Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Who needs a watch?



When I lived in Istanbul I loved the cry of the mosques. They sound so exotic and for me, they were a reminder that I was  living in a fabulous foreign country.

Here in France we have the church bells which I sometimes take for granted. Normally I am up before the first chimes of the day but this morning I had a lie in. As I laid in bed I though to myself, I wonger what time it is? A couple of minutes later, the church bells started ringing....one, two,  three, four, five; six, seven, eight and there they stopped.

Then they start ringing loudly and continuously for a few minutes as to to say it's time to get going!

The bells are the voice of the community.  They talk to us.

The bells talk about death, birth, weddings, baptisms, Easter, Christmas, funerals and special alerts.   They call us to wake, to pray, to work, to arms, to feast and, in times of crisis, to come together. Above all, bells are the sound of freedom and peace as in World War II they hung silently until the day they could ring in the peace.

French Catholic tradition says that on Good Friday (the Friday before Easter), all church bells in France sprout wings and fly down to the Vatican for a visit and to be blessed by the Pope.
So no church bells ring between Friday and Easter Sunday morning, to commemorate the death of Jesus (and because they’re all in Rome, obviously).
After their getaway to Italy, the bells return to France laden with goodies for well-behaved children — namely chocolate eggs. And then during the church services of Easter Sunday, the bells go crazy once again in celebration of Jesus' resurrection. 

On that note I had better go, as soon as the bells chime once French Boyfriend will be here for lunch. Note every half hour they chime once so it is an easy mistake to think that it is 13h when it is infact 13h30.

à très bientot, Leeann x

Friday, 17 March 2017

Friday flowers



This week has been a week filled with lots of lovely sunshine.

We even had a pique-nique lunch mid week which was just fabulous. 

  
Spotted these lovely daffodils in the park where we were having our pique-nique and I just had to take a photo.

Vive la pique-nique! The French love them and I must admit that  I feel the same way.


bonne fin de semaine à tous, Leeann

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

it's that time of the year

It's that time of the year when the magnificent magnolia bursts into bloom. A truly magical sight and reminds me of the magnolia tree that my nana had in her garden.

Spring is here and we are loving every minute....




à demain, Leeann x

Friday, 10 March 2017

French Food Friday Chocolate Madeleines


recipe and photo from here
Continuing with the chocolate theme, I think that some chcolate madeleines are on the cards this weekend.  This is one of the best recipes that I have come across but  you need to chill this recipe overnight but they are well worth the wait as the result is a plump and moist petit cake.

Chocolate Madeleines




Author:


Ingredients
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (70 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3½ tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • ⅓ cup plus two tablespoons (90 grams) sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Grated zest of ¼ lemon (optional)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6½ tablespoons (3¼ ounces; 100 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

Instructions

  1. Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder and set aside. If using the lemon zest, combine the sugar, salt and lemon zest in another bowl and rub the ingredients together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist, grainy and aromatic.
  2. Using a whisk, beat the eggs with the lemon-sugar mixture until blended. Squish the butter through your fingers and add to the bowl. You will be left with little clumps of butter in the mixture--this is okay. Beat in the butter with the whisk until it is evenly distributed. Whisk in the sifted flour mixture just until the flour is incorporated and mixture is smooth. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and chill overnight. If you can't wait overnight, chill the batter for at least an hour before baking.
  3. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Butter a 12-mold madeleine pan then dust it with flour (even if you are using a nonstick pan) and tap out the excess.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the madeleine molds--you don't have to worry about spreading the batter on the molds, the heat will do that for you. Place the pan in the oven and use a wooden spoon to keep the oven door slightly ajar. Immediately turn down the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake the cookies for 13 - 15 minutes, or until the cookies are domed and spring back when pressed lightly. Unmold the cookies and transfer them to a rack to cool to room temperature.

bon appetit à tous, Leeann 

p.s. For those of you looking for a madeleine tin, I have a couple available on my shop, you can find them here.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Friand update






Since Friday I have made two batches of the jaffa friands which have been a hit with guests and French Boyfriend tells me they are his favourite. 

I have been trying to explain to him what jaffa sweets are but he does not really get it hence I may have to try and order some from Australia...

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x




Friday, 3 March 2017

French food Friday - Jaffa friands

 
recipe and photo from here


This week  everything that I have made has chocolate in it. Continuing with this theme, I am going to make some friands as I have a lot of eggs on hand. 

I love friands as they they have a fabulous texture which is due to the ground almonds and egg whites. It is an Australian recipe and I have Australia on my mind today as I have a bouquet of mimosa in my hall which smells heavenly.


Jaffa friands

 Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar mixture
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
  • 6 egg whites, lightly whisked
  • 185g butter, melted, cooled
  • Icing sugar mixture, to serve
     
     

    Method

    • Step 1 Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Grease a 12-hole, 1/2 cup-capacity friand pan.
    • Step 2 Sift icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl. Add almond meal, flour and orange rind. Stir to combine. Make a well in centre. Add egg whites and butter. Stir to combine.
    • Step 3 Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre of 1 friand comes out clean. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar. Serve.
     
    bon fin de semaine à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 2 March 2017

fabulously chic



Bonjour from a sunny SW France,

We have sunshine and 20 degrees forecast for tomorrow followed by a weekend of rain so I plan to make the most of the sunshine tomorrow.

I have just added a set of fabulous monogrammed napkins to the shop and thought it was worth letting you know as I have sold all of the monogrammed napkins that I had listed on the shop.



There is 6 of them and they are in excellent condition as they have spent most of their life sitting in an armoire in a local chateau. 

 They really are stunning and make a table look that extra bit special.


In the photo below you can see just how beautiful the linen is and  the detail around the border is amazing yet not too fussy, simpe but chic.

You can read more about them here.

I am off to prepare dinner....simple comes to mind.


à demain, Leeann x