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Showing posts from November, 2013

French food friday....crème caramel

recipe and photo from here

 Bonjour from a chilly SW France,

I am in the mood for caramel and hope that you are too.....

crème caramel
Serves: 8Preparation time: 30 minutes (plus 4 hours refrigeration)Cooking time: 1 hour

You will need170g caster sugar375g tin sweetened condensed milk5 eggs600ml milk400ml tin half-fat coconut milk
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
2. To make the caramel, put the sugar in a small heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Stir occasionally with a fork until the sugar has dissolved and the caramel is dark golden.
3. Remove from the heat and pour carefully into a non-metallic 23cm ovenproof dish (hold the dish with a tea towel while you pour the caramel – it will be very hot). Put the dish in a deep roasting tin.
4. Whisk together the condensed milk, eggs, milk and coconut milk. Strain into the dish over the caramel. Pour hot water into the roasting tin to reach halfway up the dish (this turns it into a bain-marie), …

love this...

photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,
There is something about toile de jouy that is timeless and looking at this photo makes you understand why....fabulous and very French!
à très bientot, Leeann x

Happy St. Catherine’s Day.....

Today, November 25, marks the day where single French ladies celebrate the steadfast resolve of a fourth-century gal named Catherine of Alexandria, today our Patron Saint of Milliners and Couture. 

The story goes that Roman Emperor Maxentius had his eye on Catherine, but she refused to marry him and was promptly executed. (Another story, by way of the church, says she was executed for spreading Christianity across Europe.) Either way, Catherine was named the patron saint of unmarried women nine centuries later, and on this day, girls in France place hats on their heads—traditionally a starched cap on the eldest unmarried woman in town and paper bonnets on the heads of the others—and spend the day praying to St. Catherine for husbands, and to honour women who've reached 25 years of age but haven't married—called "Catherinettes" in France.

Catherinettes send postcards to each other, and friends of the Catherinettes make hats for them—traditionally using the co…

French Food Friday...Pear and Almond Frangipane Tart

photo and recipe from here Bonjour mes belles, This weeks recipe comes from my favourite food blog which just happens to be written by a fellow kiwi. It is a little ironic as I had already found a French recipe in a cook book written by Sophie Dudemaine and then Sarah featured this recipe so it was fate.....that and the fact that French Boyfriend loves pears and loves it when he walks in the door and there I am with tablier on, cooking up a storm. Pear and Almond Frangipane Tart 5 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scarped out with the tip of a knife
1/2 tsp almond essence
peel from 1 lemon
3 Berre Bosc or William pears
Put all ingredients (including vanilla bean seeds) except the pears in a big wide pot and bring to the boil stirring for a few minutes to dissolve sugar, then reduce to a simmer. In the meantime carefully peel your pears then put all together into the simmering liquid, if they are not fully covered add a little more water to cover them.
Leave to cook f…

simple yet chic...

photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,

As you all know  I am a great fan of pinterest, so many fabulous photos and ideas. It really is a great invention and I find it easier than storing lots of photos on my computer....

Found this photo this morning, such a great idea and the effect is so chic and fresh looking.

I have some glasses and a silver tray so just need some bulbs and nuts....I will add the nuts to my list for next week for my hunting and gathering mission. 

amicalement from a chillier SW France, Leeann x

decorating the natural way...

photo from here Bonsoir mes belles, I don't know about you but I am looking forward to starting the decorating, not long to go now. There is something about hunting and gathering that I enjoy and plan to do lots of it next week. Hunting for moss, pine cones and lots of lovely greenery. Nothing like a touch of green and the smell is lovely and fresh when you enter the house. Add a few lights and a few decorations strategically places and the job is done. Hence when I found this article, it was exactly what I needed to get me in hunting and gathering mode. amicalement, Leeann

week-end tresors...

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you all had a fabulous weekend. Yesterday we got up at 6am with a view to going treasure hunting. I had a quick look out the window, no sign of rain so said to FB looks okay, on y va.

The temperature reading in the car was 4 degrees so pleased that we had wrapped up warmly. Unfortunately there was thick fog and the country roads are a bit dangerous at the best of times and FB kept saying that he could not see a thing hence it was a miracle that we arrived in one piece.

Arrived at our destination a local hall in a small village with a few cars parked outside. I think that the cold and the fog had put a lot of people off the idea of having a stand.....

Despite the lack of sellers, I found a couple of fabulous items including a stunning antique French Pocket Watch Holder which was found in a local chateau. It even comes with a crown inside...

It really is a gorgeous piece and would make a fabulous gift.

In the photo below you can see the flower shaped hook which…

bon week-end à tous...

Just stopping by to wish you all a très bon week-end, where ever you are in the world, hope that you have a fabulous one.....

Leeann x

Made this last night.....

Bonjour mes belles,

Last night I made tarte aux pommes and posted a photo on facebook.

I had a request for the recipe and thought that I had already shared this with you but could not find it so here it is.

This recipe is a favourite of mine and French Boyfriend adores it.....end result in the winter months I make it at least, once a week.

The thin, crisp pastry shell is filled with a layer of almond cream made from both finely ground and coarsely chopped nuts that give the tart layers of texture. The thinly sliced apples on top caramelize as the tart bakes.

French Âpple Tarte
1 cup slivered almonds (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon melted butter, for brushing
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon dark rum
Baked Pastry Shell - I have tried all and I prefer ouff pastry best but it is up to you and which you prefer as it works with most kinds

3 large Golden Delicious apples—peeled, halved, core…

beaucoup de soleil...

Nothing nicer than seeing dazzling Autumn leaves basking in lots of lovely sunshine.....

amicalement, Leeann x

bonjour à tous...

Bonjour mes belles,

Today has been consumed by cleaning, sound familiar? Cleaning is one of those chores where you start small and end up big. End result mop, dyson and rest of cleaning club have all had lots of lovely exercise as has the iron!

It is supposed to get very chilly here so I am in cosy mode which has involved replacing summer  bed covers with nice feather duvets so I am looking forward to a cosy night with FB as my bed is looking rather fabulous and oh so clean. There is nothing nicer than freshly washing and ironed sheets, my idea of heaven.

Unfortunately I have not had time to photograph the rest of the goodies but hope to get back to this tomorrow.

I could not resist sharing a photo of one of the new arrivals as she really is stunning and a little bit different. I love the black background as it makes her pop out at you....a picture with a difference!

Back to the domestic duties, I must go......

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

week-end tresors....

Bonjour from a finally sunny SW France, I am feeling particularly happy today and have been all weekend and feel that the All Blacks defeating France in Rugby on Saturday night may have played a part in this bout of extreme happiness. Needless to say French Boyfriend is not as happy as you may well imagine and I have not helped matters by talking about it......
We had a good days treasure hunting yesterday and I am in the process of updating the on-line shop this morning whilst French Boyfriend is out searching for more treasure.

One of my personal favourites, is this stunning antique holy water font which is the nicest that I have ever come across.

The detail on the metal statue is amazing, right down too the angels that appear on the font part.

A close up of the angel who is holding a water jug pointed in the direction of the holy water font....

You will find her here.
Another find was this very decorative lion door knocker which is not old but has a lovely patina that comes with time.


French Food Friday...Pot de crème au chocolat

recipe and photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,

I am a caramel lover hence this recipe is one of my favourites. Caramel gives this classic French recipe a bit of a kick....the perfect kick start for the week-endpeut-être
Pot de crème au chocolat
Preparation time:  20 minutes plus one hour chilling time

You will need

For the salted caramel:
150g sugar
50g whipping cream
50g double cream
60g butter
Pinch of sea salt
For chocolate cream:
225g whipping cream
225ml milk
4 large egg yolks
45g sugar
180g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped Method

1.Make the caramel first. Put the sugar in a heavy-based pan over a moderate heat, stirring at all times until it begins to melt. Stop stirring and cook until the sugar has turned to a dark caramel.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cream, stirring constantly with a whisk – it will spit, so stand back. Add the butter and mix until it has melted (return it to a low heat if necessary). Sprinkle the salt over the caramel, st…

emergency first aid...

Bonjour from a still rainy SW France,

Our post lady informed me this morning that the wet weather is linked to the moon. Moon or not, I just wish that it would go away......

Looked at my latest acquisition this morning and thought that she looked a little sad compared to the other "ladies" so whipped out some lace and gently bandaged her, not a bad effort considering that it has probably been 20 years since I last attended a first aid course!

I think that the top piece would look better black but I do not have time this morning to get the paint out. What do you think, leave like this or paint it black? Speaking of paint, the other night I transformed a hanging star decoration, that was covered in black lace, with some white Annie Sloan paint and are very pleased with the result, photo to come I promise. I am supposed to be in shop mood today but am waiting for closing time as I have had some new cosy type curtains delivered this morning and am very impatient to hang them..... à pl…

good intentions...

Bonsoir mes belles,

Not sure where today has disappeared to and it appears to be getting darker earlier so feels later than it really is.

This morning saw the arrival of a carton of mulled wine spices which means that my wee boutique is smelling fabulous as will the house when I start using some....for me these is an essential item for getting cosy.

about an hour or so ago, I thought that I would step out and buy a magazine and on the way back from the square, you will never guess what I found in a friend's depot de vente....

She needs a bit of work as you can see from the photo but for 23 euros, it was a must have/ The stands alone are currently selling for around the 50 euro mark and my first thought was to buy it purely for the stand but now I am thinking that I quite like her shabby style.

It started with going out for a magazine and ended with carrying home you know what....a girl can never have to many, I now have 4 in my boutique and a 5th who resides in one of the apartments.


rainy day in SW France

photo from here Bonjour from a rainy SW France, We were hoping to finish moving all of our things out of the shop in Castillonnes today but the weather is not the best today as it is rainy and windy so fingers crossed that we have better weather tomorrow. As I write this post the rain has started to fall, there is rumble of distant thunder and a lovely smell of tart aux pommes cooking in the kitchen. I adore rainy days when inside...much nicer than being outside shifting furniture! très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x 

French Food Friday...Poires gratinées au roquefort

photo and recipe from here
Bonjour mes belles,

It is pear season here in France and I thought that this recipe was an interesting one when I first stumbled across it. The French classify this as a dessert recipe but I  thought that it would make for a great starter.....English version follows on after the original recipe.
Poires gratinées au roquefort Ingrédients150 g de Roquefort4   belles poires pas trop mûres75 g de mascarpone 30 g de pignons de pin 1 petit verre de porto ou de banyuls 1/2 citron Allumez le grill du four.
Épluchez les poires et coupez-les en deux. Frottez-les aussitôt avec le demi-citron pour éviter que la chair ne noircisse.
À l’aide d’une petite cuillère ôtez le cœur et creusez un trou un peu plus grand.
Disposez ces demi-poires sur un plat.
Écrasez le roquefort avec le mascarpone et le porto et remplissez en le coeur des poires.
Parsemez de pignons, poivrez et faites gratiner au four 10 minutes environ.
Servez avec le même vin que celui utilisé.