Sunday, 29 June 2014

Love H&M....

photos from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you are all having a fabulous week-end. We are lucky enough to have H&M online in France now but it has been a long time coming.

I have purchased a couple of items from their clothing collection including a pair of sandals with python trim which I adore.
Their home collection is appealing and well priced....how stunning are the photos of their S2014 Spring/Summer Collection?



très bonne journée à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 27 June 2014

French Food Friday...Délices D'Endives



recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

As I am writing this, there is a breeze wafting through the window and I am just about to start cooking this.

It is a favourite of mine and is a great supper type dish when you do not feel like normal dinner....

Délices D'Endives

Ingredients

This is deliciously rich and old-fashioned. Be careful not to overcook the egg - there's an optimum point at which it is just set. 
  • 50g butter, plus an extra 15g for putting on top of the eggs
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large endives
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 100g smoked ham
  • 200ml double cream
  • 6 medium eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Melt 25g of the butter in a deep fying pan and cook the onion over a medium/low heat until soft. 
  2. Cut the endives in sixths lengthways. Put them into a saucepan of boiling water with the lemon juice. Turn down the heat to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Drain really well - you don't want excess water in the leaves. 
  3. Set the oven to 180°C/fan over 160°C/mark 4 and put 2 baking sheets into it. 
  4. Add the endives, the remaining 25g butter and a light grating of nutmeg to the onion and cook gently for about 10 mintues. If the mixture is a little watery then turn up the heat for a few minutes to drive the water off. 
  5. Pull or cut the ham into shreds and stir it in along with the cream. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into 6 small gratin dishes, curling the endive round the edge. Crack an egg into the centre of each. Dot the eggs with the rest of the butter, season and put the gratin dishes on the baking sheets in the oven. Check the eggs after 12 minutes: the white should be just set and the yolk slightly runny. They may need up to 5 minutes more. Serve immediately. 
 
bon appetite à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Obsessed.....

 
photo from here
 
 
obsessed - having or showing excessive or compulsive concern with something....
 
I think that this word sums up my mood perfectly and I have spent the last few days obsessing over baths, at first I thought a bath built into an alcove was a good idea....  
 
 
 
photo from here
 
 
until I started to see photos of claw foot baths. What is it about claw foot baths that has us girls drooling?  
 
 
 
photo from here
 
In my last house the room that had the claw foot bath was the most requested and I have decided that our latest project "le nid d'amour" or  love nest in English, warrants the purchase of such a bath.
 
It is a vicious circle renovating as in order to get quotes from plumbers I need to know what is going where so I decided that I would start with a bath.
 
End result, I have ordered the bath and will design the rest of the bathroom around it......  so expect a few more bathroom posts. Not so sure that choosing a toilet will be as exciting.
 
 
à demain, Leeann x 
 
 
 


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

latest finds...



Bonjour,

Another gorgeous day, much too gorgeous to be ironing....but sometimes a girl just has to do what a girl has to do!

French Boyfriend very kindly bought me this fabulous print and as you already know I have a thing about antique hot air balloon prints or as they are called in French; Montgolfière and we already have a few in one of the bedrooms in Apartment Deux.


This particular print is not bound for there but is part of the growing collection of items that I am accumulating for a new project that we are about to get underway shortly..... Maison No. 20 will be getting a baby sister. 

Exciting but a little bit scary, the exciting part is the decoration and sourcing of fabulous items, the scary part is the restoration part and I am hoping that it does not mange too much money.

Another find was this antique linen flour sack which I purchased at the same time that I bought a stunning monogrammed linen tablecloth which has a temporary hand stitched type hem  and has never been used hence it looks like it was started and for one reason or another was never finished. Authentic and charming but not terribly practical so it is waiting to have a machine stitched hem so that I can start using it.


 
 
Another find was the fabulous 1800's linen sack which comes complete with monogramme  initials and shabby style letters stamped on it.....
 
 
 
 
Another find is this stunning antique opaline rosary which is in immaculate condition....
 



Next up was a bit of a surprise as this is what I first saw...



What a lovely surprise it was to find lots of vintage French stamp sheets...



There are 8 of these and one of them features the French alphabet, they really are charming and I have never seen these before.
Note I have not had time to photograph each of these so please contact me if you are interested in purchasing one or the whole set of 8.

I am off to continue with the  ironing..

amicalement, Leeann x



Monday, 23 June 2014

work in progress...



Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you had a nice week-end. Ours was a very hot one and Meteo were forecasting the risk of a storm which eventuated in the middle of the night but as a result it is not as hot today and there is a nice breeze in the air.

Despite the heat, I managed to find a couple of goodies which I have not had time to photograph as I have spent most of the day deconstructing the bottom of the chair that you see pictured above.

Unfortunately?! the bottom has had it's days so needs to be rebuilt but before I can do this, all of the original seating part needs to be removed which involves removing what seems like millions of tacks which is time consuming and involves a lot of muscle power......

I have a reupholstery lesson scheduled for next Monday so will take the camera with me so you can see the reconstruction step by step.....

amicalement from a very sunny SW France, Leeann

Friday, 20 June 2014

French Foodie Friday....


recipe and photo from here

Bonjour,

This week has been a lovely sunny one and we have more of the same to come.

I can think of nothing nicer than a lovely refreshing cocktail after a hard week at the "office".

The citrus-tinged Sidecar is a cocktail that's said to have been created during WWI, though there is some controversy surrounding its precise origins.

While the Ritz Hotel in Paris claims to have introduced it, some stories credit a British inventor while others attribute it to an American army captain in Paris. Nevertheless, it rose to fame at Harry's Bar in Paris and remains a refreshing classic.

You Will Need:
1 1/2 oz (445ml) Cognac or Armagnac, or bourbon
1 oz (30 ml) Cointreau or triple sec orange liqueur
1/2 oz (15 ml) lemon juice
Lemon twist for garnish Sugar for rimming (optional)

Preparation:

  1. If desired, rim a chilled cocktail glass with sugar.
  2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Strain into the prepared cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist.

santé à tous, Leeann

Monday, 16 June 2014

love this chambre...

photo from here


How fabulous is this chambre? Love the colours, so soothing on what has turned out to be a very busy lundi in SW france...

très douce semaine à tous, leeann

Friday, 13 June 2014

French food Friday...Tarragon chicken with mushrooms and chickpeas

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

It has been a lovely sunny week and we have more sunshine on the way.  I seem to have developed a bit of an obsession with chick peas or as they are called in French  pois chiche, they really are delicious and so versatile that you can eat them with almost anything.
As many of you probably already know, tarragon chicken is an all French classic and it is normally served with a creamy mushroom sauce.
This recipe offers a  lighter and fresher version  with a drizzle of a simple yet delicious  tarragon dressing.

SERVES 4
3 tbsp olive oil
8 chicken thighs, bone in
3 banana shallots, thinly sliced
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
400g (14oz) fresh girolles, halved
2 star anise
3 cloves garlic, sliced
bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked
tarragon dressing, see method, below
sea salt and black pepper
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan or casserole over a medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs generously with olive oil, salt and pepper and add to the hot pan, skin-side down. Cook for about 6 minutes until the skins are golden brown, moving them once with tongs to stop them sticking to the pan. Turn them over, add the shallots and stir. Add the chickpeas, girolles and star anise and allow the mushrooms to reduce in volume by half, then turn the thighs back to skin-side down. Add the garlic and thyme and let everything infuse for a few moments. The chicken should be cooked through after about 15 minutes in total; the juice should run clear when pierced with a knife. Remove the star anise and serve with some tarragon dressing (below) drizzled on top.

FOR THE TARRAGON DRESSING Grind ¾ tsp chopped garlic to a paste with a little salt, using a large pestle and mortar. Add the following: 6 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves, 180ml (6¼ fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp cider vinegar, 2 tbsp lemon juice and ¾ tsp sugar. Taste to check for seasoning. Leftover dressing keeps for 3 days in the fridge in a sealed container, and is also just made for chicken and avocado salads.
 
.....bon appetit à tous, Leeann

Thursday, 12 June 2014

a mid-week tresor...



Bonjour mes belles,

Thursday morning already, where as the week gone? Having a public holiday on Monday has not helped and I seem to be a day behind.

Yesterday we had a RDV to view furniture and I love nothing more than visiting houses, especially houses that look like the interiors have not be touched for the last 100 years or so.

There were a few items that we were interested in and we came away with a few pieces of furniture which have gone straight to the shop and I managed to get something for me.

The house was large and each room looked like something that you would see in an old film and the house itself would make a perfect setting for a period film.

In the "princess bedroom" hanging above the bed was a ciel de lit, these are getting harder to find and when you do manage to find one, they cost a lot of money.

I tried hard not to appear to keen when asking if this particular one was for sale and at the same time knew that if it was, I wanted it and would pay a premium to have it.



Within the next few months, we are  going to be starting a new project so I am busy buying up lots of decorative items and storing them in my "grenier".

This ciel de lit is going to look fabulous hanging above the bed as I am planning a bedroom that is modern in terms of comfort but has lots of lovely antique french details hence this is perfect.

Our guests are waking up and it is market day today so I will love you and leave you, as they say.

à demain, Leeann x


Monday, 9 June 2014

adorable finds...


Bonjour mes belles,

It is going to be another warm day here in SW France and it is Pentecost (lundi de Pentecote)so it will be quieter than a normal Monday.

Yesterday there was a very large vide-grenier in our village with over 400 stands, French Boyfriend had a busy morning selling but I did not find a lot of tresors which is often the case  as we tend to find more goodies at the smaller vide-greniers.

I found this charming and large framed wedding photograph which I adore. It really is charmant and I plan to use it on my next project.


Another find was a old print of Bordeaux which is still in the back of the car and some toile de jouy cushions with matching lamp shades.

We had more luck on Saturday when we went to look at a couple of chairs that were for sale and ended up buying a Louis xv style bureau, a fabulous mirror, the pair of chairs and also have an option on 4 other chairs that the seller is holding onto for the moment but plans to sell later in the year.

 
 
 
As soon as I saw the chairs I wanted them but the fabric is worn in places hence recovering maybe necessary....a winter project perhaps.
 
Ironic as I like them the way that they are French Boyfriend thinks that they need recovering as it is rare that he wants to change anything...
 
Très bon début de semaine à tous , Leeann x
 
 

 



Friday, 6 June 2014

French food Friday...French Fruit Tarts



recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you are having a fabulous week. This week''s  recipe is a sure to please one and everyone loves French tarts especially the French....

French fruit tarts



Makes: 8
Preparation time:  45 minutes, plus chilling time
Cooking time: 25 minutes


You will need

For the sweet pastry:
250g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
Pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
85g caster sugar
1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten

For the crème pâtissière:
4 egg yolks
90g caster sugar
50g plain flour
350ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out

For the topping:
400g mixed fruit, such as raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, red and white currants, hulled and halved, if necessary
6 tbsp redcurrant jelly 
 
Method                                                                                               
1. To make the sweet pastry, in a mixing bowl rub together the flour, salt and butter using your fingertips. Stir in the sugar and add the whole egg and two egg yolks. Mix with a fork and then your fingers until the dough holds together, but don’t overwork it or the pastry will be tough (this can also be done in a food processor). Wrap in cling film, flatten into a round and chill for at least one hour.
2. To make the crème pâtissière, put the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk for about two minutes until pale, thickened and creamy. Gradually fold in the flour. Heat the milk and vanilla seeds to just below boiling point. Slowly pour into the egg mixture, whisking well. Return the mixture to the cleaned pan and bring to the boil, stirring to prevent lumps forming. Turn the heat down and simmer for three minutes, stirring until it reaches the consistency of thick custard. Spoon into a bowl and cover the surface with buttered baking paper to stop a skin forming. Chill once cooled.
3. Lightly grease eight nine centimetre loose-bottomed tart tins (or use a large 23 centimetre tart tin with butter). Divide the pastry into eight pieces and roll out, one piece at a time, on a lightly floured work surface to 12 centimetre rounds. Line the tins with the pastry, trimming any excess. Chill for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Line each pastry case with baking paper and baking beans and put the tins on a baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes (if you are baking a large tart bake for 25 minutes). Remove the paper and beans and bake for another five to eight minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked. Leave to cool, then remove the pastry cases from the tins.
5. Fill the pastry cases with the crème pâtissière and arrange the fruit on top. Gently heat the redcurrant jelly with one tablespoon water, stirring until it melts. Leave to cool slightly, then brush the glaze over the fruit.
 
....bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

week-end tresors...

 
 
 
Bonjour mes belles,
 
A busy and exciting week ahead and I cannot believe that it is already Tuesday.
 
Yesterday I started work on a new reupholstery project and will try and take a couple of photos as I progress, note this particular chair requires rebuilding so it is going to take me a while....
 

One of the tresors that I found at the weekend is this fabulous and large Christmas wooden candle holder, she really is shabby chic.


You can guess French Boyfriend's reaction when I bought this as he thinks everyone should start thinking about Christmas a few days before hence buying Christmas decorations on the 1st of June is unthinkable.....still I loved her so I bought her. The same seller had a pair of Angels but I have not had a chance to photograph them but they are similar in style.

Next up is this vintage fabric, not sure what I am going to do with it but I loved the feel of it as it is a heavy linen and I think that it would make either great cushions or a curtain.





French boyfriend bought a load of antique linen made up of table cloths and lots of monogrammed napkins.

Included in the bundle, was a lovely set of 10 monogrammed napkins that you see in the photo below.
These will be listing on the online shop tomorrow.




Wishing you all a semaine fabuleuse, Leeann x

Picnic weather

Bonjout from a sunny SW France, The weather here is lovely and sunny, perfect weather for a picnic or as the French spell it pique-niqu...