Friday, 30 September 2016

Friday flowers...



I could not resist buying these beauties from the market yesterday morning.  They really brighten up the dining room and I love how dainty they are...

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x 


Monday, 26 September 2016

Sunday Tresors..

Bonjour mes belles,

The weekend was a very busy one and I adored every minute of it. French Boyfriend spent yesterday morning hunting for trésors and I felt a little sad as I could not go with him.

I was very happy when he returned and asked if I wanted to go with him. Unfortunately the sky had clouded over and it started to rain.

A shower was not going to put me off and I was itching to buy something. My father always says that money burns a hole in my pocket and in this instance he was right.

It was lovely to catch up with the other dealers, many of whom I had not seen for a good month or so. One particular couple, are like kindred spirits we share the same taste so I was more than happy to spend most of my time at their fabulous stand.

I am always tempted to buy at their stand and yesterday was no exception and I returned with some lovely silver cutlery, most of which had never been used.

The first item I purchased was a set of fromage knives which will also look good on the breakfast table. They were still in their original box and each was individually wrapped...




Next I bought some matching forks, bigger knives and spoons and some fabulous crystal glasses.

A girl can never have too many glasses or monogrammed napkins. Merci encore to the lovely Marie France, who tucked the monogrammed napkin into my hand bag as a gift and that was before I had purchased anything.

It is moments like these, that make life that little bit extra special. Talking of special, I had better go as duty calls...

Have a fabulous week,Leeann x







Friday, 23 September 2016

French Food Friday...Coq au Vin


recipe and photo from here

This recipe comes from one of the first French cookery books that I have purchased and it is the most used recipe book in my kitchen.

I use the internet most of the time but when I am looking for a tried and tested recipe, it is back to Raymond I go and this book is fool proof hence the title "Foolproof French Cookery".


Coq au Vin

Preparation: 1 hour, plus 24 hours' marinating.
Serves 4

Ingredients

1.5kg Chicken, (free range or organic), cut into 10 pieces (ask your butcher to prepare this)
1 tbsp Plain flour
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 pinches Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the marinade
1 litre Full-bodied red wine, such as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon
3 Medium carrots, cut into slanted slices 1 cm (1/2 in) thick
2 Celery sticks, cut into slices 1 cm (1/2 in) thick
20 Baby onions, peeled but left whole
1 Bouquet garni (parsley stalks, 2 bay leaves, 6 sprigs thyme tied together)
1 tsp Black peppercorns, crushed

For the garnish
1 tbsp Olive oil
200g Smoked streaky bacon, rind removed, diced
400g Small button mushrooms, trimmed
1 tbsp Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method

Marinating the chicken
Bring the red wine to the boil and boil until reduced by a third, to remove the alcohol and concentrate the colour and flavour. Leave to cool. In a bowl, mix the chicken pieces, carrots, celery, baby onions, peppercorns and bouquet garni together and pour the cooled red wine over them. Cover with cling film, refrigerate and leave to marinate for 24 hours.  Place a colander over a large bowl and put the chicken mixture in it to drain off the marinade. Leave for a minimum of 1 hour to remove excess liquid. Separate the chicken, vegetables and herbs, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Season the chicken with 4 pinches of salt and 4 pinches of freshly ground black pepper. Reserve the liquid.
Toasting the flour
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Sprinkle the flour on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 8–10 minutes, until it is very lightly coloured. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2.
Frying the chicken
On a high heat, in a large, heavy-based casserole, heat the olive oil and colour the chicken pieces in it for 5–7 minutes on each side. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the drained vegetables and herbs to the casserole. Lower the heat to medium high and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly coloured.
Making the sauce
Spoon out most of the fat from the casserole, add the toasted flour and stir into the vegetables for a few seconds. On a medium heat, whisk in the wine marinade little by little; this will create a sauce and prevent lumps forming. Bring to the boil and skim any impurities from the surface. The wine marinade will be slightly thickened and have the consistency of a light sauce. Add the chicken pieces and return to the boil. Cover with a lid and cook in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
Finishing the sauce
If you wish you can serve the coq au vin as it is. But should you prefer a richer, more powerful sauce, drain it through a colander and, on a high heat, boil the sauce until it has reduced by one third. It should have acquired more body and become a rich, vinous colour. Pour the sauce back over the chicken and vegetables.
Cooking the garnish
Over a medium heat, in a medium non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil and cook the diced bacon in it for 30 seconds. Add the button mushrooms and cook for a further 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix the diced bacon and button mushrooms into the coq au vin. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve piping hot, straight from the casserole.

bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 22 September 2016

love this expression...

photo from here

Autumn is a 2nd Spring where each flower is a leaf. I adore Autumn and I am looking forward to getting cosy...

à demain mes belles, Leeann x

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Feeling sporty...


It is amazing what a difference a week makes. Last week we were roasting hence we had the air conditioning, fans etc. working overtime and this week all that is required is to leave a window open and let the cool breeze circulate around the house.

Our guests are feeling motivated by the cooler weather and every morning we have seen a steady stream of joggers and walkers head off for a jog before breakfast.

I even managed to drag French Boyfriend out yesterday for a brisk walk which was a lovely way to start the morning.


We even saw three swans floating calmly down the river and this morning's joggers reported that they had seen the same magical and calming sight as they seem to appear from nowhere and then disappear into the mist again...

Where ever you are, what ever you are doing, wishing you a très bonne semaine, Leeann x

 



Friday, 16 September 2016

French food Friday...Clafoutis salé d’épinards au saumon


photo and recipe from here

Bonjour from a cooler SW France,

The heat wave appears to have left France now and we can return to life as normal....

Today I am in the mood for something savoury and this recipe is perfect. The recipe appears in French followed by an English version below.

Ingrédients (4 personnes)
1 beau bouquet d’épinards frais
2 tranches de saumon fumé
25 cl de lait
50 g de farine
50 g de ricotta (ou de parmesan, ou gruyère selon ce que vous avez)
20 g de beurre
3 oeufs
Sel et poivre


1. Rincer les épinards, les blanchir 3 minutes à l’eau bouillante.
2. Les égoutter dans une passoire.
3. Dans un saladier, battre les œufs. Ajouter la farine puis le lait et le beurre fondu. Mélanger.
4. Ajouter le fromage, saler et poivrer.
5. Beurrer un plat à gratin, y ajouter les épinards et les morceaux de saumon puis ajouter l’appareil à clafoutis.
6. Enfourner à 180° pendant 40 minutes.

Ingrédients (Serves 4 )

1 nice bunch of fresh spinach
2 slices of smoked salmon chopped into small pieces
250 ml milk
50 g  flour
50 g ricotta  (or  parmesan or gruyère cheese or anything similar)
20 g butter melted
3 eggs
Salt & pepper


METHOD
1. Heat the oven to 180°.
2.Rinse the spinach, cook for  3 minutes in boiling water.
3. Leave to drain in a strainer.
4. In a bowl beat the eggs with a fork. Add the flour followed by the milk and then the melted butter. Mix well.
5. Add the cheese, salt and pepper.
6. Grease a gratin dish, place the spinach and the salmon pieces in the dish. Pour over the  clafoutis mixture.
7. Cook at 180° for 40 minutes.

bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

so pretty...


Yes I know too posts in one day, what has happened to me? After I finished my earlier post I received these lovely flowers and though that they were too pretty not to share with you.




So totally expected, they really made my day and I hope that they brighten yours....Leeann x

too hot to work!


It is 8h45 in the morning here and already it is 21 degrees. 
Today we are expecting a high of 33 degrees and a storm is forecast to arrive late afternoon. Yesterday we had a high of 36 degrees and it was almost too hot to work.

Our guests are going canoeing on the Dordogne today and I am very envious. It is voted one of the top 10 things to do whilst staying in the region and you can not beat the view from the river.

We have not had a lot of rain this summer and the countryside is looking very dry so a day or two of rain will be parfait.

It is the time of the year when all the online decoration shops send you emails telling you it is time to get cosy....maybe from tomorrow I can think about cosy but for the moment the fan is staying on!

Off to work I must go, wishing you a fabulous day where ever you are and what ever you are doing...

amicalement, Leeann x
 

Friday, 9 September 2016

French Food Friday...Vanilla Fig Preserves


photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

As mentioned in my previous post, we have been given a lot of figs and I found this recipe on pinterest.


Vanilla Fig Preserves



25 mins to make, makes 4-5 cups

Ingredients
  • 4 cups (662 grams) chopped figs
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped to release the seeds
  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) calcium water, mixed according to Pomona's Universal Pectin Instructions
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice
  • 2 cups (383 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) Pomona's Universal Pectin


Directions
  1. Add the chopped figs, water, vanilla bean and its seeds to a large, non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes or slightly longer depending on how ripe your figs are, stirring occasionally to soften the fruit. Add the calcium water and lemon juice, stir thoroughly.
  2. Measure the sugar into a mixing bowl and whisk in the pectin powder until it is completely incorporated and even in color.
  3. Bring the fig mixture back to a boil. Add the sugar mixture and stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sugar and pectin are fully dissolved. Return to a full boil and remove from heat immediately. Remove and discard the vanilla bean.
  4. Fill the jars to within 1/4 inch (6 mm) of headspace. Wipe rims clean. Center a lid in place and screw a ring to fingertip tightness or fix clamps in place. Put filled jars in a canner filled with boiling water to cover the jars by 2 inches (5 cm). Boil for 10 minutes, then, using a jar lifter, transfer the jars from the water to a clean dish towel or wire rack. Let cool completely. Remove the rings, wipe clean, label the jars and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Once a jar is opened, it is good for about 3 weeks in the refrigerator.


bonne fin de semaine à tout le monde, Leeann x

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

yummy treat...

my favorites and they seem to taste that much better when picked  direct from the tree....ymm, yum!

à demain, Leeann x

Friday, 2 September 2016

French food Friday...Caramelised Red Onion & Goats Cheese Tarts


recipe and photo from here


Bonjour from a sunny Eymet,

We have another week of sunshine forecast and I am in the mood for something savoury.

Goats cheese is a staple in our house and we normally have a couple in the fridge. Add a bit of salad and you have a very yummy lunch or supper dish.


Caramelised Red Onion & Goats Cheese Tarts


Author:
Makes: 4

Ingredients
Pastry
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter, diced
  • 20g parmesan, grated
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
  • 3-5 tbsp ice cold water
Filling
  • 500g red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 75ml balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 90ml whole milk
  • 80ml double cream
  • generous pinch grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 200g goats cheese rounds (two 100g rounds, each cut into 2 slices)
  • 4 small sprigs fresh rosemary to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place the flour, butter, parmesan, salt and caraway seeds into a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. With the motor running, add the water 1 tbsp at a time until the pastry forms a ball (you may not need all of the water). Alternatively, rub the butter into the other ingredients by hand then add the water.
  2. Form the pastry into a ball, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for about half an hour.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a wide pan and add the onions and star anise. Fry for about 15-20 minutes over a medium/low heat until the onions are soft and golden brown in colour.
  4. Add the thyme, balsamic vinegar and sugar and cook for a further 10 minutes until the mixture is thick and glossy. Remove from the heat, discard the star anise and leave to cool.
  5. Divide the pastry into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece out on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to line a 13cm/5in tart tin. Line each of the four tins with the pastry, pressing it into the edges. Trim off the excess pastry, prick the bottom all over with a fork and return the tins to the fridge to chill for another 10-15 mins.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
  7. Line each pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for about 20 mins then remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 10 mins until the pastry is pale golden.
  8. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Divide the onion mixture between the pastry cases, pour over the egg mixture so it comes almost up to the top. Place a goats cheese round on each tart and garnish with a sprig of rosemary (if using).
  10. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden, puffed up and set. Allow to cool slightly before turning out and serving.
Notes
1. You will need four 13cm (5in) round, loose bottomed tart tins.

très bon vendredi à tous, 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 ...