Friday, 28 February 2014

fRENCH fOOD fRIDAY...Baguette & Butter Pudding

Bonjour mes belles,

I am in the food for making a favourite recipe of mine and it is a great way to use up left over pieces of baguette. It is delicious hot or cold......

 Baguette & Butter Pudding


  • One Large Baguette
  • Butter
  • Sultanas or Dried Cranberries, or Both
  • 4 Large, Free Range Eggs
  • Caster Sugar
  • Double Cream
  • Milk
  • Demerara Sugar
  • Apricot Jam
  • Baileys Adjust Quantities to Taste


Serves: 2
  1. Grease an Oval Dish.
  2. Thinly Slice the Baguette and Butter on both sides. Layer the bread in the dish, sprinkling with the Dried Fruit between Layers.
  3. Make a custard using 2 egg yolks, 2 complete eggs, 150g caster sugar, 300ml Milk, 300ml Double Cream and 4tbsp Baileys (or more to taste!)
  4. Beat until smooth and creamy.
  5. Pour the Custard over the bread and press down lightly with your fingers, so that the bread is submerged. Leave to soak for 15-20mins.
  6. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar and bake in an oven at about 150C for 40-50 minutes.
  7. Heat The apricot jam and brush over the baked dessert. Leave to stand for 15 minutes as the custard will keep cooking as it cools. Yummy! 

Bon appetit,  Leeann x

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Spring flowers...

It is sunny one minute and rainy the next but is a lot warmer than a couple of weeks ago, meaning that Printemps is on the way.

We visited a local garden centre this morning and what a sight to behold with lots of lovely flowers everywhere.  

I just wish that I had taken my camera with me but I was in a hurry this morning as we only had a couple of hours in which to do the time I promise to take photos.

à très bientot, Leeann x

Monday, 24 February 2014

shop update...

Bonsoir mes belles,

How was your weekend? Ours was a lovely sunny one and it even involved a bit of treasure hunting.

We found a few items but not as many as we would have liked but I am sure that we will find more over the coming months as Spring is one of the nest times to be in France hunting for tresors.

Champagne buckets appeared to be the theme of the day, we bought 4 of them, including this one which is a favourite of mine.


I especially like the grape and vine detail....

One of the other's is simple but has a very modern feel to it.....

I love them as not only are they useful for champagne, they also make great vases or you can use them to store cooking utensils.

We found a couple of other items, will tell you more about them once they have been cleaned.....

Wishing you all a très bonne semaine à tous, 

Leeann x

Saturday, 22 February 2014


Where ever you are, 

what ever you are doing, 

I hope that it is a fabulous one....

Leeann x

Thursday, 20 February 2014

French food friday...Beef bourguignon pie

 recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

Hope that you have all had a fabulous week.  We are in the mood for cosy as here in SW France the weather has been mixed and there is nothing nicer than the smell of beef bourguignon simmering away on the stove, that and the fact that the beef was on special this week and our local butcher saved us the best pieces and this recipe is perfect as it is a French classic with a slight twist...

Beef bourguignon pie

Serves:  4
Preparation time:  15 minutes
Cooking time:  2 hours 30 minutes

You will need

 1 kg beef shin or chuck steak, cubed  
1 1⁄2 tbsp plain flour  
1 tsp salt  
1 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, diced  
3 garlic cloves, crushed 2 onions, diced  
2 bay leaves  
675ml red wine (Burgundy is traditional)  
2 tbsp tomato purée  
1 tsp sugar  
2 tbsp cassis or sherry (optional)  
150g lardons or streaky bacon, cut into strips  
200g button mushrooms, halved
 375g puff pastry  
1 egg beaten  
4 ovenproof bowls or pudding containers


1. Preheat the oven to 230°C/gas mark 8. Dust the beef in the flour, salt and pepper. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a casserole dish over high heat, and brown half of the meat. Remove and add another tablespoon of oil before browning the other half (try not to crowd the pan – you don’t want the meat to stew).
2. Remove the meat and add one tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Sauté the carrots, garlic and onions until the onion is translucent. Return the meat to the pan. Add the bay leaves and red wine. Scrape up the sediment on the bottom of the pan with a spoon and encourage it to join the stew. This is where the flavour is.
3. Simmer over a low heat with the lid off for two hours, or longer if you have it. An hour before serving, add the tomato purée and sugar. (If you feel inclined, add the cassis or sherry.)
4. Just before serving, brown the lardons in a frying pan. Add the mushrooms and fry them in the fat that’s been rendered from the lardons. Add both to the beef stew. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Divide the stew among four pie dishes. Divide the pastry into four, roll out on a lightly floured surface and place on top of the pies. Seal around the edges of the dishes. Brush with beaten egg, make a cut in the centre to allow the steam to escape and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden.

....bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

postcard from Eymet...

Bonjour mes belles,

I could not resist sharing this photo with you as the sky and the shutters are almost the same colour....note it was lovely and sunny when I took this photo on Monday. 

What a difference a couple of days make as there is no sign of blue sky today. Fingers crossed that it returns soon...

à plus tard, Leeann x

Monday, 17 February 2014

très bonne semaine à tous...

Bonjour mes belles,

It is clear sky here in Eymet and the forecast is for sunshine.....much nicer than rain.

Where ever you are, what ever you are doing, 

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 14 February 2014

French Food Friday...salmon en croûte

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I do not know about you but for me, it has been a busy week hence the lack of posts this week. I appear to have lost the days in between Monday and today so am hoping that the weekend is a long and leisurely one....

End result is that I feel that I deserve a nice glass or two? of champagne and since it is Valentine's day it will be a romantic dinner for two. 

After a lot of deliberating, I have decided to cook salmon en croûte which is a favourite and  can be prepared in advance, which leaves time to decide what dress to wear etc.

Salmon en croûte

Serves: 6
Preparation time:  15 minutes
Cooking time:  1 hour and 15 minutes (including time for the pastry to chill)

You will need For the salsa verde:
3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves
1 garlic clove, halved
3 anchovy fillets
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk
Freshly ground black pepper
2 x 350g salmon fillets, skinned and bones removed
375g packet all-butter puff pastry
A little plain flour, to dust
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp milk

For the dressing:
2 large firm but ripe tomatoes
Pinch of salt
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
1⁄2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1. To make the salsa verde, put the herbs into a processor and whizz until smooth. Add the garlic, anchovies, mustard, egg yolk, and some freshly ground black pepper (but no salt) and whizz again until smooth.
2. Arrange one fillet on a chopping board and spread the salsa verde over the top in an even layer. Sit the other fillet on top so it looks like a whole fish.
3. Cut two-thirds of the pastry from the block (freeze the rest for later) and place on a piece of lightly floured baking parchment. Roll it out so it is long enough and wide enough to enclose the fillets completely. Sit the fillets in the centre and brush the pastry with the beaten egg (reserving some for later). Fold the ends of the pastry over the fillet and bring the sides up to meet at the top. Pinch the edges together with your fingers. Chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 220 ̊C / gas mark 7 and put a baking sheet in to get hot. Brush the en croûte with beaten egg, then coarsely grate the frozen pastry and scatter on top.
5. Transfer the en croûte (still on the baking parchment) to the hot baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked at the top and bottom. Allow to rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Plunge the tomatoes into boiling salted water for one minute, then remove with a slotted spoon, plunge into cold water, and drain. Remove the skins, then deseed, cut into dice and tip into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to combine.
7. Carve the en croûte into thick slices and serve the dressing alongside in a bowl.

....bon appetit et Joyeuse Saint-Valentin à tous, Leeann x

Monday, 10 February 2014

from my kitchen to yours...

Bonjour from a windy SW France,

As I write this, there is a lovely smell of roast chichen in my kitchen and it is just about ready to serve. French Boyfriend has never got used to the idea of eating a sandwich hence he is happy and busy getting ready to serve our "free range" bird.

Hence today's title from my kitchen to yours as the kitchen is a place that I adore spending as much time as possible and even more so as a result of living in France.Do you feel the same? Dites moi... le poulet est prêt so I am off now,

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 7 February 2014

French Food Friday...Chocolate & Raspberry Mousse

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you have had a fabulous week, ours has been another busy one and the paint is taking longer to dry than I thought so I have more planned for next week. Speaking on next week, St Valetine's Day is not far away so I am starting on menu ideas and this is one that I think would be perfect. It has two of my favourites...chocolate and rasberries, a very yummy combination.

 Chocolate & Raspberry Mousse

  • 150g · 5oz dark chocolate about
  • 50 per cent cocoa broken into pieces
  • 3 medium organic eggs separated
  • 200ml · 7fl oz whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp dark rum optional
  • 15g · ⅔ oz icing sugar sifted plus
  • extra for dusting optional
  • 300g · 11oz raspberries
♥ Break up the dark chocolate and gently melt it in a large bowl set over a pan containing a little simmering water. Leave the melted chocolate to cool for a few minutes. Beat in the egg yolks and then gradually whisk in the cream, rum if including and the sugar.
♥ Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks in a large bowl using an electric whisk. Fold the whisked whites into the chocolate mixture in two or three goes.
♥ Drop a third of the raspberries into six 150ml · 5fl oz ramekins, about 4 in each. Pour over the chocolate mixture filling them to the brim – this is easiest using a jug. Place the ramekins in a baking tray (for ease of handling), loosely cover with clingfilm and chill for several hours or overnight until set.
♥ Serve the mousses with the remaining raspberries, either separately or arranged on top, and finish with a dusting of icing sugar if wished.

.....bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

blown away...

photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

Not sure what the weather is like where you are but here it is blown a least it is not raining!

Leeann x 

Monday, 3 February 2014

love this photo...

photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

This post is a bit later than normal but I have been busy painting shutters for our garage and they are bigger than I thought,so I have a feeling that this will take me a while.

I finished two and thought that was enough for today when French Boyfriend arrived and caught me on the internet when I was supposed to be painting....end result I painted another and have one to go....base coat. After this dries, I have two coats of oilt paint so am hoping that it dries realatively quickly.

Whilst day dreaming working on the internet, I stumbled across this photo on pinterest, I adore it and it appeals to me much more than indoorsy type photos....this is coming from the woman that was feeding the swans and ducks this morning  when it was so cold that the swans refused to go into the water to retreive  the lovely chunks of baguette.

Très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

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