Friday, 28 August 2015

French Food Friday...Figues farcies à la mousse de jambon

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I have been promised some fresh figs from a friend who advises that she has a surplus so I am planning to use some of them with this recipe and if there is any left over, French Boyfriend is going to make some fig jam.

Figues farcies à la mousse de jambon

You’ll need :
  • 8 medium figs just ripe
  • 60g Fromage blanc (or cream cheese)
  • 100g jambon de parma
  • 1dl (2/5 cup) heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp honey vinegar (or mild vinegar and a touch of honey)
  • Ground pepper
Wash and dry the figs, slice in cross at top (see photo), then set aside.  Grind ham and mix in a bowl with fromage blanc and vinegar. Whip the cream until firm then incorporate into ham mix. Fill each fig from top with spoonful of mouse. Chill until ready to serve.

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 27 August 2015

feeling frivolous...

photo from here

It has been a busy few days and we have been blessed with fabulous guests from all over the world and French Boyfriend has been busy in the shop.

Today I have a bit of "me" time so I am feeling frivolous.....what a fabulous word this is and one that I feel I should use more often.
When I saw this chair, I thought it's frivolous and I adore it.

Anyone else in the mood for feeling frivolous?

à demain mes belles, Leeann x

Monday, 24 August 2015

fabulous and very French..

Yesterday I looked out of the window of Maison No.26 and look what I found a fabulous 2CV, painted in light pink and gray.

Fabulous and very favourite French car!

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Saturday, 22 August 2015

yum, yum...

A thick slice of home made organic sunflower seed bread with a lashing of French butter and raspberry jam is a yummy way to start the day.....after all a girl cannot live on croissants alone.
très bon week-end à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 21 August 2015

French Food Friday...Chicken Fricassée

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I am not sure what happened to the days between Monday when I last posted an entry on my blog and today...but I am hoping that next week is one that moves at a slower pace.

The weather here is fabulous at present, sunny and not too hot so our guests are making the best of it.

Tomorrow wine is on the agenda as one set of guests are visiting St Emilion and the other group are going on a wine tour. We are surrounded in wine , so many varieties are grown here it is the perfect place to visit if you are a red, white or rosé wine lover.

This week's recipe comes from my favourite cookbook;  Foolproof French Cookery by Raymond Blanc, published by BBC Books.

Chicken Fricassee
For the chicken fricassee
 4  Organic or free range chicken drumsticks 
 5 tbsp     Good-quality red wine vinegar 
 15g  Unsalted butter 
 100ml   Dry white wine 
 4  Garlic cloves, peeled but left whole 
 1   Ripe medium tomato, finely chopped 
 2  Sprigs of fresh tarragon, chopped 
 1 tbsp   Olive oil 
 1 tbsp   Fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped 
 1 pinch   Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
For the sautéed potatoes
 4   Medium potatoes, such as Desiree, Maris Piper or King Edward, peeled (if organic, leave the skins on) and cut into 2cm dice 
 10g   Unsalted butter 
 2 tbsp   Olive oil 
 1   Small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped 
 ½   Shallot, finely chopped 
 1 pinch   Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
Browning the chicken
Pre-heat the oven to 150˚C/300˚/Gas Mark 2. On a high heat, in a large casserole, fry the chicken pieces in the olive oil for 5 minutes, until golden brown. Season with 4 piches of salt and 2 pinches of pepper.
Glazing the chicken
Spoon out the fat from the casserole. Add the vinegar and butter and boil for 10 seconds, until the vinegar has reduced. Stir to coat the chicken pieces in the reduced vinegar and butter.
Baking the chicken
Add the white wine, bring to the boil for a few seconds, then add the garlic, tomato and tarragon. Cover the casserole, transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes (the liquid should not boil but should cook at avery low simmer, with just one or two bubbles barely breaking the surface). The chicken will be juicy and tender.
Sautéeing the potatoes
On a high heat, in a large frying pan, fry the diced potatoes in the olive oil for 12-15 minsutes, stirring frequently. Until golden brown and tender.  Season with 4 pinches of sea salt and 2 pinches of pepper. Reduce the heat and add the butter, being careful not to let it burn.  Finally, stir in the parsley and shallot. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Finishing the chicken and serving
Remove the chicken from the oven. Taste and correct the seasoning if required. Skim any fat from the surface. Arrange the chicken pieces and sautéed potatoe on a large platter or 4 serving plates and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve the cooking juices separately.

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann

Monday, 17 August 2015

perfectly camouflaged...


Yesterday French Boyfriend called to come quickly, this is what we found delicately perched on our front door.

Note there is normally a door knocker hanging where the papillon de nuit has chosen to hang but I got annoyed with people that loved to knock loudly when we have guests so I removed it. We have identified it, it is a Sphinx du Troène

End result peace and quiet for our guests and it is now a resting place for lovely papillons des nuits that wish to come and stay....

What a fabulous loving creature it is, much nicer to look at than a piece of metal any day....

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Sunday, 16 August 2015

c'est pas cher...


Yesterday there was a large vide grenier taking place in our village, French Boyfriend got there early and snapped up most of the bargains.

I on the other hand, arrived a bit later and bumped into him as I arrived at a stand when a young French girl had these  lovely faux peonies in her hand. C'est combien s'il vous plaît I demanded....she replied 1 euro.

I said I would take them, French Boyfriend said but they are plastic....I said yes but I like them.

Guests bounded down the stairs this morning, first words out of their mouths "what lovely flowers" I said yes not bad for plastic. They replied plastic but they look so real.

For 1 euro I am very happy with my purchase.....

à demain, Leeann

Friday, 14 August 2015

French food Friday...Fromage Fort

recipe and photo from here
I cannot believe that it is Friday already or the fact that we are already almost half way through August.
This recipe is a favourite of mine and perfect if you are in the mood for something quick and tasty.
1/2 pound (500 grams) cheese pieces
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup dry white wine
Black pepper

Put about 1/2 pound of cheese pieces in the bowl of a food processor, add 1 garlic clove, about 1/4 cup of dry white wine and a big grinding of black pepper. Salt is usually not needed, but taste the mixture and add some if it is. Process for 30 seconds or so, until the mixture is creamy but not too soft, and then pack it into small containers. The fromage fort is ready to use now, either served cold or spread on bread and placed under the grill for a few minutes. Grilling  browns the cheese and makes it wonderfully fragrant.

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

want to swap places with us?

the village square which is 2 minutes walk away

Bonjour mes belles,

I have decided that it was about time that we think about taking a bit of a break as in the last 4 years the most we have ever taken is a week's holiday. 

French Boyfriend has never visited NZ or Australia so I think that it is about time that he found out why our guests and I rate this part of the world so very highly.

I am not that keen on staying in a hotel says she who has spent a few years living in I want French Boyfriend to experience what life is really like down under.

Therefore I have decided that a house swap is an order. If anyone feels like swapping places, please leave me a message here or email me and we can discuss this further.

Note we have a number of options available numbers wise as we have the two apartments at Maison No. 20.

or Maison No.26, should we be swapping with a couple.

Timing wise we are thinking about anytime from December 2015 through to April 2016 or towards the end of the year in 2016 and beginning of 2017.

So if you feel like living like a local in SW France, please get in touch.....

amicalement, Leeann x

Monday, 10 August 2015

A brand new week...

It is a brand new week so let's make each day this week a special one.

Today sees a new restaurant open it's doors and we plan to try it  later in the week. Any excuse to put on a pretty dress and a pair of high heels. We do not have far to walk as it is situated a few doors down from Maison No.26.

French boyfriend has been out and snapped a couple of photos....


This photo is one of my favourites as I love the reflection of the church in the restaurant window....

Nothing like a new restaurant to make a girl feel excited....

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann

Friday, 7 August 2015

French Food Friday...Rhubarb Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding Cake

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

When I saw this recipe, I knew that it was for me and would you believe it comes all the way from New Zealand. We quite often have a surplus of croissants chez nous hence this recipe will come in very useful and satisfy French Boyfriend's sweet tooth. The French love cakes and have been known to eat them for breakfast.


Rhubarb Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding Cake

5 good quality big stale croissants, each torn into 3-4 pieces
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 180˚C (350˚F) and put rhubarb in a single layer in a baking dish. Sprinkle over sugar, zest and vanilla extract and bake for 15 minutes (until tender) then leave to cool. Line the base and sides of a 23cm spring form cake tin with baking paper. (It needs to be a really water-tight spring form tin - if it's old or a bit gappy/leaky, it'll make a mess in the oven)

In a big jug, beat eggs, yolks, sugar, milk and cream until pale. Layer half of the croissants into the prepared tin, covering the base fully. Sprinkle over half of the rhubarb. Layer up with the remaining croissants and top with the rest of the rhubarb in big blobs. Press down gently, but leave a few bits of pointy croissant sticking up - they'll go lovely and crunchy. Pour the cream, sugar and egg mixture over the croissants, coating everything fully. Leave to stand for 20 minutes and preheat the oven to 160˚C (325˚F). Sprinkle with flaked almonds and sugar and bake for an hour. The custard will probably 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.
très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 6 August 2015

A little inspiration...

photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

It is a lovely sunny one here and the village is bustling as it is market day.

We recently saw a couple of chairs exactly the same design as the ones that you see in the above photo.

As they needed recovering I decided that they were not for me and we advised the seller to leave them as a gift for the new owners. After seeing this photo, I am thinking that I may have made a bêtise and should have offered to buy them.

On a positive note I already have the two leather club chairs plus 2 x Louis xvi chairs so feel that I have enough to keep me going over the Autumn months....

Edith Piaf and the words "Non, je ne regrette rien" spring to mind and there will be other chairs.

amicalement from a very warm Eymet, Leeann x

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

a few hours later...

Bonjour from a very sunny SW France,

What a fabulous weekend it was as our house was full of lovely Irish guests and I am already missing their lovely accent.

The Irish love their rugby almost as much as us kiwis and they told me hat they even managed to beat the All Blacks, must have been when the All Blacks were having an off day...

Whilst the guests were attending  the wedding in the Eymet church on Saturday, I managed to get "my girl" finished and she is looking right at home in Maison No.26.

The church looked fabulous and there was  a quartet playing the most beautiful Celtic music when I sneaked in to take a quick photo before the guests started to arrive....

I must admit I felt a bit like Cinderella as everyone left looking fabulous and I had to stay and work. Speaking of work, I had better do some. 

Wishing you all une semaine fabuleuse, Leeann x

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