Monday, 30 September 2013

Shop update...

Bonjour mes belles,

I cannot believe that it is the last day of September but I am looking forward to the next three months are they are my favourite months of the year.

My plan for today is to update the shop with a few treasures, some of which are shown below.....

First up is this fabulous pair of vintage silhouette prints which are adorable and would look great in just about any room of the house. You will find details here.

Next up is this pair of candle holders which feature a very intricate grape design and would look great with chunky style candles resting in them.

Another new addition is this pair of vintage candelabras which are heavy in weight and very decorative......

Speaking of decorative, this vintage French Charlotte Gateau tin would look adorable hanging on a kitchen wall......

This set of numbered hooks lends itself to a number of users, you could use them to hang coats, tea towels, hats or even as room numbers......

There are also some antique napkins, which I have yet to photograph......

Je vous souhaite une bonne journée de ce lundi et une bonne semaine, Leeann x

Friday, 27 September 2013

French Food Friday...Tarte à la poire et au mascarpone

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope you have all had a fabulous week, ours has been a hot and busy one.

It is that time of the year in SW France when there is an abundance of fruit and the biggest decision that we face is what to make and I am one of those people that loves to try a new recipe as opposed to making the same thing over and over again.

This week's recipe contains two ingredients that I love, pears and mascarpone and a third that I am fond of.....ready made pastry! Why make it when the pastry that you can buy here tastes as good, if not better than the home made version.

Speaking of versions, the French version of the recipe is followed by the English version.

Tarte à la Poire et au Mascarpone


  • 1 rouleau de pâte à tarte brisée
  • 3 poires
  • 150 gr de mascarpone
  • 2 œufs
  • 1 c à soupe d’amande hachée
  • 1 c à soupe de sucre semoule
  • 1 c à soupe de sucre glace
  • 1 c à soupe de jus de citron
Préchauffez le four th 6 ( 180°)
Garnissez un moule rectangulaire avec la pâte en conservant le papier sulfurisé. 
Epluchez les poires, coupez les en deux, évidez le cœur et retirez la queue. Arrosez-les avec le jus du citron. 
Mélangez le mascarpone avec les œufs et le sucre semoule. Tapissez le moule avec cette préparation et rangez les poires en les enfonçant tête-bèche. 
Saupoudrez la tarte d‘amandes hachées et de sucre glace. 
Enfournez et laissez cuire 25 minutes en surveillant la coloration. 
Servez tiède.

and now the English version......


1 packet of short crust pastry
3 pears
150g mascarpone
2 eggs
1 tbsp chopped almond
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven  to 180 °.

Fill a rectangular pan with the pastry.

Peel the pears, cut them in half, scoop out the heart and remove the stalk. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Mix the mascarpone with the eggs and the sugar. Place the mixture into the pastry lined tin, place the pear halves in the mixture.

Sprinkle pie with chopped almonds and sugar.

Bake and cook for 25 minutes, keeping an eye that the pastry does not burn.

Serve warm.

.....bon appetite à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

fabulous idea....

photo from here
Bonjour from a sunny and hot SW France,
Long may this fabulous sunny weather continue! As many of you know I have an armoire just like this which I have hang clothes in but this could be a better solution as mine does not fit a lot of clothes in and takes the surplus from my bulging walk in wardrobe.
I think that this is a better use for mine as like most women I have a lot of shoes whereas French Boyfriend has only a few pairs....note to self, do not forget to take FB shoe shopping....trouble is that in the time that it takes him to pick a pair I can buy a few pairs of shoes...
à demain mes belles, Leeann x  

Monday, 23 September 2013

très bonne semaine à tous...

Bonjour from a very sunny SW France,

The forecast is for lots of sun, so I have a feeling that it is going to be a fabulous week here in SW France.

Wishing you all a semaine fabuleuse, Leeann x

Friday, 20 September 2013

French Food Friday...Pear, goat’s cheese and walnut tartine

recipe and photo from here

This weeks recipe is coutesy of Gordon Ramsey who says

"I spent three years working in Paris and it opened my eyes to how exciting an open sandwich could be. While friends back home were tucking into jam sandwiches for their tea, I was revelling in wonderful tartines like this. Don’t even think of spoiling your lovely goat’s cheese or ripe pears with cheap bread. Now is the time to splash out on a lovely sourdough or crusty French baguette". 

Pear, goat’s cheese and walnut tartine

  • 1 baguette or small sourdough loaf
  • olive oil, for griddling
  • 2 pears, eg Williams, quartered, cored and thinly sliced
  • 150g (5oz) French goat’s cheese, eg crottin, soft or ripe, cut into the same number of slices as the pears
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped or crumbled

❶ Preheat the grill on its highest setting.
❷ If using a baguette, slice it in half across the middle and trim off the very ends. Slice each half into 4 pieces to give 8 in total. If using a sourdough loaf, cut it into 8 slices about 2cm (3⁄4 in) thick.
❸ Place a griddle pan over a high heat. When hot, drizzle with a little oil and lower the heat. Add the bread and toast on either side until lightly crisp and golden.
❹ Transfer the toasts to a baking sheet. Arrange the pear and cheese slices alternately on each one. Season with pepper and sprinkle with the walnuts. Grill for 1–2 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.

.....bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Love this photo...

As you know I have a things about owls so I am really loving this
fabulous photo from Mulberry......

The owls are alive, click here to watch the video of the Mulberry Autumn Winter 2013 campaign.

amicalement, Leeann x

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Trip to the Loire...Final Part

Bonjour mes belles,

On the last night of our stay, we visited the evening. For me it was the highlight of our trip.
The chateau looked stunning lit up at night as the lights reflected onto the river and  with the music playing, the ambiance was out of this world.

So dreamy and romantic, the  shadow and light show on the castle walls was amazing and I did not want to leave.....

We really enjoyed the time that we spent in the Loire and are planning a return trip as there are so many things to see and do in this beautiful area of France.

à très bientot, Leeann x

Monday, 16 September 2013

Trip to the Loire....Part 5

Bonjour from a rainy SW France,

We awoke to rain this morning but I am not complaining as it is the perfect excuse for getting cosy. 

We continue with part 5 of our trip to the Loire.

Chateau de Cheverny is a must see when you visit the Loire Valley.

A little history about the Chateau....

The lands were purchased by Henri Hurault, comte de Cheverny, a lieutenant-general and military treasurer for Louis XI, whose descendent the marquis de Vibraye is the present owner.
Lost to the Crown because of fraud to the State, it was donated by King Henri II to his mistress Diane de Poitiers. However, she preferred Château de Chenonceau and sold the property to the former owner's son, Philippe Hurault, who built the château between 1624 and 1630, to designs by the sculptor-architect of Blois, Jacques Bougier, who was trained in the atelier of Salomon de Brosse, and whose design at Cheverny recalls features of the Palais du Luxembourg. The interiors were completed by the daughter of Henri Hurault and Marguerite, marquise de Montglas, by 1650, employing craftsmen from Blois. Burdette Henri Martin IV played a key role in the construction.

During the next 150 years ownership passed through many hands, and in 1768 a major interior renovation was undertaken.

Required to forfeit much of the Hurault wealth at the time of the French Revolution, the family sold the property in 1802, at the height of the Empire, but bought it back again in 1824, during the Restoration under Charles X, when the aristocracy was once again in a very strong political and economic position.
In 1914, the owner opened the château to the public, one of the first to do so. The family still operates it, and
Château Cheverny remains a top tourist attraction to this day, renowned for magnificent interiors and its collection of furniture, tapestries, and objets d'art. 

A pack of some seventy dogs are also kept on the grounds and are taken out for hunts twice weekly.

Only a portion of the original fortified castle possibly remains in existence today. It is somewhat of a mystery, because to date there is no reliable way to prove whether or not a certain section is part of the original building. An ancient travelling artist captured the original castle in a drawing, but it contains no reliable landmarks, so the drawing offers no proof one way or the other.

I loved the attention to detail, this chateau really has a lovely lived in feeling to it......

I hope that you enjoyed looking at the photos as much as we enjoyed visiting this fabulous Chateau. You can learn more about the Chateau  by clicking on this link.

très bonne semaine à toutes et tous, Leeann x

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Trip to the Loire...Part 4

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you have had a good week. Continuing on with the photos from our trip to the lovely Loire Valley......

In the last post you saw the exterior of the Chateau Royal de Blois, today you are going to see some shots of the interior.

First of all, a bit about the Chateau and it's thousand years of history.....
The first castle of Blois was built during the IXth century and was a favorite residence for many of the Kings of France.
A residence for the Counts of Blois, the Dukes of Orleans, the Kings and Queens of France, and several princes in exile, the Royal Château of Blois is haunted by the memory of all the illustrious hosts lived here. Among these renowned figures are several counts of Blois who led the Crusades and the prince poet Charles d’Orléans. In 1429, Joan of Arc came in the château to have her banner blessed.

Beginning with Louis XII, who was born in Blois in 1462, the château became the favorite residence of the kings of France for more than a century. Blois was the first construction undertaken by François I and his successors often resided here. François II spent half of his brief reign at the château and Henri III twice summoned the Estates General of the kingdom here in an attempt to end the Wars of Religion (1576 and 1588) twice.

It was for this occasion that the château of Blois became the setting for the assassination of the Duke of Guise, ordered by the king on December 23, 1588.

The 16th century in Blois was also the century of the Queens: Anne de Bretagne, whose remarriage with Louis XII allowed the return of Brittany to France, followed by Claude of France, who gave her name to a variety of plums (« Reine Claude » that she cultivated in the gardens of Blois. After the brief reign of Mary Stuart, Catherine de Medicis often resided here before dying in her apartments. The memory of the two wives of Henri IV still lingers in Blois: Marguerite de Valois, the so-called "Reine Margot", and Marie de Médicis, who escaped from the château in 1619.

During the 17th century, the Château was a haven for princes and princesses in exil : Marie de Médicis, Gaston d’Orléans, Marie-Casimire de Pologne… 
The château became a barracks just prior to the French Revolution. 

It was classified a national historical monument in 1840 and consequently renovated by Félix Duban, who restored its former splendour. The Château also became a cultural institution housing several museums.

How stunning are the colours? Love the touch of gold along with the fleur de lys and the crown detail. 

Enough words from me, I will let the photos do the talking.....

In this painting which is hanging in the chapel, you see  Joan of Arc having her banner blessed.

In part 5, you will see some photos of  one of the best furnished chateaux in the Loire Valley, which was one of the highlights of our trip.

je vous souhaite à toutes et à tous un très agréable Week-end...

amitiés, Leeann x

Friday, 13 September 2013

French Food Friday...Apples Baked in Pastry with Plum Sauce

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

It has been all go at this end so please excuse the lack of posts this week.

These apple pastries can be prepared using 2 pounds of thawed frozen all-butter puff pastry or if you prefer you can make your own pastry.


3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons ice water
6 Golden Delicious apples, cored
Three 3-inch cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

Plum Sauce

2 1/4 pounds Italian prune plums, or other red or black plums, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Armagnac

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the egg yolk, then whisk in the water. Drizzle the egg over the flour mixture, and stir with a fork to lightly blend the ingredients. Squeeze gently until a smooth dough forms. Divide it in half, pat each half into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. On a floured work surface, roll 1 of the pastry disks into a rough 9-by-24-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Using a plate as a guide, cut out three 8-inch rounds. Transfer them to a large baking sheet with plastic wrap between them to prevent sticking. Repeat with the remaining pastry disk. Cut out leaf decorations from the scraps to use for garnish. Refrigerate the rounds and decorations until firm, at least 20 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and let stand until pliable, about 2 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet. Drape a pastry round over each apple and wrap the apples without stretching the pastry, tucking it around and underneath to form a neat package. Transfer the apples to the baking sheet. Using a small knife, make a hole in the pastry at the top of each apple and press the cinnamon sticks on the diagonal through the holes and into the apples, creating stems. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and bake the apples for about 1 hour, or until they are cooked through and the pastry is nicely browned.
  4. In a large skillet, sprinkle the plums with the sugar and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Stir well, cover and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the plums to a large heatproof bowl. Add the Armagnac to the skillet and simmer over moderately high heat until the cooking liquid is syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the syrup to the plums.
  5. Let the apples cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the apples to plates. Serve with the plum sauce.

Suggested Wine to go with this dessert....

A lush, honeyed Sauternes will echo the flavors in this dessert. 

bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Monday, 9 September 2013

Trip to the Loire - Part 3

Bonjour mes belles,

I cannot believe that it has been a week now since we left the lovely Loire valley. Continuing on with the tour.....

As you can see from the above photo, day 2 of our trip started with clear sky. We headed for the town of Blois as we wanted to visit the The Royal Château de Blois which is situated in the centre of town. 
First stop, cafe as French Boyfriend always needs an expresso or two, to wake him up.

Fortunately we found a cafe situated just below the chateau.....

 The fabulous facade of the chateau, as you can see by the photo; we arrived early hence the need for expresso by FB....

 I found him, near the entrance to the chateau, fabulous and very French.....not sure that he will fit in the car though.
Posing for the photo.....I think that these two beauties get a lot of practise....

Detailed shot of the stunning facade of the chateau....

The Royal Château de Blois was the residence of several French Kings and was the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her army to drive the English from Orléans.

Built in the middle of the town that it effectively controlled, the château of Blois comprises several buildings constructed from the 13th to the 17th century around the main courtyard.

It has 564 rooms and 75 staircases although only 23 were used frequently. There is a fireplace in each room. There are 100 bedrooms.

Interior  shot with FB at left hand side, not sure that he knew that he was in the photo.....

François' personal emblem was the salamander, and this can be found carved into walls, ceilings and doors throughout the palace.
Love the drain pipes, nothing ordinary here.

Tomorrow you will see some photos of the interior and also lots of photos of another fabulous Chateau which is crammed with lots of objects, all fabulous and very French.....

très bonne semaine à tous, 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...