Friday, 23 June 2017

French food Friday - Raspberry Clafoutis

photo and recipe from here
 Bonjour mes belles,

It has been a very hot week and it is now starting to cool down. This week  I have not been in the mood to use the oven for long periods and I am looking forward to making a couple of dishes over the weekend.

As you know I love raspberries and clafoutis is an easy and very yummy dessert so I will be whipping one up over the weekend.

Raspberry Clafoutis


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 pints raspberries (3 cups)
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F /176 C.
     Butter a 9-inch gratin dish. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt. Whisk in the eggs, butter and lemon zest until smooth. Add the milk and whisk until light and very smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the gratin dish and top with the raspberries.

  2. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the clafoutis is set and golden. Let cool slightly. Dust with confectioners' sugar, cut into wedges and serve.
bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Monday, 19 June 2017

cleaning with vinegar

photo and tips from here

Bonjour from a very hot SW France,

According to the local news there are two régions experiencing a heat wave; Paris and SW France.
I am just happy that we are stocked up with water and icecream and I even managed to buy another of  the turbo fans before they all sold out - amazon premium I love you!

This week I am working on chores that should have got done before we got busy with guests. 

One of those chores is to paint our bedroom which has last painted around 8 years ago.
I love white walls , infact I love white....crisp white sheets, white towels, white monogrammed linen and on the list goes.

Before I got the painting underway  I had a quick search on the internet and found this fabulous blog post which suggests using vinegar, baking soda  and water to clean walls before painting.

I use vinegartro clean the electric jugs in the house and I have used it with newspaper to clean windows but I never thought about using it to clean paint brushes or the refridgerator.

I think that I maybe using it more often after finding this fabulous post.

Have a fabulous week, Leeann x

Friday, 16 June 2017

French Food Friday - Clafoutis Grandmere aux cerises

recipe and photo from here

Yesterday there were a lot of cherries on the market and I can not think of anything nicer to make than Clafoutis which is delicious when eaten hot or cold.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (for 8 people): -

600 g of cherries
40 g butter  +20g for greasing the dish
4 eggs 
200 ml milk 
100 g  flour
60 g  sugar 
1 sachet vanilla sugar (Note if you do not have this use a teaspoon of vanilla essence)
1 pinch of salt
Icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 210 ° C (thermostat 7).

Wash the cherries under a trickle of  water, trim  and drain them.
Remove the stones, note  the traditional recipe says leave them, so it is up to you to see if you leave them or not...

Dissolve 40 g of butter in a small heavy saucepan.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt and vanilla sugar. Whish the eggs lightly then add the milk and whisk together.

Add the melted butter and whisk again. Grease the dish, place the  cherries in the dish then pour the clafoutis mix over the top.

Put in the oven for 10 minutes at 210 ° C then turn it down to 180 ° C and bake for a further 20 minutes. Serve cold or warm, sprinkled with icing sugar.

bon appetit, leeann x

Monday, 12 June 2017

Champagne and roses

Bonjour mes belles,

No they are not for me, the roses and champagne have been ordered by our guest as a surprise for his wife's birthday. Such a lovely gesture and I am sure that she will adore the surprise.

We have also organised a petite surprise, a box of yummy macarons from our favourite patisserie.

A lovely way to start the week and all I need to do now is add some ice the minute they arrive and drape the white napkin across the champagne bucket....

Passe un bon lundi et surtout, garde le sourire ! Leeann x

Friday, 9 June 2017

French Food Friday - Pan Bagnat

photo and recipe from here

As soon as French Boyfriend enters our kitchen, he asks what are we going to eat? As you know eating is taken very seriously in France and our lives revolve around food.

The weather here has been fabulous and it is great picnic weather. This recipe is a great picnic recipe but you need to be organised and make the sandwiches the night before as it takes time for the flavours to develop.

It really is salade nicoise in a bun and it is very tasty.

serves 4


2 plum tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
Kosher salt, to taste
1 (5-oz.) can olive oil-packed tuna, drained
4 scallions, thinly sliced
12 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced into 2" lengths
13 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 (7-inch–round) rustic bread loaf, split (about 20 oz.)
1 small bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise
2 hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced crosswise
8 oil-cured anchovies, drained
10 salt-cured black olives, pitted and halved
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Sprinkle tomato slices liberally with salt and transfer to a colander; set aside to drain for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, break up tuna with a fork and stir in scallions and bell pepper; set aside. In another small bowl, whisk together oil and mustard; set dressing aside. Scoop the insides from the bread loaf and discard or reserve for another use. Place tomatoes evenly over bottom of bread and then top with fennel and cucumbers; spread tuna mixture over top, and then top with egg slices, anchovies, and olives. Pour dressing evenly over ingredients, and season with salt and pepper; cover with top of bread, pressing lightly to compact.

Wrap sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and place on a baking sheet; top with another baking sheet and weight with a cast-iron skillet. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Slice into quarters to serve.

bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

a pop of colour

There is nothing like a couple of hortensias to add a bit of pop to a neutral decor.

Normally I prefer the blue but I am loving the burst of colour they bring to our hall.

amicalement from SW France, Leeann x

Monday, 5 June 2017

Look what I found

Bonjour mes belles,

Yesterday we had a vide-grenier taking place in the village in which we live and it was a large one -  250 stands.

Bigger does not always mean better and we know by experience that we find more at the smaller vide-greniers than we do at the large ones.

I popped out for a quick peak at what was on offer and returned with this child size mannequin which I did not expect to find. Most of the antiques on offer were being sold by dealers and were priced high, hence this was a lucky find for me.

Our guests who were staying especially for the vide-grenier returned with some lovely art deco plates and bowls and some fabulous 1930's wall lights. 

I also found this fabulous antique mustard pot which will be going in the shop and a lamp which is now in French Boyfriend's workshop as he will check that the wiring is okay.

Love the design and the lettering on the pot, they certainly  do not make things like they used to.... 

Bon début de semaine en commençant par un très beau lundi....

Leeann x

Friday, 2 June 2017

French food Friday - Chocolate and Raspberry Friands

Bonjour from a sunny SW France,

It has been a busy week baking wise and these chocolate and raspberry friands were a hit with both friends and guests. Even French Boyfriend gave them the thumbs up which is always a good sign and the French do love their cakes.

Chocolate and Raspberry Friands

75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
180g (1 1/2 cups) pure icing sugar
100g (1 cup) ground almonds
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 tablespoons hot water
3 eggs, lightly beaten
24 raspberries
100g reduced-salt butter, melted
1-2 teaspoons pure icing sugar (extra), sifted, for dusting

1) Preheat the oven to hot (200C).
2) Grease a 12-cup friand pan, and line the base of each mould with greaseproof paper.

3) Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar together into a medium-sized bowl, then stir in the ground almonds.

4) Dissolve the cocoa in the hot water in a small bowl.

5) Stir the eggs into the dry ingredients, then add the cocoa mixture and melted butter. Stir until smooth.

6) Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes and then spoon into the prepared pan.Place two raspberries in the centre of each friand.

7) Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180C and bake for another 15 minutes or until they spring back when touched lightly.

8) Allow the friands to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before turning out on to a clean tea towel.

9) Dust with the extra icing sugar prior to serving.

bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

NZ oignon anyone...

I could not resist taking a photo as it is rare to see products from other countries in the region in which we live and even rarer to find products that come from New Zealand, apart from good old NZ lamb.

End result I am cooking with NZ onions which make me cry more than a French onion, not sure why but they taste good....

à demain mes belles, Leeann x

Friday, 26 May 2017

French Food Friday - Basque Chicken

recipe and photo from here

This chicken stew is a French classic that was actually invented in a Paris restaurant and has nothing to do with the Basque region of France. It really is a one-pot wonder, and is best served with  green beans or a leafy green salad.

Basque Chicken

Serves 4.
2 tablespoons olive oil
500 grams (1 pound) chicken thigh fillets
2 green peppers
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 slices of Virginia ham, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon vegetable stock powder
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed casserole dish and brown the chicken on all sides.
2. Slice the green peppers into large strips. Add the peppers, diced onion, minced garlic and diced ham to the Dutch oven and cook for about 10 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes and stock powder, and season well with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes more.
4. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately.

bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Bonjour à tous

Here we have lot's of lovely sunshine and it  is as if Summer has arrived early. It starts of a bit chilly in the morning but by the time that the afternoon arrives, it is very warm and this week every day the maximum  climbs a degree, odd but true.

We spent Sunday at a local antique fair in a beautiful village in the heart of the Dordogne and it was hot. I was running out of layers to peel off and was thankful that I has thrown a sunhat in my basket as it turned out to be a real scorcher. So hot that I wanted an icecream and I was very happy when French Boyfriend and I finally found a place that was a)open and b)served icecream.
Sunday afternoon's are so sleepy in SW France and it is often  difficult to find something to eat on a Sunday afternoon as a lot of businesses are closed.

Enjoy what is left of the week, Leeann x

French food Friday - Raspberry Clafoutis

photo and recipe from here  Bonjour mes belles, It has been a very hot week and it is now starting to cool down. This week  I h...