Friday, 31 May 2013

French Food Friday...Pots de Crème with Chocolate, Chile and Espresso

photo and recipe from here

This week's recipe is inspired by one of my favourite films Chocolat which I never get sick of watching as everytime that I watch it I notice a detail that I missed last time round.

Pots de Crème with Chocolate, Chile and Espresso

  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN

2 1/4 cups light cream or half-and-half
2 dried ancho chiles—stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 1/2 ounces/ 135 grams bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
Boiling water
Lightly sweetened whipped cream and dulce de leche, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Add the chiles, cover and set aside to steep for 45 minutes. Strain the cream into a bowl and discard the chiles.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate and 1/2 cup of the strained cream and cook over low heat, stirring, until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the sugar and salt. Stir the remaining strained cream into the saucepan. Gently warm the chocolate cream over low heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks until slightly thickened. At low speed, beat in one-fourth of the warm chocolate cream along with the vanilla and espresso powder. Return the mixture to the chocolate cream in the saucepan and cook over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Set six 4-ounce ramekins in a baking pan and divide the custard among them. Fill the pan with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil and poke several holes in the top. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the custards are just set and a dark rim has formed around the edge. Remove the foil and let the custards cool in the water, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream and warmed dulce de leche.
Make Ahead The pots de crème can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
....bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 29 May 2013


photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I am not sure what has happened to the sunshine, it has disappeared  and it has turned cold here hence I am in the mood to stay in doors and work on some projects.

One involves painting and is drying at present so hope to show you the finished product tomorrow.

The other is inspired by the above photo which I adore. As you know I am a great fan of using moss around plants and in vases but I like the idea of using dry roses as they make a lovely contrast against the greeness of the moss.

All I need now is some roses.....

à très bientot, Leeann x


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Fabulous Dior...

all photos from here

What can be more fabulous or French than Dior?

I just had to share these images of the Dior Ready-to-Wear Fall 2013 collection in Opéra Garnier, Paris, with you.

More on DIORMAG:
Dior Ready-to-Wear Fall 2013
This last photo is my favourite as I LOVE that staircase!
 amicalement, Leeann x 

Monday, 27 May 2013

arrived today....

Look at what has arrived today.....

I am afraid that my photos do not do her justice and the charger for my camera is on the blink so I have had to borrow French Boyfriend's until the new charger arrives.

It is rare nowdays to find a statue of the Virgin Mary  that is not broken so this antique statue is a rarity and a stunning object.

A close up of her lovely face, so serene .....

I love the deatils on the base....

She is made from white porcelain "biscuit" and dates from the late 1880's, circa Napoléon III and is in perfect condition.

For more details, please click here.

Très bonne journée à toutes et tous, Leeann x

Sunday, 26 May 2013

bonne fête des mères...

Une mère est un trésor pour l'enfant... Les yeux des mères sont les yeux par lesquels les enfants perçoivent que l'amour existe en ce monde.
Joyeuse Fête des mères à toutes les mamans du monde...
Leeann x


photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I just had to share this photo with you. For me it is fabulous and oh so French. Love the red, it is very inspiring and one of my favourite colours....

très bon week-end à tous, Leeann

Friday, 24 May 2013

beautiful new arival at Fabulously French...

A beautiful new arrival at Fabulously French.

This is called a Globe de Mariée and is something that would have been kept by a newly married couple to display the keepsakes from their special day. 

Usually this has a glass dome over it to protect it from dust and wind and breakage but as the globes are very fragile, many were broken and you often find them minus the glass globe just like this one.

You can add anything to this to make it your own. Great to dispaly your jewelry on it or a bedroom focal piece.  I have mine on my vanity to showcase my favourite  jewellery pieces!

more info:
The tradition of Globe de Mariée Display pieces began in France, in the 1800′s. It was a display for married couples, to preserve their wedding souvenirs as well as tell the story of their wedding & life together. Placed prominently in the formal dining room, it held the Bride’s Crown, or Bridal Tiara made from fresh or wax Orange Blossoms, at times her Wax Floral Bouquet.

The bride & groom chose items for their personalized display such as mirrors, porcelain pieces, and ormolu {gold plated}cut-outs. Each had a special and very personal meaning to them, it was a symbol that told the story of the bridal couple. The number of small diamond-shaped mirrors represented the number of children the couple hoped for.Over the years special items were added, photographs, little locks of their babies hair, jewelry, more ormolu symbols. 

Each was carefully pinned to the velvet or silk cushion, most of the cushions were Red, although Pink, Blue and Gold were also produced.

During the height of their popularity in the Napoleon III era, there were many ready-made bases couples could pick from, then add their choice of gilded symbols, mirrors, porcelain flowers, and other gilt decorations, making each one of these highly personal, and unique. After all the ormolu pieces were attached by the jeweler, the display piece was covered with a very fine, thin and handblown dome.Each symbol had meaning:

The Bird: The symbol of Love.
Leaves: Longevity of the Marriage Union.
Orange Blossoms: Virginity.
Roses: for eternal love.
Daisies: for purity and innocence.
Ivy Leaves: commitment to each other.
Lime Leaves: symbolized fidelity.
Oak Leaves: for strength and longevity of the couple.

Chestnut Leaves: for links to others.
Fig Leaves: for prosperity.
The tree: a symbol of love and strength.
Four Leaf Clover: Good Fortune {luck}
Sheaves of Wheat: fertility, and also to the resurrection of life.
Cherries: for protection against bad fortune.
Clusters of Grapes: prosperity.
The Dove: symbolized the desire for peace in the home.
The Bird holding a laurel wreath: symbolized that as a bird makes its nest, so does the woman build her family.

Each mirror had meaning:

The central {largest} mirror evoked the reflection of the soul, symbolizing the truth.

Rectangular mirrors were related to the number of years between the couple’s meeting and their promised marriage.

The oval mirrors were good luck gifts offered by the bridesmaids.

The number of small diamond-shaped mirrors represented the number of children the couple wished for.

The trapezoidal mirror symbolized the perfect agreement.

You will find details of the one that we have available for sale here.

bonne fin de semaine à tous, Leeann x

French Food Friday...Chocolate Fondant

photo from here

I have always had a bit of a soft spot for Gordon Ramsey and when he says that this is his favourite recipe then it must be good.

Gordon says: ‘Whenever I’m asked for my favourite recipe, this is the one. It has a divine melting texture and the liquid centre is sublime.’

Makes: 4
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time:
15 minutes

You will need
50g unsalted butter, plus extra, softened, to grease
2 tsp cocoa powder, to dust
50g good-quality dark, bitter chocolate(minimum 70% cocoa solids), in pieces
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
60g caster sugar
2 tbsp Tia Maria
50g plain flour, sifted
Crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream, to serve

1. Heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Butter four 7.5cm dariole moulds (ideally non-stick) or ramekins and place in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up the butter.
2. Butter the moulds again and dust liberally with cocoa powder. Place in the fridge while you prepare the fondant mixture.
3. Melt the chocolate and butter in a small bowl set over a pan of hot water. Take off the heat and stir until smooth.
4. Using an electric whisk, beat the whole egg, egg yolk and sugar together until pale and thick, then fold in the chocolate mixture. Fold in the liqueur, followed by the flour.
5. Divide the chocolate mixture evenly among the ramekins and bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
6. Run a knife around the edge of the dishes and turn the chocolate fondants out onto warm plates. Alternatively you can leave them in the ramekins. Serve immediately, with a dollop of crème fraîche or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Recipe, Ramsay’s Best Menus by Gordon Ramsay

...bon appetit à tous, Leeann

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

weekend tresors..

Bonjour mes amies,

It has been another of those days where nothing is going according to schedule but in a good way. 

Finally got around to taking some photos of some of the tresors that we found at the weekend.

The first find of the day was this this vintage plant holder which is adorable and I think it would look great with a wee plant in in. I have put some moss in the hole where the plant goes....

You will find details here.

Next up was a couple of Napoleon III crucifixes which I have yet to put on the online shop.

As you know I have a thing about marriage globes and this one was too good to pass up, it was very carefully carried home. I was happy to find it as it is complete and blue interiors are rare to find these days. 

Blue is my favourite colour, note it is for sale but is collection only as the glass is too fragile an item to send by the post.

Next up was a set of two Larousse encyclopedias which are dated 1917.

 Love the detail on each page and I never tire of looking at old books, especially French ones.

I especially love the coloured gravures, they are gorgeous and most inspiring.

This particular one is my favourite, the title is "Modern House", if only all modern houses  looked like this....

and the interior of the "modern house" is as fabulous as the exterior....

The next gravure shows a selection of beds or lits as they are called in French....

One of the last finds of the weekend were these irons which have been painted and the seller informs me that they make great book-ends.....

I am off to attack my pile of repassage (ironing) and feel that I maybe gone some time!

à très bientot, Leeann x


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

fabulously French...

photo from here

I could not resist sharing a photo of my favourite French actress; Marion Cotillard. Not only is she a real stunner, she is also one of the finest actresses that France has produced.

Fabulous and oh so French.....

Leeann x

p.s. We were busy in the shop today so did not have time to photograph the weekend tresors but hope to do so tomorrow. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

just another day...

Bonjour mes belles,

A couple of weeks ago, a lovely English couple came into our new shop and commented how lovely the countryside is here in the Dordogne and what a lovely slow pace of life it is.

A week later, French guests that live in Antibes,  made the same comment and said they adored the pace of life and found the village and the locals friendly.

This morning, whilst heading home from a local brocante, we were greeted by this gorgeous is he and I loved the way that he just strutted out in front of the est vraiment charmant, la vie ici n'est-ce pas?
And to think that some people think that the pace of life in this part of France is slow......

à demain, Leeann x 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

bon week-end à tous...

photo from here

Just wanted to wish you all a TRES BON WEEK-END...

amicalement, Leeann x

Friday, 17 May 2013

French Food Friday...Strawberry Coulis

Bonjour mes belles,

We have a lot of strawberries in the house which need? to be eaten quickly which is fine by me as I adore them so this week's recipe has a strawberry theme to it.

This coulis is very yummy, not too sweet and is a perfect standby sauce, as you can  make it ahead of time. 

 recipe and photo from here

Here in France, this coulis is sometimes served poured over summer fruits and drizzled with single cream as a refreshing dessert, called fruit soup or as it is known here soupe de  fraises. 

Strawberry Coulis

Serves: 6 as a sauce or 2 as a soup (approx 400ml)  
Preparation time: 10 minutes  
Cooking time: 10 minutes

You will need
750g ripe strawberries (hulled and quartered) or raspberries
60g caster sugar
Freshly squeezed juice of
1 lemon

1. Rinse the fruit in a colander. Briefly shake off any excess water – a little leftover water will encourage the fruit to release its juices.
2. Put the fruit and sugar in a pan and heat very gently to prevent it from scorching. Simmer softly for 10 minutes, or until the fruit has lost its shape. Strain through a sieve, making sure to work the pulp with the back of a spoon in order to extract as much juice as possible. Add the lemon juice (also through the sieve).
3. Stir well before serving. The coulis will keep for up to one week in an airtight container in the fridge. 

....bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

cushion love....

photo from here

Following from yesterday's post where I posted a photo of a couple of new grain sacks, I thought that it was worth sharing this photo as the cushions have been made from old sacks and they look fabulous....

amicalement from a gray SW France, Leeann x

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

weekend tresors...

Bonjour from a sunny SW France,

Wish that the sun had been shining on Sunday when we were hunting for treasures at a nearby vide grenier but it was rainy and cold hence we are hoping for better weather this sunday as there is a brocante/vide grenier taking place in our village so I plan to spend the morning treasure hunting while French Boyfriend is selling his/our wares as he is having a stand  "comme d'habitude".

My favourite find of the day was this fabulous portrait which is florentine and as you know, this isa favourite style of mine and I collect and sell a lot of platters in this style.

It was French Boyfriend who found the enormous rosary, this is the type that was worn around the waist on the pilgrimage to Compostela  and this particular one is dated 1883.

A glamorous find was this pair of vintage oversized sunglasses which really are fabulous....

As if we do not have enough sacks, we have a couple more in stock which are identical in design and are in great condition. Perfect for making cushions or displaying on the wall. You will find them here.

Fingers crossed for Sunday's brocante/vide grenier as we are expecting around 400 sellers so hope that the sun is shining and for those of you that want to make a day of it, there will be a farmers market taking place in the grounds of the old chateau where buy lots of lovely local food and enjoy eating them on-site.

à demain, Leeann x

Monday, 13 May 2013

Fabulously french the beret....

 all photos from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend, ours as normal was another busy one and it was over before we knew it.

For me, one of my favourite French icons is the "beret".

So fabulously classic and yet so versatile, it goes with anything and everything....

We have just received a fabulous vintage french beret at Fabulously French, should you feel the urge to pop on a beret...

bon debut de semaine à tous, Leeann x

Sunday, 12 May 2013

made me miss NZ....

photo from here

Bonsoir mes belles,

This photo made me smile and at the same time, a little bit homesick for New Zealand. 

Do you know that in NZ there are only 4 million people and yet there are around 60 million sheep.......

amicalement, Leeann x

Friday, 10 May 2013

french food friday...Garlic Chicken with Herbes de Provence

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

This weeks recipe features herbes de provence which are a firm favourite of mine and I am slowing working my way through the sack of herbes de provence that I bought when I was last in Provence.

Note for those of you that already have the herbs already mixed you can substitute the bay leaves, rosmary and thyme with a couple of tablespoons of your mixed variety.

Garlic Chicken with Herbes de Provence

Preparation time:
10 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating
Cooking time:
205 minutes
Total time:
4 hours 35 minutes 



  • 15g pack fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ bulb of garlic cloves
  • 6 Waitrose Fresh Organic British Free Range Chicken Legs
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 15g pack fresh rosemary
  • 15g pack fresh thyme
  • 300ml chicken stock


  1. In a pestle and mortar, pound the tarragon with ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon oil and 3 cloves garlic into a paste.
  2. Make a little pocket under the skin at the top of each chicken thigh and stuff 1 teaspoon of the tarragon mixture into it. Spread the rest over the legs.
  3. Place the chicken pieces in a plastic food bag with the wine and remaining garlic, thickly sliced, and expel as much air from the bag as possible. Marinate in the fridge for about an hour. Then remove the chicken and pat dry on kitchen paper. Strain the marinade and reserve the garlic, but discard the wine. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.
  4. In a large flameproof casserole, heat the remaining olive oil over a medium-high heat and fry the chicken legs skin-side down in 2 batches until the skin is golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  5. Allow the pan to cool down, then place the herbs and reserved garlic in the casserole. Add the chicken pieces, skin-side up, then pour in the stock.
  6. Cover with greaseproof paper. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 140°C, gas mark 1. Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and there is no pink meat. Serve the casserole, minus the herb sprigs, with the mixed bean and rocket salad.
....bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 9 May 2013

a good idea...

photo from here

For those of you that collect corks and do not know what to do with them, you could always make stamps.

Makes a change from using potatoes!

à plus tard, Leeann x

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

latest finds...

Bonjour mes belles,

Today it is a holiday in France as it is the Fête de la Victoire 1945, victory in Europe day which marks the end of hostilities in Europe in World War II.

Today it was one of the biggest brocantes in the area which meant a very early start for us as there was close to 400 stands which were very spread out, hence comfortable shoes were a requirement.

One of my favourite finds of the day is this fabulous antique top hat....

The interior is just as nice as the exterior and comes complete with monogrammed initials of the original owner.....

I am particularly taken with this pair of antique eye glasses, they are the type that you perch on the end of your nose....

This antique French wall plaque is a silver medal for having the best agricultural products in 1861, you will find more details here

A little bit different to the objects of devotion that I normally stumble across is this fabulous florentine style crucifix which is so adorable....

As you know I love antique French clocks and am not fussed if they work or not, so this one was promptly purchased and popped into my shopping basket.....note I have yet to list it on the online shop. 

Followed by this vintage French bar menu holder which is another decorative piece......

together with one of the most beautiful virgin marie statues that I have ever come across, sorry ladies I am keeping this one for me....

I am not sure what I will do with these beauties but I was attracted to them as they came complete with boxes and I thought that may make great Christmas decorations.....

Think that just about does it, I am now off to learn all about the history of top hats...

à demain, Leeann x

Gluten free

Gluten free raspberry and lemon muffins Bonjour mes belles, I cannot believe it has been over a week since my last post. I have b...