Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Rule No. 1....

.....when booking a hotel, plan itinerary first before making the hotel reservation.

I feel in love with a Chateau style hotel in the Loire Valley, that I wanted to stay in and then realised that it was 200 kms from all the attractions.

Merci to our French guests for telling French boyfriend that it would be rather a long drive to most of the chateaux.

End result today I am planning the itinerary and once finished I will start my search for a hotel.....

à demain mes belles, Leeann x

Monday, 29 July 2013

Who's been sleeping at Maison No. 20?

Bonjour mes belles,

As normal it was a another busy weekend. Yesterday I went upstairs to check all was okay in one of the apartments  and this is the scene that greeted me.....adorable!

And on the other bed.....

It is the little things that make it all worth while.

Très bon semaine à tous, Leeann x

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Heavenly door...

Photo from here
If the entrance is anything to go by, I am already starting to imagine all the lovely objects inside.....
très bon dimanche à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 26 July 2013

French Food Friday...Apple & Blackberry Custard Croissant Cake

Recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I think that I should warn you now that the following recipe may not be suitable for those of you on a diet as after the first bite, you will not be able to stop eating it.

Rather ironically this recipe was found by me, a Kiwi and is written by a kiwi who is responsible for one of the most interesting food blogs that I have stumbled across in a very long time.

Apple & Blackberry Custard Croissant Cake

3 apples, peeled, cored and each cut into 12 wedges
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp caster sugar
5 good quality croissants, halved
2 cups fresh blackberries or boysenberries
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup cream
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup ground almonds
1 tsp cinnamon or 1/2 tsp almond essence
1/3 cup flaked almonds
1 tbsp caster sugar

Preheat oven to 160˚C (325˚F) and line the base and sides of a 23cm spring form cake tin. Heat water and sugar in a large fry pan over a medium heat and cook apple wedges until the water has absorbed and the apples are tender. Take off the heat and leave to cool.

In a big jug, beat eggs, yolks, sugar, milk and cream until pale. In a separate bowl mix ground almonds with cinnamon (or add almond essence to cream).
Layer a couple of croissants into the prepared tin, covering the base fully. Sprinkle over half the blackberries, apples and almond mix. Layer up with the remaining croissants, apples, blackberries and almonds - and now you can tear the croissants as you wish. Press down gently.
Pour the cream, sugar and egg mixture over the croissants, coating everything fully. Leave to stand for an hour. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and sugar and bake for 45 minutes. The custard might puff up a little in the oven, then sink when you remove it - this is fine, it will set into a delicious creamy mix with the croissants.
Leave to cool for at least half an hour before serving with whipped cream and/or vanilla bean ice cream.
Serves 8 - 10.
bon appetite à tous, Leeann

Thursday, 25 July 2013

post card from Eymet...

Bonjour mes amies,

Not only are we lucky enough to be surrounded by vineyards, which are only a few minutes drive from the village but we also have a few growing in the village itself.

I could not resist taking a photo of this one, basking in the sunshine.....

je vous souhaite une très bonne journée, Leeann x

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Fabulously French....

Bonsoir from a very warm SW France,

Yesterday I managed I snapped this shot.....fabulous and very French I think.

Love the colour and the fact that it is a little beaten up around the edges.....French shabby chic!

à demain, Leeann x

Monday, 22 July 2013

Week-end tresors....

Bonjour from a still sunny and hot SW France,

I hope that you had a fabulous week-end. Ours as per normal was a busy one and French Boyfriend decided to hold a vide-garage yesterday as there was a brocante taking place in the grounds of the old chateau.

End result, we now have a lot of space in the garage.....almost enough to park a car.

We still have a couple of lovely carved bed ends should anyone be looking some. They are intricately carved and came out of a local chateau hence they are not the run of the mill style that you often find in France.

I managed to find a couple of treasures yesterday despite the small number of sellers as I think that the hot weather really put them off coming, which was a shame as it is such a lovely setting.

My favourite find of the day is this fabulous and very romantic looking antique clock.

Although it no longer works, it really is a stunning and most decorative object.

I particularly love the detail on top of the clock...

You will find it here.

Another find was this adorable wall hanging which is signed MD, and on the back it is marked Reves d'Aiguille Michele Delarche.

You can find more details here.

Another find was this fabulous petite napoleon III style jewellery box which is perfect for storing and displaying a favourite piece.

My last find of the day will make and American readers smile as it was a pair of vintage French flags that date from back to world war II. Note I have not had time to photograph them or decide what I will do with them. 

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

Friday, 19 July 2013

French Food Friday...Chaussons Feuilletés aux Abricots

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

It is apricot season here in SW France so thought that it would be a good idea to share a great recipe that I have just found this week.....  

Chaussons feuilletés aux abricots

Serves 4-6 (Makes 12)
375g puff pastry, chilled
6 fresh apricots or 411g can apricots in syrup, drained
4 tbsp apricot jam
2 tbsp apricot or peach schnapps or liqueur
25g icing sugar, sifted

Step 1) Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, Gas Mark 7. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a thickness of 3mm. Cut out circles using a plain 15cm cutter, then roll each gently in one direction to create 18cm ovals.

Step 2) To make the filling, halve and pit the apricots. Smash 8 of the pits with a meat hammer. Retrieve the white kernels and chop these finely. Cut each apricot half into four. (If using canned apricots, chop and crush 6 hazelnuts or almonds and sprinkle with 1 teaspoonful of almond extract).

Step 3) Stir the jam and liqueur together to make a glaze. Set 4 pieces of apricot on one half of each pastry oval, drizzle with some glaze-mix and scatter with chopped kernels. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the lid over the fruit and press closed. Scallop the pastry edges. Continue until all the pastry, kernels and fruit are used up.

Step 4) Slide the pastries onto a lightly oiled oven sheet and brush with the remaining glaze. Use a sharp knife to cut 3 or 5 decorative curved slashes on the top of each turnover. Bake towards the centre of the oven for 22-25 minutes or until the pastries are dark, puffed and aromatic. Serve hot, warm or cool, dusted with icing sugar. 

bon appetit à tous....Leeann x

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

new arrival...

Bonsoir mes belles,

I have a thing about anything rocaille style as you can see from this new arrival at Fabulously French.

This pair of Louis XV style Gilt Bronze Three Branch Wall Lights really are stunning and would look great in any room.

Each has a foliate cast backplate, with three scrolled arms each supporting a leafy drip pan and sconce.

For more details click here

Also a reminder of any of you in the area, there is a candelit tour of the village taking place at 21h45 which is one of my favourite summer activities as the village looks stunning and I love the combination of the medieval music and costumes and lots of lovely candles dotted around the village. 

There are two tours taking place; one in French and the other in English.

à demain, Leeann x 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

a vintage find...

Bonjour mes belles,

I found these beauties on Sunday at a local brocante. They were purchased from a Dutch Antiques dealer who informed me that they are indeed Dutch and date back to the 1960's.

There are 10 in total half of them have sad faces and the other half have happy faces including the one that has "I Love Paris" written on it.

You will find more details here.

amicalement from a very hot SW France,


Monday, 15 July 2013

I want some of these....

photo from  here

Bonsoir mes belles,

Let's just say that it has been a long day hence this post is a lot later that I would have liked.

I have not had time to takes photos of yesterday's tresors and we have spent the last three hours assembling an armoire that dates back to the late 1780's and was not the easiest of items to assemble....

Tonight I plan on dreaming of the lovely light and refreshing Strawberry and Mint macarons.
Ladurée describes these as red macaron shells filled with a strawberry jam and natural flavour of iced mint.

Sounds to me like heaven....
à demain, Leeann x


Friday, 12 July 2013

French Food Friday...Pear Sorbet with Pear Wafers

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour from a still steamy SW France,

This weeks recipe is inspired by the hot weather that we have been experiencing and the fact that the store that we normally buy our pear sorbet from, has run out which resulted in me having to make my own....

Pear Sorbet with Pear Wafers

Serves 6-8 |
Takes 45 minutes to make, 2 hours in the oven (for the wafers), plus freezing

1kg firm, ripe dessert pears, such as Comice
100g caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp pear liqueur (Poire William, from good wine shops) or Calvados

For the pear wafers

75g caster sugar
2 dessert pears


1. Make the sorbet. Slice the pears, discarding the cores, and put in a pan. Add the sugar and 100ml water. Stir to dissolve the sugar over a medium heat, then simmer for 15 minutes, until the pears are soft. Cool for 15 minutes, then tip into a blender with the lemon juice. Whizz until smooth. Cool and stir in the liqueur.
2. Freeze in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions. (Or put in a freezerproof container, cover, and freeze for 2 hours. Fork over to break up the ice crystals and freeze for a further hour.)
3. Meanwhile, make the pear wafers. Preheat the oven to 110°C/fan90°C/gas 1/4. Put the sugar and 50ml water in a pan over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat and boil for 2-3 minutes. Cool.
4. Use a mandolin to slice the pears very thinly (there’s no need to peel, destalk or core them). Discard any small outer slices. Coat the slices in the syrup, then lay on a lined baking tray and bake for 2 hours, turning halfway, until dried and crisp. Peel off the paper to prevent them sticking, then lay them back on the paper to cool and crisp up further.
5. If you haven’t made the sorbet in a machine, transfer to a processor and whizz until smooth. Put back in the container and freeze until needed.
6. To serve, transfer the sorbet to the fridge for 10 minutes. Scoop into bowls and decorate with a pear wafer.

Bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

simple but chic....

photo from here

Bonjour from sunny SW France,

I just had to share this photo with you. So much beauty in one the wooden table paired with the modern chairs and that chandelier is a stunner!

It did make me smile as when we lived in London we had exactly the same chairs but I paired them with a modern glass topped table from Habitat.

Seeing this photo made me wish hat I had keep them and not sold them with the apartment......

à très bientôt, Leeann x

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

very decorative...

Bonsoir from a still hot SW France,
The heat wave is set to last for another week  but I am not complaining as we have just finished a nice bowl of pear sorbet which was yummy and refreshing at the same time.

I think that we may need a stock of it to get us through this unusually hot period.....

As you know I have a thing about anything old and French and this antique school poster is no exception.

It is an original classroom teaching aid and is part of an untitled series © Fernand Nathan. It is printed on both sides.

side 1
side 2

It is printed on thin card, circa 1920.

close up of the detail
You will find détails here.
à demain, Leeann x

Monday, 8 July 2013

Bonjour busy week...

Bonjour from a VERY hot SW France,

We are experiencing a bit of a heat wave along with the rest of Europe and according to Meteo it is set to last for the next 7 days so we have stocked up on essentials such as water and ice-cream.

Normally I am a pastis girl but French Boyfriend bought home a bottle of Ouzo which is fabulous as when I drink it, I think about islands in Greece and a long time ago when I spent a year living in Istanbul.

This week is going to be a busy one and topping it all off, it is the fête nationale on Sunday as it is known outside of France "Bastille Day" which means a big party finishing with lots of feux d'artifice.

Je vous souhaite à tous une semaine fabuleuse, Leeann x
p.s. Don't forget the fabulously french sale is now on.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Fabulously French Sale is Now On...

Bonjour mes belles,

The Fabulously French Sale is now on.
You will find details of all items on sale here.
Happy shopping, Leeann x

Friday, 5 July 2013

French Food Friday...Picnic Loaf

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles;

It is really starting to heat up here in SW France and  I am hoping to escape the heat down by the river at our secret picnicking spot.....enough said or it will not be a secret any longer.

French boyfriend is not so keen on sandwiches but the following recipe is one of his favourites....

French Style Picnic Loaf

Serves 8
1 loaf of rustic bread  (600g/1lb 5oz), such as  pain de campagne
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
4tbsp olive oil
1tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1tbsp capers
198g tin of tuna in brine,  drained
75g (2¾oz) rocket
2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
30g (1oz) sliced pitted black olives
30g tin of anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
280g jar of marinated chargrilled peppers, drained
8 large basil leaves

Cut the bread in half lengthways. Mix together the garlic, olive oil and red wine vinegar and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Drizzle half the mixture over the cut surfaces of the bread. Add the capers and tuna to the remaining mixture and stir well to coat. Sprinkle the rocket over the bottom half of the bread to cover.
Arrange the tomatoes over the rocket. Spoon the tuna mixture over to cover. Scatter the olives and anchovies on top and cover with  a layer of the peppers and basil leaves. Arrange the top half of the bread over the filling and press down well to squash slightly. Wrap tightly in clingfilm and leave for  1 hour for all the juices to soak into the bread. Slice and serve.

très bon week-end à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

his and her's...

Bonjour from a cloudy SW France,

The sun appears to have disappeared aujourd'hui, but that is not a bad thing as it gives me a chance to catch up on housekeeping type tasks which appear to go on and on....I am sure that you know the feeling when you finally finish one task and another rears it's ugly head.

Yesterday saw the arrival of these adorable mugs and I took great delight in serving French Boyfriend his morning café in one whilst I drunk mine out of the other.

He was even wearing a t-shirt in the same colour blue so I was most happy but not sure he appreciated it when I told him that they matched perfectly....think that it is a girl thing!

I think that they would make great gifts and for later in the year we have Christmas gift tags to match.

You will find details here and here.

Back to work I must go......

à demain mes belles, Leeann x


Monday, 1 July 2013

beds on the brain...

photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope you had a fabulous weekend. Ours was quiet on the treasure hunting  front but FB bought a fabulous girandole lamp with lots of lovely crystals which I will photograph tomorrow.

This morning we went to pick up a gorgeous antique French Buffet  which FB in typical French fashion strapped 1/2 of on top of car.

We managed to get it home safely but had to make another trip, as the friends that  sold me the buffet, gifted to me the most fabulous iron bed, one of those that goes against the wall has a gorgeous medallion in the centre.

It is similar to the one in the photo below.


Finally I found this photo on pinterest which motivates me to getting mine out of the garage, I also have the same ciel de lit so may have to do something with it in our new shop.

Speaking of which, I had better go and organise some stock for as it is open tomorrow as it is market day in Castillonnes.

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann

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...