Thursday, 31 December 2015

Bonne année 2016...


Bonjour mes belles,

It is the last day of 2015 and what a busy year it has been.  Fabulous from start to finish and we still have today to go.

I have started my list of resolutions and I hope to finish the list this morning.

We are stocked up on champagne and we are both looking forward to a very special dinner tonight.

Wishing you all a Bonne année 2016 and  thanks for all your support in 2015!  

See you next year, Leeann x

amicalement, Leeann x

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

a sunny Sunday in the Dordogne...



 Bonjour from a very warm SW France,

I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas. Ours was spent with French Boyfriend's family and it was a fabulous family affair with children everywhere.

Yesterday was our day off as we did not have any guests staying so spent the day in the valley of the Dordogne. Despite having lived here now for over 8 years, it still takes my breath away.

So many things to see and do and it is if time has stood still in many of the  picturesque villages perched on the hills.






Wishing you all a semaine fabuleuse, Leeann x

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Joyeux Noël à tous...



Noël est réservé aux enfants.
Heureusement, il y a un enfant dans chacun de nous.


Christmas is reserved for children. Fortunately there is a child in each of us.

Wishing you all a Joyeux Noël....Leeann x

Monday, 21 December 2015

4 days to go...




I have a list  of things that need to be done before the "big day" arrives and it appears to grow by the day.

Fingers crossed that it all comes together at the last minute but I have a feeling that we will be doing a lot of last minute shopping...

Wishing you all a fabulous and very festive week, Leeann x

Friday, 18 December 2015

French Food Friday...Magic Log Cake


recipe and photo from here

What's Christmas without a buche de noel, you can even take lessons on how to make one here in our village tomorrow afternoon. This recipe appealed as it is quick to make and anything with the word magic appeals to me. It is the same word in French but spelt magique and sounds much nicer when spoken with someone with a lovely French accent.


Magic cakes are made simply of eggs, sugar, flour, butter and milk. So what's magic about that, you might ask. There may be nothing unusual about the ingredients, but the magic happens in the baking. The batter of the cake is very liquid, so it divides into three layers by itself, each with its own texture and flavour: the base of the cake is a dense, moist cake base; a light delicate cream forms in the middle; the top layer is a lovely light Genoise sponge.
Serves 10.

Preparation: 35 minutes.  Cooking time: 50 minutes.  Resting time: 2 hours
Ingredients:
1 vanilla pod
350 ml (11½ fl oz) milk
3 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon water
45 g (1¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
100 g (3½ oz) sweetened chestnut purée
90 g (3¼ oz) butter
70 g (2½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
pinch of salt
60 g (2 oz) marrons glacés, broken into small pieces

Method:
Yule log cake tin, lined with silicone or greased with butter and lined with baking parchment.
Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F/Gas 3).
Split the vanilla pod down the middle and scrape out the seeds with the blade of a knife. Heat the milk with the vanilla seeds and the pod.
Bring to the boil, then immediately remove from the heat and leave to infuse.
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and water until the mixture whitens. Then add the chestnut purée.
Melt the butter and pour it into the mixture. Add the fl our and salt then beat for a few minutes.
Remove the vanilla pod then pour in the milk little by little, whisking constantly.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and, using a whisk, gently incorporate them into the batter.
Sprinkle the bottom of the Yule log tin with broken marrons glacés, then pour in the batter.
Smooth the surface with the blade of a knife.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes. When the cake comes out of the oven it will wobble slightly.
Before turning it out, leave it to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Serve chilled.
Chef ’s tip
You can also make an icing by whipping 200 ml (7 fl oz) whipping cream with 120 g (4 oz) mascarpone until the mixture thickens, then gradually adding 30 g (1 oz) caster sugar, whipping constantly.
Decorate with a few whole marrons glacés or broken pieces.

très bonne fin de semaine à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

no words needed...out & about


Sorry for not posting these photos from the week-end earlier but it has been a bit busy at this end....














I hope you enjoyed the photos, I am off to decorate a creche....
à demain, Leeann x


Monday, 14 December 2015

painting again....



Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you had a nice weekend. I am in the mood to paint and the first item on my list was an old mirror that I purchased last weekend.

It has been resprayed a gaudy gold colour which I was not so keen on so I painted it with some Elephants breath paint and this is the result.

I am just waiting on French Boyfriend to attach some hooks so that I can hang it on the wall.

Tomorrow I will be back to share some photos that I took whilst out and about over the course of the weekend.


Je vous souhaite un bon début de semaine et un tout doux Lundi, Leeann x


Friday, 11 December 2015

French Food Friday...Crab and Mushroom Gratin

Crab & Mushroom Gratin - Russian Recipes
photo and recipe from here


Bonjour mes belles,

It has been a lovely sunny week here in south west France and I am starting to put some recipes together for entertaining friends over the festive period. French Boyfriend loves anything that has cream in it and gratin is a dish that the French love gratin type dishes as they are tasty and quick to prepare.



Crab and Mushroom gratin

Serves 6

This is an old-fashioned Franco-Russian dish using bechamel, a rare thing these days. Don't serve anything with cream in it for the main course.

Ingredients
  • 200g white fish fillets (e.g.cod, haddock,gurnard or sea bass)
  • 315ml milk (plus extra, if needed)
  • 25g butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1¼- 1½ teaspoon ground cayenne (according to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 150ml double cream
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Generous squeeze of lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 325g button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 400g white crab meat
  • 30g white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 35g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 25g melted butter

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/mark 6. Put the fish fillets and the milk into a saute pan and gently heat to a simmer. Poach the fish for about 5 minutes, or until only just cooked. Lift the fish out with a slotted spoon and break it into chunks (remove skin if the fillets weren't skinned). Strain and measure the milk; you need 315ml, so add more if necessary.
  2. Heat the butter in a medium-size saucepan and saute the onion for 5 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cayenne and cook for a futher 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir for a minute or so until it is well incorporated. Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the poaching milk, stirring continuously. Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Turn down the heat and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the cream, mustard and lemon juice. Taste and season. Set aside.
  3. In a frying pan, heat the oil and saute the mushrooms until they are golden. Turn up the heat to evaporate any juice from the mushrooms. Add the brandy and let it bubble away to about 1 tablespoon. Stir the mushrooms into the sauce.
  4. Divide the white fish and crab between 6 small gratin dishes. Season to taste. Pour the sauce over the top.
  5. Mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley and Parmesan. Sprinkle over each gratin, pour the melted butter on top and bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until golden. Serve immediately. 

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Monday, 7 December 2015

If I had to...


....pick one bauble this year, I would pick this one.

Today has been one of those days when nothing had gone to plan. I upgraded to windows 10 and now our scanner does not work and I really needed to use it this morning. Despite down loading various drivers and programs it still refuses to work so I think that it will be cheaper and quicker to buy a new one.

After that a projector was delivered and this works with a new DVD player but not with the older one that I was planning to use with it. Technology I love it when it works but when it does not it hurts....

Thank heavens decorations are still simple and do not involve technology...apart from placing an order on the internet.
I am in the mood for simple....I love simple.

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x


Friday, 4 December 2015

French Food Friday...Truffes à la Noix de Coco


recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

Wow it's December and I am in the mood to make some treats... truffles are easy to make and if you like coconut, these are for you.

Note the recipe appears in French first and in English below.


Truffes à la Noix de Coco

Recipe type: desserts, truffes
parts: 20
Prep time: 
temps de cuisson: 
totale: 
Ingredients
  • 200 g de lait concentré sucré
  • 15 g de beurre
  • 120 g de noix de coco en poudre
Etapes de réalisation
  1. Dans une casserole, mélanger le beurre et le lait concentré. Faire chauffer à feu doux pendant une vingtaine de minutes, jusqu'à ce que le mélange se détache de la paroi.
  2. Hors du feu ajouter 100g de noix de coco. Bien mélanger puis laisser refroidir.
  3. Façonner les truffes et les rouler dans le reste de noix de coco.
Remarque
Les truffes se conservent bien 3-4 jours.

Coconut Truffles

200g condensed milk
15g butter  
120 coconut
 
Method
1. In a saucepan, combine the butter and condensed milk.  Heat over low heat for about twenty minutes, until the mixture starts to bubble.  
2. Next  add 100 grams of coconutMix well and let cool.  
3. Shape the truffles and roll them in the remaining coconut.
 
The truffles keep for 3-4 days should you wish to do so.

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Inspiring...


photo from here

Stumbled across this lovely photo on pinterest and thought that it was worth sharing. Natural decorations are a favorite of mine and this photo is a lovely example of why you do not need to spend a lot of money on Christmas decorations.....

à demain, Leeann x

Lest we forget