles had burnt down. Decided that it was not very polite to ask why they were still on display and asked if he had anything similar. After looking at a few samples we decided on some imitation stone tiles and we placed the order and paid the deposit and advised that we would call Monday if we required additional. Saturday night I happened to glance at the order and to my horror saw the word BEIGE. Started to panic and had visions of a truck load of BEIGE tiles arriving outside my front door. Do not get me wrong, I have no…

Foodie Friday....Vanilla Rum Plum Jam

Recipe and photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,

Inspired by the delicious plum jam served each morning at Chateau Lunac, I decided that I needed to find a decent recipe and this one appeals to both of us. In the process of searching for a recipe I found a very interesting food blog, what would we do without the internet?

The trouble with having rum in the house is that I need to hide my bottle of cooking rum as French Boyfriend loves to have an after dinner digestif and when I go to make his favourite apple tart recipe, I find in the cupboard a very sad and empty looking bottle.

Vanilla Rum Plum Jam
Ingredients: 1 kilo / 2 lb. plums, halved, pitted, and coarsely chopped2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice1/2 cup water3 cups sugar1 vanilla bean1/2 cup rum
Put the plums, sugar, water and lemon juice in a heavy pot. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the inner seeds. Add bean and seeds to the pot. Bring the mixture to the boil. Then simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture thic…

a magical of Najac

  Bonjour mes belles,

Apologies that this post is a day later than planned but yesterday turned out to be a very busy day and this morning as been much of the same.

As soon as I saw the village of Najac, I knew that I was looking at something special. I loved the way that you follow the streets to reach the chateau, an enchanting journey as you never know what is around the next very medieval!

Everywhere I looked I saw natural beauty which is a contrast to a lot of the beaux villages  in France which sometimes look like they have been surgically enhanced and over restored.

  The architecture is totally different to here in the Dordogne and it is less built up with lots of wide open green spaces containing lots of cows and sheep. Perhaps this is the reason that I liked it as the countryside reminded me a lot of New Zealand.

In the background of this photo you can see the 2CV parking on the brow of the hill, every French villages needs at least one 2CV parked nearby and I loved…

missing Najac...

Bonjour from a sunny Eymet,

I woke up this morning missing Najac and the lovely Chateau that we stayed in, situated in the nearby village of Lunac.

Bit of a contrast having to get up and prepare breakfast for guests as opposed to getting up out of a fabulous medieval bedroom...

and descending the fabulous well worn stone stairs to a stunning room where you are waited on.....

The views were amazing as the chateau sits high on the hill and this is the view that greeted me every morning when I opened the shutters....

Merci encore to the adorable Michel & Marie-Chantal, we really enjoyed our stay and hope to return later in the year.

Note the chateau is for sale should any of you  be looking to buy one.You will find more details on the chateau here.

I am off to do some work but will be back later to share some photos of the magical village of Najac with you.....

à plus tard, Leeann x

a fabulous couple of days...

Bonjour mes belles,

We have just come back from spending a couple of days away and visited the fabulous village of  Saint-Cirq-Lapopie which is situated in the Lot department and is about an hour and half's drive from us. It is a member of the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France and really is a stunning village to visit as it is perched high on the hill and lot river flows below.

From here we then drove to our destination, which was a medieval chateau situated near the magical village of Najac.

Tomorrow I will share some photos of Najac and the chateau where we stayed....

Back to unpacking my suitcase I go, I do not like this part as it means that the vacance has well and truly come to an end.

à demain, Leeann x