Thursday, 31 July 2014

French Food Friday...Pommes Anna

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,
I am not sure about you but I love potatoes and this recipe is a firm favourite  of ours.

Pommes Anna

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour

You will need
500g large potatoes
40g butter
250g onions, peeled and thinly sliced
75g beef dripping
125g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes on a mandolin, or the slicer on the side of a cheese grater. Melt the butter in a pan and gently cook the onions over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until they soften.
2. Heat half of the dripping in a heavy-based frying pan (preferably ovenproof and ideally non-stick). Remove from the heat and arrange a layer of the sliced potatoes in the pan, then build up layers of onions, cheese and potatoes, seasoning them and finishing with a layer of potatoes.
3. Return the pan to a medium heat and fry until the bottom layer begins to colour. Put the rest of the dripping on
top of the potatoes then put the pan into the oven. (If your frying pan isn't ovenproof, then slide the potato cake on to a baking tray.)
4. Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown, increasing the temperature to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7, for the last 10 minutes to brown the top. Loosen the sides of the cake with a palette knife
and carefully invert on to a warm plate to serve.
....bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

ivy love...

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you are having a fabulous week. Our is turning out to be a lovely sunny one and there was even a marriage in the village church this morning, love is in the air.

Speaking of love, we have a fabulous new florist in the village who has arrived from Paris, the owner is called Frederic and name of the shop is C A B I NET  P O U R P R E .

I did not have my camera when I visited this morning to buy another of the lovely ivy plants that you see above, but will try and takes some photos on my next visit.

à demain, Leeann x

Monday, 28 July 2014

week-end tresor....

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you had a nice week-end.

Ours was a busy one which started with the Tour de France passing through our village on Friday afternoon and it finished yesterday with a visit to a local antique fair where I bought this fabulous buste of Jesus Christ which now has pride of place in French Boyfriend's antique shop.

It is very heavy hence Guy was not impressed, as it was he, that had the responsibility of carrying him to the car where he was carefully wrapped in an antique sheet.

Unfortunately there was not a lot of treasure to be had and I am hoping that August results in lots of fabulous objects as we are running a bit low on stock......

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 25 July 2014

French Food Friday...Lemon Madeleines

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

Just when you thought it was safe to put the madeleine tins away, here is another yummy madeleine recipe courtesy of my favourite New Zealand decorating magazine, NZ House & Garden.

Lemon Madeleines

1 egg
1/4 cup caster sugar
65g self-raising flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
65g butter, melted and cooled Heat oven to 220°C.

Grease madeleine pans with butter then dust them with a little flour.
Beat egg and caster sugar together until mixture is thick and pale. Sift over half the flour and the baking powder then fold in with lemon zest and juice. Drizzle over half the butter and fold in gently.
Repeat with remaining flour and melted butter. Spoon mixture into prepared pans, filling to the top.
Bake 8-10 minutes until golden.

Leave to cool for a few minutes then turn madeleines out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Serve dusted with icing sugar, with a dollop of cream on the side. Makes about 8 (recipe can be doubled).

....bon appetit à tous, Leeann

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

finally finished...

Bonjour mes belles,

Here it is......the finished product! After what seems like weeks of work, it is finally finished and would not have been possible if I did not have a helping hand from my fabulous and very patient upholstery teacher, Debra at Couture d'ameublement.

French Boyfriend has decided that it would make for a fabulous birthday present as it is his birthday in September so I am now looking for a Louis XV style desk to go with it.

The upholstery classes resume in September so I am now deciding which project I should tackle next....

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 18 July 2014

French Food Friday...Croissant Croque Monsieur

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

Excusez-moi for the lateness of the post but it has been a very busy morning as I have been busy with my upholstery lessons. As soon as it is finished I will share a photo with you and it is not far off, I am happy to say.

This week's recipe comes from my favourite food blog owned by a fellow kiwi and is a great way to use up left over croissants.

Croissant Croque Monsieur

4 croissants
8 slices good quality ham
2/3 cup grated gruyere cheese

Béchamel Sauce:
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
You can make the Béchamel Sauce either on the stove top, or in the microwave. The method is very similar. On the stove top, heat the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat until just melted. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Add  the milk in three lots, stirring continuously, until well incorporated. Keep stirring while cooking over the heat until the sauce is thickened and smooth. If it misbehaves, just whisk it with a wire whisk until smooth - it should finish thick and silky. Add the Parmesan, nutmeg and dijon and stir to combine. Yum. Leave to cool. (Left over Béchamel Sauce can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days). Preheat oven to 200˚C (400˚F) and get out an oven tray.

Slice the croissants in half and spread each bottom half with 2 tablespoons of Béchamel Sauce and 2 pieces of ham. Top with croissant 'lid', and spread with 1-2 more tablespoons of Béchamel Sauce on each. Sprinkle with gruyere cheese and pop in the oven until golden and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Great with strong hot coffee in the morning, or a glass of red and salad for lunch and dinner - the ultimate comfort food!
bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 17 July 2014

merci mon amour....

Bonjour mes belles,
What an unexpected surprise it was when French Boyfriend arrived to have lunch with me today and without saying anything gave me this stunning bouquet of flowers.
Hence today I am feeling blessed and thankful.....

so merci to the lovely Guy and merci to my guardian angel who sent me Guy in the first place.....I am very grateful even if somedays I forget to show it.....

Leeann x

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

my two favourite things...

photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you are having a nice week.  On Monday we sold the last mannequin that we currently have in stock and since then, everywhere that I have looked, I have seen mannequins on the internet.

I particularly loved this one and think that she looks stunning with her lovely flowers.......;end result I am hunting for more for the shop.

à demain, Leeann x

Sunday, 13 July 2014

photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

France is getting ready to party as tomorrow is la Fete Nationale or as it is known in English speaking countries, Bastille day

The French National Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille on the 14 July 1789, as well as the Fête de la Fédération on the 14 July 1790.

Celebrations are held all over France. The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, French officials and foreign guests.

Je vous souhaite à tous et à toutes un très bon dimanche , je vous envoies plein de soleil, Leeann x

Friday, 11 July 2014

French Food Friday...Strawberry Rhubarb & Tarragon Tarte Tartin

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I cannot believe how useful pinterest is, not only is it great for sharing ideas re travelling, decorating, clothing etc. it is also a great place to find new recipes.

I am not sure about you, but I for one, would be lost without it and do not know how I managed before I started using it.

Merci to the lovely Eva, a girl from Oregon, for this fabulous recipe which French Boyfriend simply adores. You can find more of her fabulous recipes here.

Strawberry  Rhubarb  &  Tarragon  Tarte  Tartin



2 and 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoons sugar

1 cup butter, cold and hard

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

5-8 tablespoons water, cold

Strawberry Rhubarb & Tarragon Filling

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon water

12 large strawberries, halved with caps removed

1 and 1/3 generous cups rhubarb cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons sugar

pinch cinnamon

1 and 1/4 teaspoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped

Begin by preparing the crust. In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients. Grate the butter on the largest hole setting of your grater over the bowl, mixing to coat the butter shards in the flour mixture every 10 seconds or so. Add the cider vinegar and 5 tablespoons of water and mix the dough. If it stays in a clump when you squeeze it in your hand, it has enough water, if it falls apart, add more water until it stays together. Shape the dough into a ball and roll it out into a 1/2 inch thick disc. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the filling, heat the sugar, butter, and water in a roughly 8-inch skillet over medium heat for 8 minutes, or until the sugar has caramelized and the mixture is bubbling. Add the strawberries and rhubarb and sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top. Simmer for 20-30 minutes over medium-low heat. Remove from the stovetop and stir in 1 teaspoon of the tarragon, then sprinkle with the cinnamon. Place the crust over the skillet, quickly tucking it down into the pan around the edges of the filling. Cut three 1-inch slits in the top to allow heat to escape before placing it in the oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes of until the top of the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before attempting to flip the pan over onto the serving plate. Once flipped, gently remove the pan to display the filling inside. Sprinkle with the remaining tarragon and allow the tart tartin to continue to cool for 30 minutes before serving.

...bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 10 July 2014

busy week...a few photos

Bonjour mes belles,

Apologies for the lack of posts this week, I cannot believe that it is already Thursday morning.

Tuesday's upholstery lesson went well, the springs are now attached to the webbing and next week's lesson should see the stuffing in place which means that the last step will be to cover the base in the same linen fabric that I used on the back of the chair.

Yesterday morning when I went to check all was okay in apartment un, this is the sight that greeted me.

I love the hat and I am very happy that the mannequin is being put to good use....

 I had better fly as I am supposed to be giving French Boyfriend a hand in the shop as it is market day today here in Eymet.

à demain, Leeann x

Monday, 7 July 2014

a brand new week...


 Bonjour mes belles,

There is nothing more refreshing than a brand new week and I am trying to pack as much into this one as I can. I snapped the above photo whilst on my way to my upholstery class.

This is my latest project which is slowly started to take shape.....

Unfortunately it was in a very bad way so everything has to be redone which takes some time as I am finding out.

These are the original springs which are going to be reused and then tied together again....

I have another class again tomorrow morning so stay tuned for another progress update tomorrow.

Dinner beckons as French Boyfriend is on his way and I had better get a wriggle on so that dinner is ready when he arrives.

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 4 July 2014

French Food Friday...Summer Berry Brioche Pud

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

It is that time of the year when we have an over supply of fruit so I am always on the lookout for recipes that call for a lot of fruit as I hate throwing it away....

Summer Berry Brioche Pud

Serves 6
  • 4 thick slices brioche loaf
  • 300g (11oz) redcurrants de-stemmed
  • 125g (4½ oz) golden caster sugar
  • 400g (14oz) raspberries
  • 300g (11oz) strawberries hulled and quartered
  • icing sugar for dusting optional
  • clotted cream to serve
♥ Have ready a 20cm (8in) square serving dish or one that will hold the brioche in a single layer. Arrange the brioche slices in the base of the dish, trimming as necessary.
♥ Place the redcurrants in a small pan with the sugar and heat together for 4-5 minutes over a medium heat until the fruit is soft and sitting in a pool of syrup but still retains its shape. Place half the redcurrants in a sieve and press the juice into a large bowl. Stir in the remaining redcurrant mixture, followed by two thirds of the raspberries and the same of strawberries (reserving a third of each for the top).
♥ Spoon the redcurrant and berry mixture, including the juices, over the brioche and then scatter over the reserved raspberries and strawberries. Cover and chill for a couple of hours or overnight.
♥ Dust with icing sugar just before serving, if wished, and serve with cream.
...bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

what comes or cart?

Bonjour mes belles,

I started writing this post yesterday afternoon and never got around to finishing it.

It has been almost 4 years since I finished renovating Maison No.20 and I had forgotten how much time it took designing the layout of each of the rooms.

We are in the process of starting a new project and yesterday I found a fabulous basin for the bathroom, which is identical to one that you see above. It was a stroke of luck as we went into a local hardware store to buy some "no parking" signs for our garage and I thought while I was there I would have a quick look at their bathroom section. End result I bought the last basin that they had in stock so I am a happy girl as that is one less thing to worry about and French Boyfriend likes it.

The bath and the basin were the easy parts, the shower  is something that I am still working on hence it involves wading through catalogues and searching on pinterest for ideas of models that could work.

Which brings me to the title of today's post....what comes or cart?

In terms of the bathroom I decided that I would buy most items first and then get the plumber in. It is difficult as you need to have an idea as to what you are having but at the same time do not want to buy something that will be complicated to install.

Fortunately French Boyfriend is proving to be an asset on the technical side of things and I am sticking to the design with input from him and a few friends that have renovated some fabulous places.

I have decided that a slow and steady approach is required and I will tackle each part as I get to it.

I am now off to clear a space in the garage as the bath is being delivered this morning.....exciting times!

à demain, Leeann x 

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