Sunday, 30 April 2017

Fabulous and very French


A stunning front door with the most fabulous  hardware, I love that heart shaped key hole, c'est très romantique....

à demain, Leeann x

Friday, 28 April 2017

Friday flowers


Bonjour mes belles,

Apologies for the lack of posts but I have a few projects on the go this week and everything appears to be all happening at the same time.

This week our village is hosting a flower and bee festival so fingers crossed for lots of lovely sunshine. The above photo is from the same festival in 2011 and I am hoping that the same seller returns this year as I would love to buy some more of his lovely peonies.

très bon week-end à tous, Leeann 


Monday, 24 April 2017

Perfect Picnic Weather...


Bonjour from a very sunny SW France,

Yesterday was like a summers day albeit a chilly start but it quickly warmed up to 24 degrees. 
Perfect weather for a picnic so out came the picnic hamper, the table and chairs were given a quick clean and off we set.  

I cannot think of a nicer way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately we could not spend the whole Sunday afternoon lazing about as French Boyfriend had to return to the village to vote.

Today I am doing a bit of  Spring cleaning and after I have had enough cleaning, I will take a few photos of  a couple of new items that  I found for the shop.

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x


Friday, 21 April 2017

French food Friday...Classic Lemon Tart

 
recipe and photo from here
 
This week I am in the mood for something with lovely lemons, here is a recipe from one of my favourite food blogs written by a fellow kiwi. 

Classic Lemon Tart

Ingredients
110g cold butter, chopped
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 1/3 cups plain flour
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 egg yolk plus 2 egg yolks (reserve 1 egg white and lightly whisk)
1 teaspoon iced water
4 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar (1 cup for extra- sweet-tooths)
200mls cream
250mls freshly squeezed lemon juice
baking spray
 
METHOD
Put the cold butter in a food processor and add flour, icing sugar and lemon zest. Pulse to combine then add 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of iced water. Pulse until the mixture forms big clumpy breadcrumbs and starts coming together. Tip out onto a clean bench and press and squash together into a round disc.
 
 Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for half an hour. Preheat the oven to 180 ˚C (350˚F) and remove the pastry from the fridge.
 Let it sit for 5 minutes then roll out on a lightly floured surface until it is 5cm bigger than your 25cm removable base tart tin. Spray the tin very lightly with baking spray and use a paper towel to wipe off any excess. Use a fish slice (I actually use a thin metal pizza paddle) to slip it off the bench and into the tin. Press firmly into the base and sides and prick the base lightly with the tines of a fork. Pop in the freezer for 10 minutes.
 
 Whisk eggs with remaining yolks, sugar, and cream. Don't whisk it too hard or you will make it foamy and bubbly - gently does it. Stir in lemon juice. 
 
 Cut a circle of baking paper 5cm bigger than the tart tin, place in the tin and fill with either baking beans or rice. Bake for 12 minutes, brush the base with a little reserved egg white and bake a further 10 minutes. 
Put the tart base on a baking tray and place back in the oven. Pour the filling through a sieve into a jug and carefully pour straight into the base in the oven. 
 
Reduce oven temperature to 150˚C and bake 25-30 minutes until the filling is just set, but still with a bit of wobble in the middle. Cool in the tin before removing to serve to your very lucky guests! Serves 8-10.
 
bon vendredi à tous, Leeann  x

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

chilled out


After a very busy Easter, I think that some rest and recreation is required. These local cows seem so relazed having a snooze in the lovely Spring sunshine. Here's to snoozing in the sunshine...


à demain mes belles, Leeann x


Friday, 14 April 2017

French Food Friday - Chocolate Biscuits




Bonjour mes belles,

This week's recippe is a favourite and is a hit with young and old. I have already made a couple of batches this week.

Chocolate Biscuits

Ingredients

    2 & 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
    1/2 c. cocoa powder (dutch-process or natural works)
    1 cup (227 grams) regular salted butter
    1 c. sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp. vanilla

Instructions
    Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment or a silicone baking mat if you have either of those.
    Cream together the butter and sugar until light an fluffy (1-2 full minutes). Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.
    Whisk flour and cocoa powder together and then slowly add to the butter mixture by spoonfuls with mixer at low speed. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
    Lightly dust rolling surface with coco powder or flour or a mixture of both. (I use cocoa powder). Roll dough about 1/4 inch thick. It helps to roll soft dough in between sheets of plastic wrap or parchment and then place them in the fridge for about 15 minutes (or the freezer for 5-10) until firm.
    Cut out shapes and place on baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set. Sometimes it's hard to tell with chocolate cookies when they are done, so just watch for the dough to not look "wet" anymore and the edges should be holding their shape nicely.
    Let cookies cool for 2-3 minutes and then use a spatula to place them on a cooling rack.



              Joyeuses Pâques à tous,  Leeann



Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Perfect for Easter - Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nests


recipe and photo from here

Today is the calm before the storm as tomorrow is the day that I start preparing for Easter. Our house appears to have been taken over by bunnies this year.

When I saw these nests,  I thought that they would be perfect for the young guests that we have staying at present.

It is an easy recipe and involves nutella, but if you do not like nutella you could use melted white or dark chocolate.

Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nests

Yield: 10 nests
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 17-20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • Chocolate Easter Egg Candy (use your favorite)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir until combined. Add in the coconut and mix well.
  3. With a spoon, scoop up about 2 Tablespoons of the dough and place the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Form the cookies into the shape of a bird nest. Press down the center with your thumb.
  4. Bake cookies for 17 to 20 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and press your thumb down in the center of the nests again. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes or until they are firm and set. Remove with a spatula onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.
  5. Place about a tablespoon of Nutella in the center of each nest. Place 3 egg candies in the center of the nest. Finish decorating the nests and serve.
Note-you can make these 2-3 days in advance. Store in an air tight container on the counter.

amicalement from a very sunny and warm SW France, Leeann

Sunday, 9 April 2017

lovely lilacs


Bonjour mes belles,

Sorry for the lack of post on Friday but it has been a busy few days and I promise that I will make it up to you with two recipes this week.

Yesterday there was a knock on my front door and when I opened it all I could see was lilacs.

Merci to my lovely French neighbour for these beauties which came direct from her lovely garden.

Their parfum is heavenly amd our dining room smells divine.

I hope that you are having a fabulous weekend, here it is exceptionally warm and we have a high of 26 degrees forecast for today.

très bon dimanche à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 6 April 2017

for Elizabeth


ancien laverie, Montresor

Elizabeth commented on my post about the laverie that she had three in her village and it reminded me of one that we had visited on our travels in France. I  thought that it was in the lot but it turned out to be one that we saw when we visited Montresor in the loire valley. What made this laverie that extra bit special, was the fact that it was situated on the edge of the river so you could take in the fabulous view whilst you did your washing.

Montresor has been classified one of the most beautiful villages in France and it also has a fabulous boulangerie/patisserie as we found out, their cakes were fabulous.


We loved the architecture in the Loire and the streets were clean and well looked after, which is quite a contrast to where we live. 



Last but not least, I think that this photo taken during out visit to Montresor captures the spirit of the village, sleepy and authentically charming.



à plus tard, Leeann x






1789 Rights of "Man"

Bonjour mes belles,

I purchased this affiche on Sunday and I had a lot of fun during the negotiation process.

As a firm believer in woman's rights,after all  I was born in New Zealand which was the first country to give women the right to vote, I started up an interesting conversation with a couple of male dealers who could not believe that I thought that this was sexist as it is called "the Declaration of the rights of the man and the citizen".

Fortunately French Boyfriend was out of earshot as I am not sure that he would have agreed and no doubt put me in my place.
  
Thanks to wikipedia, you can read all about it here.
 
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (French: Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen), passed by France's National Constituent Assembly in August 1789, is a fundamental document of the French Revolution and in the history of human and civil rights.

The Declaration was directly influenced by Thomas Jefferson, working with General Lafayette, who introduced it.Influenced also by the doctrine of "natural right", the rights of man are held to be universal: valid at all times and in every place, pertaining to human nature itself. 

It became the basis for a nation of free individuals protected equally by law. It is included in the preamble of the constitutions of both the Fourth French Republic (1946) and Fifth Republic (1958) and is still current. Inspired in part by the American Revolution, and also by the Enlightenment philosophers, the Declaration was a core statement of the values of the French Revolution and had a major impact on the development of freedom and democracy in Europe and worldwide.
The Declaration, together with Magna Carta, the American Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, inspired in large part the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


It is available to purchase, you will find it here.


à demain, Leeann x

Monday, 3 April 2017

doing the washing


Bonjour mes belles,

It has been an eventful weekend as I developed a horrible toothache which required a visit to an emergency dentist.

The emergency dentist just happened to be situated across the road from a carpark where a monthly antiques fair was taking place, this made me happy and sad at the same time. 

Happy that I had finally got an opportunity to see a dentist, most in our area are booked up for months and half of which are on holiday at present, mine included and sad that I would be waiting to see the dentist whilst others were buying up all the tresors as it really is a case of first come, first served.

After a couple of injections and a temporary fix, I was ready to go.

I found a few items which I will add to the shop tomorrow.

Nearby to one of the markets, I discovered this fabulous old laverie, which a long time ago was used for washing clothes etc. and is nowdays home to a lot of lovely gold fish.



Je vous souhaite un bon lundi et un bon début de semaine!  Leeann x


French Food Friday - Lemon and blueberry madeleines.

recipe and photo from here Bonjour mes belles, It is time to get your madeleine tins out as I have found a fabulous and very yummy ...