Friday, 28 June 2013

French food Friday...Robert Linxe’s Chocolate Truffles (La Maison du Chocolat)

Bonjour mes belles,

I never understood the popularity of chocolate truffles until I tried a dark chocolate truffle from La Maison du Chocolat. 

I took a small bite of the plain, cocoa dusted truffle and let it melt in my mouth......I was in chocolate heaven.

A month or so ago, I received a lovely surprise in the post, a friend who is also one of the best chefs that I know, sent me "The loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris" paper back, written by the very witty Jenny Colgan, which once I started, I found it hard to put down and whilst reading I could almost smell the chocolate......

Hence this week's recipe involves chocolate.....sorry to anyone that does not like chocolate!

Robert Linxe’s Chocolate Truffles

(La Maison du Chocolat)
Gourmet, February 2001

Makes about 60 truffles (Do not double the recipe).
11 ounces Valrhona chocolate (56% cacao)
2/3 cup heavy cream
Valrhona cocoa powder for dusting

Finely chop 8 ounces of the chocolate and put in a bowl. Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small heavy saucepan. Make sure your pan is small, so you’ll lose the least amount of cream to evaporation, and heavy, which will keep the cream from scorching. Linxe boils his cream three times — he believes that makes the ganache last longer. If you do this, compensate for the extra evaporation by starting with a little more cream.

Pour the cream over the chocolate, mashing any big pieces with a wooden spoon.

Then stir with a whisk in concentric circles (don’t beat or you’ll incorporate air), starting in the center and working your way to the edge, until the ganache is smooth.

Let stand at room temperature until thick enough to hold a shape, about 1 hour, then, using a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch opening or tip, pipe into mounds (about 3/4 inch high and 1 inch wide) on parchment-lined baking sheets. When piping, finish off each mound with a flick of the wrist to soften and angle the point tip. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt 3 more ounces of the same Valrhona and smear some on a gloved hand. Gently rub each chilled truffle to coat lightly with chocolate. (The secret to a delicate coating of chocolate is to roll each truffle in a smear of melted chocolate in your hand. Linxe always uses gloves.)
Toss the truffles in unsweetened Valrhona cocoa powder so they look like their namesakes, freshly dug from the earth. A fork is the best tool for tossing truffles in cacao. Shake truffles in a sieve to eliminate excess cacao.

bonne degustation à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

new arrival...


Bonjour mes belles,
It was a busy morning at the new shop but I managed to snap a quick photo of one of French Boyfriend's latest finds.
A fabulous Louis style capitonné chair which I think would look fabulous when teamed with a desk or dressing table.
Another of his tresors, is this fabulous holder with state of Napoleon which was used to hold matches.
I could not resist taking a photo of another of his items for sale, a fabulous and very French parclose mirror. It would look fabulous anywhere in the house.
Speaking of houses, I had better get back to work......
à la prochaine, Leeann x  

Monday, 24 June 2013

une nouvelle semaine...

Photo from here

 Bonjour mes belles,
Another busy weekend which saw French Boyfriend hunting for tresors whilst I stayed at Maison No. 20 and looked after guests.
He returned with a few goodies which I am hoping to photograph tomorrow.
In the meantime I am in the mood for playing hide and seek......and let's just say I will not be the one seeking :-)
très belle semaine à tous, Leeann x

Saturday, 22 June 2013

bon week-end à tous...

 je vous souhaite un bon week-end à tous et à lundi....
Leeann x

Friday, 21 June 2013

French Food Friday...madeleines au chocolat

recipe and photo from here

150 g of chocolate 
125 g butter
150 g sugar
5 eggs
150 g of flour.

Melt the chocolate with the butter.
Separate the whites and yolks in two dishes

Beat the sugar and the egg yolks until the mixture becomes pale then add the melted chocolate.
Beat the egg whites until stiff. 

When the mixture is combined, gently fold in the egg whites.
Place the mixture in a greased madeleine tin and cook for 10 minutes at 200 ° C taking care to preheat the oven before .. wait a few minutes before removing from pan ...

bonne degustation, Leeann x

Wednesday, 19 June 2013


Photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

It is 8h in the morning here and we are going through our list of things that need to be done today.

One of my tasks is to paint a couple of items of furniture and this photo is exactly what I need to kick start me into action. Love those doors and the colour is fabulous and very French.

Off to work I must go, très bonne journée à tous....Leeann x

Monday, 17 June 2013

week-end tresors...


I hope that you all had a fabulous weekend. Here it was a lovely sunny weekend so we managed to get a lot done and yesterday we spent the morning hunting for treasure.

One of my favourite finds was the antique cake server that you see in the photo above.

It comes complete with fabulous box which is very decorative in itself.....

The handle is made from sterling silver and the serving part is made from metal. It is beautifully accented on the front of the serving part with Acanthus Leaf design

 The handle is exquisitely done in the Rococo style. Beautiful Scrolls and Swirls with Lattice design accents can be seen.

From the same antique dealer came this antique silver and vermeil sauce/gravy server. These are rare to find and it is even rarer to find one in it's original box.

Both these pieces are stunning and I think that make for lovely and unusual gifts. 

Next up is a vintage style key cabinet which is perfect if you want something that is petite and does not take a great deal of space.

There is space for three sets of keys.

Close up of the print on the front of the cabinet, it is adorable.

Another of the weekend's treasures is this beautiful antique late 1800's French Lourdes Rosary.

Large Priests style rosary traditionally worn on the journey home around the waist or girdle by pilgrims and hung on the walls or doors of the practising home.

An usual find was this elaborate antique lace hair ornament which came complete with postcard showing how it could have been worn.

I loved it the minute that I saw it but thought that it would be expensive so did not stop to ask the price.

The second time that I passed the stand it was gone and I was  sad not to see it there.

French Boyfriend arrived on the scene and started talking to the seller who turned out to be an old friend of his family. The seller then turned to get an item to place on the table in front of us, to my delight it turned out to be the lovely lace object. End result I am the proud owner of this lovely and unusual item.

I am now on the hunt for an antique stand to display it on.....

Other finds were an antique moroccan pouf which is perfect for our moroccan section in our new shop, a lovely chandelier which needs cleaning and an adorable lamp which also needs cleaning.

You have guessed what the next task is on my list of things to or as it is called in French "nettoyage".

Je vous souhaite un bon début de semaine et un tout tout doux Lundi ♥ ♥ Leeann x

Friday, 14 June 2013

mes belles...

Bonsoir mes belles,

It is lovely and sunny here and looks like we are in for a hot and sunny weekend....which is perfect as we have lots of outdoor activities planned....picnic by the river, hunting for antiques and perhaps a spot of painting.

Where ever you are, what ever your plans are,
here's wishing you all a très bon week-end....
Leeann x

french food friday...Crumble Renversé à la Mangue

Coucou mes amies,

It's already Friday and as promised here is the recipe for the dessert that I devoured at the fabulous restaurant, we went to last Saturday night.


Crumble Renversé à la Mangue

For 4 people

150 g biscuits (any plain biscuits will do)
50 g flour
50 g of brown sugar
100 g butter - melted
3-4 passion fruit
25g butter
1 vanilla pod
2 g  gelatine
pistachios and pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)

Crush the biscuits.

Mix together the crushed biscuits,  flour, brown sugar and melted butter.

Place the mixture into the bottom of 6 pastry rings placed on an oven tray  covered with baking paper.

Bake 10 minutes in preheated 180 °  oven

Remove and let cool.

Cut the mango into cubes and cook in a pan over low heat with the butter, add the gelatine, sugar and vanilla pod and let cook over low heat, until mangoes are soft .

Mix the pulp of passion fruit and strain and add after cooking.

Add the mixture into the pastry circle and chill.

Garnish with pistachios and pomegranate seeds.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

bon appetit à tous, Leeann

avec une boule de glace vanille bourbon.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

new arrivals...

Bonjour from a hot SW France,

It is indeed the perfect weather for a nice cold glass of champagne, hence these champagne buckets may come in handy.

You will find them in the new arrivals section and more items will be added during the rest of today and tomorrow.

à demain, Leeann x

Monday, 10 June 2013


photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,
Another busy weekend and I think that the week is going to be more of the same.
Busy and yet peaceful as I left my laptop at home and where we were staying there is no mobile phone reception, a rare and welcome change for both of us.
Saturday night was spent at a fabulous restaurant situated in the middle of wilderness and yet it was full, hence we were told off when we turned up out of the blue and agreed that next time we would reserve a table beforehand.
I will tell you more come Friday when I tell you all about the fabulous  dessert that I devoured in record time.....not a dessert that was easily shared as I wanted to eat all of it but had to give FB a wee taste.
A few treasures were found yesterday but left all at the other shop so I will take some photos tomorrow as it is open then.
Speaking of treasures, I just had to share this photo as it is definitely my type of space, love the chandelier, chair, fur throw and lots of lovely white space.......... 
à demain, Leeann x

Friday, 7 June 2013

french food friday...spinach and bacon quiche


Bonjour from a still sunny and hot SW France,

This week's recipe  comes direct from ma cuisine  and was made as a result of having too much spinach in the house and having to use it as it was getting a bit past it's best.

End result a very yummy quiche which French boyfriend adored and prospective French guests were impressed by as when they arrived I had my apron on and there was a lovely smell wafting out  of the kitchen. I had made bread in the morning followed by the quiche so French Boyfriend was most impressed by this burst of domestic goddess like activity.....   I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did.

 Spinach and Bacon Quiche



  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach, packed
  • 250 grams bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 packet ready made pastry


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender. Layer the spinach, bacon, and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust, then pour the egg mixture on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set. Cut into 8 wedges. 

bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

wishful thinking...

photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,

Just taking a quick break from cleaning windows. The sun is shining here but this is not helping a great deal as the sun appears to show every streak... 

I could not resist sharing this stunning photo with you, love all the gorgeous roses and are hoping to buy a couple of the climbing variety to plant against the walls of our house.

I had better get back to the windows while the sun is still shining......

très bonne journée à tous, Leeann x 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013


Bonsoir mes belles,

It has been a fabulous day here with lots of lovely sunshine.

We went for a walk late this afternoon and look what we found, three lovely new baby swans or as they are called in French cygnets.

They are adorable and I cannot believe how close that we got to them without their mother biting us.

Isn't Mother Nature the best thing in life, she never ceases to surprise me.....

amicalement, Leeann x

Monday, 3 June 2013

week-end tresor?!

Bonjour from a very sunny SW France,

Looks like we are in for a week of sunshine so it will great to get a few outdoor type jobs done such as painting, cleaning windows etc.

For some reason or another yesterday, French boyfriend bet me to most of the treasure hence it was he that found the fabulous chandelier, stunning late 18th century fire dogs and fabulous Napoleon III style mannequin with the wasp style waist.

As you can see from the photos, the fabric  that covers her torso is beyond saving so I am  tossing up between finding someone that can recover her in a similar fabric or hoping that the newspapers that lie underneath the fabric and the wool lining are in good enough condition to save and expose or add a few pieces should they have deteriorated with age.

Should anyone out there be a dab hand in recovering mannequins and feel like giving me a hand, please drop me a line....

On Saturday we went to visit a friend that is selling their chateau hence I came home with a couple of treasures including an 18th century silk lined object which French Boyfriend thinks would have been used to hold sewing items as it is too fancy to be a rubbish bin. 

Looking inside you can really see how gorgeous the fabric is....

and lastly a close up of the side detail.....

Another treasure from the same place was this Napoleon III ornate frame containing a lovely portrait....for me this is fabulously French and it was love at first sight or as the French say coupe de foudre.

Love the detail of the really is stunning!

And on that note, I am off to do some work.

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Sunday, 2 June 2013

I wish that I was ...

photo from here
....floating around in space. It has been one of those day's and I would happily trade today for floating around in space.....anyone want to join me?
Leeann x 


Saturday, 1 June 2013

Love this quote...

Photo from bibi's gorgeous blog

Merci to Bibi for sharing this fabulous quote which apears on the wall in a cafe in her native Italy. You can read more about the cafe here.

très bon week-end à tous, Leeann x


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