Wednesday, 30 September 2015

my latest find...




Wow it is the last day in September, what happened to the other 29 days?  Let's hope that October moves at a slower pace.

On Sunday French Boyfriend and I went hunting for tresors and I managed to find a couple of beauties. One is in perfect condition and the other has "wobbly" arms and French Boyfriend is now in the process of putting her right.



I was lucky to purchase them as a couple of French laddies arrived at the same time and I did not want to get into a bidding war. Due to the problem with the arms, which FB pointed out was an issue, the others started to réfléchirai and I did the deal.

Once the deal was done, I decided to it may be a bit dangerous to leave them in case someone came along and offered the seller more money that what I had paid so we decided to carry them to a street corner and that I would wait while FB went off to search for the car.

Got tired of standing to decided to sit in one and got tired of waiting as everyone that passed liked to stop and chat about them. Thankfully FB finally appeared and we loaded them into the car.

I was not sure where I was going to put them and teased FB that I may need to buy a house to put them in. Maison No.26 came to mind and I think that they will add a lovely splash of colour for winter.



Just need a couple of matching cushions for the bed now....

à demain, Leeann x 






Friday, 25 September 2015

French Food Friday...La "Madeleine Proustienne" aux amandes



Bonjour mes belles,

A week ago I posted a photo of  my latest batch of madeleines on our facebook page and was asked if I had a favourite recipe. I have tried a lot of madeleine recipes and this is one that I like best.

In the past I have used recipes that melt the butter whereas this recipe uses creamed butter and I think that the end result speaks for itself.

For 24 madeleines

120g flour
130g sugar
40g ground almonds
3 small eggs
1 egg white
130g salted butter at room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
1 orange (zested)
A bit of honey

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C
  2. Zest the orange then place in a pot with a some water and a bit of honey and cook until tender.
  3. Brush madeleine tins with some melted butter.
  4. Cream butter then add sugar and ground almonds and mix well.
  5. Whisk the 3 eggs together then add to the butter mixture.
  6. Sift flour and baking powder. Then add to the butter mixture and stir until combined.
  7. Whisk the egg white until peaks form. Fold into butter mixture.
  8. Place the mixture into the madeleine tin, be careful do not over fill the tin.
  9. Bake for 8-10 minutes until  golden.
  10. Remove from oven and place to cool on a rack. 

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

bonjour l'automne...



Here in SW France the mornings are cooler and the nights are drawing in.

I am thinking faux fur throws and candelabras.

What a fabulous time of the year.....

amicalement, Leeann x

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Friday, 18 September 2015

French Food Friday...Amazing DIY chocolate truffles

Amazing DIY chocolate truffles

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I am in the mood for chocolate and I think that this is a great idea of Jamie Oliver's as he suggests that the guests get involved and make them after dinner....


Serves 50
Cooks In 30 minutes plus cooling time
Difficulty Super easy 
 
Ingredients
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 1 knob unsalted butter
  • 1 clementine , finely grated zest of
  • 300 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) , broken into small pieces
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 splash brandy
  • 1 handful mixed nuts , (Brazil nuts, toasted almonds and hazelnuts)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder , to serve
  • 1 pack biscotti , to serve
  • 1 bottle Vin Santo , to serve

These are deconstructed chocolate truffles and if you arrange this nicely on a table, put a few cocktail sticks next to them and let people get stuck in and make their own, I’m telling you, you’ll have some excited guests. It’s interesting, it’s different and to be able to make your own truffle is really quite cool, not to mention delicious.

It’s worth remembering that chocolate is friends with lots of different types of booze so, if you prefer, you can swap out the brandy here for rum, whiskey or red wine.


Put the cream in a pan over a medium heat and let it heat up. You don’t want it boiling, just hot. As soon as tiny bubbles start to appear, add the knob of butter and the clementine zest. Once the butter has melted, pour this hot mixture over the chocolate pieces, whisking as you go, so the chocolate melts nice and slowly. If the mixture splits slightly, don’t worry, you can bring it right by adding a splash of boiling water.

Add a pinch of salt to the mixture; it may sound bonkers, but the smallest pinch of salt actually makes chocolate taste even chocolatier! Stir in a splash of brandy.
Once completely melted and smooth, pour your melted chocolate mixture into a nice little serving dish or bowl. Pop this in the fridge for about 2 hours to set. Christmas is a busy time so you can always do this a few days before you need it if you want. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to make your truffles, pull the bowl out of the fridge and let the chocolate warm up to room temperature.

Put your mixed nuts into a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to bash them up quite finely. Get some little saucers or bowls and put the nuts in one and your cocoa powder in the other. Put a teacup filled with boiled water on the tray and pop a few teaspoons in there for scooping the chocolate. Get everyone around the table to spoon their own truffles out of the serving dish and roll them in cocoa powder, crushed nuts or anything else you fancy. Or, you can let them smear their truffles over a biscotti like some posh Nutella! Serve with a few glasses of your chilled Vin Santo.
très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Love this room...

photo from here

I love everything in this photo.....c'est très belle n'est-ce pas?

Leeann x

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

La vie, la vie, beaucoup de parapluies..

photos from here


Too beautiful not too share, these photos are of an exposition that is taking places in Orleans today.



Love the word for umbrella in French "parapluie" it just rolls of the tongue....

à demain, Leeann x

Monday, 14 September 2015

Happy New Week...



Eymet Square


Bonjour from a very sunny Eymet,

As I write this, the house is strangely quiet. One set of guests have left bound for the lovely Ile de Ré...


and the others are spending the day canoeing on the Dordogne river...




Hence I am taking a minute to reflect on how lovely the village is and just how we are to live in such a fabulous part of the world.

The more I see of France, the more I fall in love with her. 

On that note I must leave you as I have déjeuner to prepare.

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x  

Friday, 11 September 2015

French Food Friday...DIY Nutella

 
recipe and photo from here
 
Bonjour mes belles,
 
I hope that you are having a fabulous week. Ours has been a productive one and  I am looking forward to spending some time in ma cuisine this weekend.
 
Nutella is a bit like vegemite, you either hate it or you love it and French Boyfriend loves it but hates vegemite with a passion.
 
Here is a DIY version which is described as  a chic spread in 5 minutes flat on the doitinparis website, where I found the recipe.
 
 
DIY Nutella
 
 
For 4 PERSONS
Preparation: 20 min
Cooking time: 5 min
 
Ingredients:
100g of whole nuts
150g of praline chocolate
50g of dark chocolate
150 g of sweet condensed milk
100mls of liquid cream
2 pinches of salt
20 g of semi-salted butter
 
 
METHOD
1/ Chop the nuts very finely.
2/ In a bain-marie double pot, melt the praline chocolate, the dark chocolate and the condensed milk.
3/ Once melted, mix and add the chopped nuts.
4/ Pour everything in a blender.
5/ Add the liquid cream, the salt and the semi-salted butter
6/ Mix again.
7/ Place in a jar and set aside in a cool place.

TIP
The spread can be made several days ahead of time. You can keep it for several weeks in a cool place, remove the crust on the surface before tasting.

 
It would be just as delicious with a nice country loaf of bread, a brioche or crêpes….
 
très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

a fabulous photographer...


photos from here
Bonjour mes belles,

You will recall that I mentioned that we had lovely Irish guests staying who came to attend a wedding in the village. The wedding photos were taken by a fabulous photographer called Claire Penn who is based in the UK but spends a lot of time jetting around photographing weddings, what a fabulous job she has....


Love the way the happy couple are mirroring the couple in the mural, what a fabulous idea.

To see more examples of Claire's fabulous work click here.

à demain, Leeann x

Friday, 4 September 2015

French Food Friday...Double Baked Cauliflower Soufflés


 
INGREDIENTS
200g cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 1/4 large cauliflower)
50ml white wine
150ml cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
25g butter
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 bay leaf
sprig of thyme
4 tablespoon plain flour
1/2 cup firmly packed Gruyere cheese
4 free range eggs, separated 
300ml cream
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese extra
6 x 1 1/2 cup capacity ramekins

 
 
METHOD
  1. Put cauliflower florets in a medium frying pan and add wine, cream, garlic salt & pepper. Cook over a gentle/medium heat for 25 minutes or until cauliflower is soft and most of the cream has reduced. Cool for 10 minutes then whiz in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Put milk into a medium saucepan with bay leaf and thyme; bring to a simmer over a gentle heat for 5 minutes then strain into a jug. (Alternatively heat in a microwave for two one-minute bursts and leave to stand for 5 minutes). Heat butter in the same pot over a gentle heat, and whisk in flour. Whisking continuously pour in half of the milk. Once it thickens add remainder of the milk, cook a few minutes more, whisking until thick and smooth. Stir in the Gruyere cheese, whisk well and remove from the heat. Whisk in the egg yolks, then combine with the cauliflower puree, stirring to incorporate well, set aside to cool.
  3. Grease and line the bases of six1 1/2 cup capacity ramekins with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt, to firm peaks. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the cauliflower mixture, folding in to loosen the mixture slightly then add the rest of the egg whites, folding in gently.
  4. Divide the mixture between prepared ramekins and place in a small roasting dish. Pour very hot water into dish, coming half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 25 minutes until soufflés are risen and lightly golden. (Do not panic if they are slightly one-sided or have exploded at the top – they will be fine).
  5. Remove ramekins from the roasting dish and allow to cool for an hour – they will deflate and settle down. Once cool run a small knife carefully around the inside of the ramekins to release the soufflés slightly, and tip out onto into another roasting dish or individual oven-safe dishes and store in the fridge until ready to finish and serve. Soufflés can be prepared to this point the day before serving.
  6. Preheat oven to 200C. Sprinkle soufflés with remaining Gruyere and pour over the remaining cream. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the soufflés are lightly puffed, golden and delicious, switch the heat source to grill for the last minute (watch them closely) to ensure a golden bubbling top. Serve with remaining cream drizzled around the base and with a small bitter green salad.
très bonne fin de semaine à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

bonjour septembre...



I took this photo the 1st of  September last year, whilst we were taking a break in the lovely Auvergne area.

For me it sums up September, the summer holidays are over and the whole of France goes back to work.

For us it is the opposite, the summer tourist rush is over and things move at a gentler, more enjoyable pace.

It is one of my favourite months to be in France and I am planning on enjoying every minute of it....

très bonne semaine à tous, 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...