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Showing posts from October, 2015

Happy Halloween...

I have just finished preparing the treats for our petit visitors who normally arrive around 6pm looking fabulously scary .... Happy Halloween à tous, Leeann x

French Food Friday...chicken Normandy

recipe and photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,

Since I am fresh from my visit to Normandy I thought that we would have a Normandy inspired recipe this week....

Chicken Normandy Recipe
Yield: Serves 4.

In this recipe we brown the chicken on the stovetop, then braise the chicken in the oven, and then finish on the stovetop. You can make the whole dish on the stovetop if you wish. In step 6 just simmer the chicken on the stovetop (uncovered if skin-on, covered if using skinless chicken pieces), until cooked through and tender, 15-30 minutes. The reason to do it in the oven is to produce a crispy skin.

4 Tbsp butter
2 cooking apples, cored and sliced into wedges (you can peel or not)
Flour for dredging
4 whole chicken legs (with thighs)
1 large onion, peeled, sliced lengthwise (root to top) into wedges
1/2 cup brandy (apple brandy or Calvados if you have it)
2 cups apple cider (the cloudy type)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup cream


1 Sprinkle salt over the chicken pieces and let sit …

it's the season....

Bonjour mes belles,

For those visiting France for the first time at this time of the year, you may think that France is obsessed with the chrysanthemum as they appear to be every where you look.

This weekend is all about Toussaint, a Catholic holiday honouring all Saints. It is a time when French pay respect to their deceased relatives.  All Saints' Day, the 1st of November, sees families gathering to visit cemeteries to clean and decorate tombs.  The majority of which, are decorated with chrysanthemums.

The tradition of using chrysanthemums is a relatively recent one, dating from 1919 when the then President, Raymond Poincaré, declared that all war memorials should be decorated with floral tributes. 

As one of the rare flowers still in bloom in November it became the flower of choice for cemeteries, with hundreds of thousands of widows laying blooms at their fallen husbands' memorials. The chrysanthemum is now known as the widow's flower and is forever associated with Toussai…

a new week...

Bonjour mes belles,

Apologies for the lack of posts but as you know, we spent the week in Normandy last week and most days we were out and about which meant that I barely touched my laptop.

The colours were glorious and life really does move at a gentler pace in this lovely part of France.

I feel in love with the handsome beast that you see on the right hand side of the photo, he was scared to get really close as the fence is electric....

He was such a beautiful colour and he was quite a character as we found out....

I can see why a lot of Parisians choose to live here, it reminded me of a French version of the Cotswolds....just wish that it was not a 6 hour drive from here we live in the south west of France.

What we also loved was the fact that the region has lots of fabulous antique shops and is second to Isle sur la Sorgue in terms of antiques. We are already planning a return trip for next year.

Nice to have a break as this week is another busy one guest wise and I have a new sofa arriv…

love this patine...

Bonjour mes belles,

French Boyfriend and I are out and about this week sourcing stock for the shop.

When I saw this door, I just had to take a photo. The patine is amazing and I love the colour...fabulous and very French.

Wishing you all a semaine fabuleuse, Leeann x

French Food Friday...French Pumpkin Pie

photo and recipe from here
Bonjour mes belles,

At the time I thought that it was a fabulous idea to buy a gorgeous looking 5 kilo pumpkin.

As a result of this impulsive purchase, we have been eating a lot of pumpkin this week.

I have made a tagine, soup and this fabulous tart. There is still a bit left  but I am sure that it will get put to good use as I have found a fabulous recipe where you bake it in the oven with honey and nuts.

French Pumpkin Pie
serves 8
Ingredients 6 tbsp. butter 3 lb. kabocha squash or cinderella or cheese pumpkin, seeded, peeled, and diced 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced 3⁄4 cup brown sugar 1 vanilla bean, split 1⁄4 cup shelled pecans, chopped 2 (7 1⁄2-by-14 1⁄2–inch) sheets puff pastry 1 egg, lightly beaten
Instructions Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pumpkin and apples, and cook, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add sugar and vanilla beans, and scrape browned bits from bottom of skillet with…

fabulously inspiring...

photo from here Wow I love the grand salon in Chateau Vendeurve. It really is so stunningly French.... amicalement, Leeann x

Bonjour Miss Mustard Seed...

On impulse this morning I decided to repaint the mirror frame in our dining room. It started off Farrow and Ball Charleston grey then I repainted it with Annie Sloan Old White.

Both Maison No.20 and No.26 are a shrine to Farrow and Ball paint and I adore it and use it when ever I can.

Back to the mirror frame, it has been white now for almost a year and I decided that it was not really doing it for me.

I had a rummage around and found some Miss Mustard Seed samples that a friend had sent me as a result of going a MMS paint course.

Decided that I would give "Trophy"  which is a lovely grey colour, a try and I am very happy with the result. It took two coats and does not give a newly painted look instead looks like it has always been this colour.

I am now thinking about painting the bookcase in the dining room the same colour so I am searching for a European stockist to order the paint from....I think that I have my painting mojo back!

à demain, Leeann x

belle semaine à tous...

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you had a fabulous weekend, our was a lovely sunny one which enabled us to get out and about. We even managed a bit of sight seeing in between hunting for antiques which I will tell you more about later in the week.

On Saturday we took some photos on the way back from our picnic lunch.

The vines are looking fabulous at this time of the year....

You can see why Autumn is my favourite time of the year...the colours are stunning and the weather is perfect, not too hot and not too cold. 
Rows and rows of vines everywhere you look....

French Boyfriend commented that the rouge colour of the leaves is very similar to the colour of the wine produced by the grapes that come from these particular vines. Nature at her finest!

I had better go as it is the magic hour here at France, lunch time and FB is about to serve...I do love a man who cooks.

belle semaine à tous, Leeann x

french food Friday...Cheese-topped Dauphinois Potatoes

photo and recipe from here Bonjour mes belles, I hope that you have had a fabulous week. Ours has been a fun one with French Boyfriend selling up a storm in the boutique whilst I have been spending the week shopping. Shopping is one of my preferred past times and I am enjoying shopping for me as opposed to shopping for bathroom fittings, kitchen etc. Unfortunately French Boyfriend is not an enthusiastic as moi when it comes to shopping hence I am developing a more speedy approach. Enough about shopping, let's get down to business. As you know food is taken very seriously in France and a lot of the day is talking about food.    It is getting cooler here in SW France and Autumn has arrived. Autumn provides the perfect excuse to spend more time in the kitchen and it is my favourite time of the year. This week's recipe is a favourite as it involves cheese and potatoes and is very yummy... Cheese-topped Dauphinois PotatoesIngredients 750 g …

simple mais chic...

photo from here

Simple but oh so chic....I adore everything in this fabulous photo.

à demain, Leeann x

never say never

photo from here
Five minutes ago, I was thinking I am going to take a break from renovating for the next 6 months and then I saw this photo....I just need to convince French Boyfriend that it is a good idea.

Think that it may take more than a sexy dress and a bottle of champagne but I will try my best....

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

French food Friday...Chocolate marquise with lime and coconut sorbet

photo and recipe from here

First of all I would like to say Happy Birthday to my darling Dad in NZ, miss you lots and hope you have a lovely day.

At A GlanceServes 10 people1 hour 0 min preparation 20 min cooking (plus cooling, refrigerating, freezing)
You'll need8egg yolks 180 gmcaster sugar 250 gmbutter, coarsely chopped 200 gmdark chocolate (60% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped 80 gmDutch-process cocoa, sieved, plus extra for dusting 600 mlpouring cream, whisked to soft peaks Lime and coconut sorbet 100 gmwhite sugar 25 gmliquid glucose 200 mlcoconut cream 50 mllime juice Chocolate biscuits 110 gm(½ cup) caster sugar 60 gmsoftened butter 1egg 80 gmdark chocolate (60% cocoa solids), melted 150 gmplain flour Scrapedseeds of 1 vanilla bean Method

a smile...

photo and words from here

A smile makes you master of yourself.

- Thich Nhat Hanh, in “Moments of Mindfulness”.
(Image: Claudia Tremblay)

I just had to share this with you. This comes from Thich Nhat Hanh who established the thriving budhist community, not far from where we live.

You can find more information about the community here.

très belle journée à tous, Leeann x