Friday, 29 January 2016

French Food Friday...Mandarin and Cranberry Friands

Bonjour mes belles,

As requested by one of my lovely followers on Facebook, here is the recipe for the friands that I made last weekend.

Note if you do not have a friand pan, a muffin pan will do.

Mandarin and Cranberry Friands

Makes around 10 friands


160g ground almonds
200g butter
240g sifted icing sugar
60 sifted plain flour
6 medium egg whites
48 fresh cranberries (dried will do if fresh are not available)
4 mandarins, zest only
2 Tablespoons caster sugar
2 Tablespoons flaked almonds


  1. Heat oven to 180 C.
  2. Melt the butter gently and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Sift the icing sugar and flour into a bowl, stir in ground almonds and mix well. In another bowl whisk the egg whites until they are frothy.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the egg whites and orange zest. Combine well and then add the melted butter.
  5. Toss the cranberries with the sugar in a small bowl.
  6. Grease the friand pan and then place the mixture into the pan, be careful not to overfill. Top with the cranberries and the flaked almonds.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove and place on a wire rack.
  8. Dust with icing sugar before serving.  

très bon week-end à tous, Leeann x

Monday, 25 January 2016

Bonjour à tous...

Yesterday French Boyfriend suggested a drive in the country as he had a delivery to make, to a client who lives in a hunting lodge about an hour and a half's drive from us.

We bumped into this cheeky fellow en route, isn't he adorable!

The hunting lodge was amazing and has an award winning garden which we are planning on visiting in Spring.

We are always on the look out for addresses that are special and unique and this one will be included in our Insider Guide to the Dordogne.

à très bientôt from a sunny SW France, Leeann x

Friday, 22 January 2016

French Food Friday...Raspberry and Vanilla Bean Friands

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

Thanks to amazon's speedy delivery, I am now the proud owner of a friand pan. I tried a recipe earlier in the week using a muffin pan and although we were both happy with the results, I thought that  I would treat myself to a proper friand pan.

My plan is to spend the week-end baking up a storm as I am in the mood to try out some new recipes.

Out with the old and in with the new. My grandparents owned a bakery hence I think the love of baking is in our blood.

5 egg whites, room temperature
150g unsalted butter, melted
1tb vanilla bean paste
90g almond meal
50g plain flour
185g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
2x punnets or fresh raspberries or 200g of frozen raspberries

  1. Preheat an oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Grease a 6 or 8 holed oval friand pan well with butter.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, lightly whisk the egg whites to just combine.
  4. Add the melted butter, almond meal, flour and sifted icing sugar and combine well.
  5. Mix in three quarters of the raspberries into the batter and pour into prepared pans to two thirds full.
  6. Place two or three raspberries on top of each friand and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted comes out the center clean.
  7. Let the friands cool slightly and then remove from the pan carefully and dust lightly with icing sugar.
  8. Serve warmed and with extra fresh raspberries, if you like.

très bon vendrredi à tous, Leeann x

Monday, 18 January 2016

rainy day in SW France

photo taken @ maison no.20, Eymet en Dordogne

Today I am very tempted to do what a lot of our guests do when the heavens open in SW France.....snuggle down under a cosy feather duvet and wait for it to pass.

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 15 January 2016

French food Friday...Croque Monsieur Bake

recipe and photo from here

When I say this recipe, I knew that it was perfect for a rainy week-end in SW France.


  • 6 slices ready-sliced multigrain brown bread
  • 75 grams Dijon mustard
  • 6 slices Gruyere cheese
  • 3 slices ham
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon salt (or ½ teaspoon table salt)
  • 80 ml full fat milk
  • 4 tablespoons grated Gruyere cheese (or emmental or cheddar)
  • 1 good sprinkling of Worcestershire sauce

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

queen for a day?!

Last night we hosted a dinner party and we finished with a very yummy galette de roi.

Each person chose their piece and I took the remaining morsel.

French boyfriend warned me to eat slowly just incase there was something hidden inside.

I was heading towards mt last mouthful when my knife hit something hard...I had found the figurine which meant that I got to wear the crown for the evening.

Personally I think that Marie Antoinette wears it well...n'est-ce pas?

très belle semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 8 January 2016

French Food Friday...Vanilla rum babas with fresh berries and chantilly cream

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I thought that we would start the year off with one of French Boyfriend's favorites desserts. AS you know by now, he has a bit of a sweet tooth and loves his cakes.

This recipe makes for 12 servings but if you only need half that amount, the rum babas will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Prep time: 2 hrs 15 mins plus rising time 
Cooking time: 30 mins

Total time: 2 hrs 45 mins plus rising time 
Skill level: Bit of effort


For the rum babas:
  • 4tbsp lukewarm milk
  • 1tsp quick dried active yeast
  • 275g strong white bread flour
  • 2tbsp golden granulated sugar
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
For the syrup:
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 100ml Galliano liquer
  • 200ml water
For the chantilly cream:
  • 600ml double cream
  • 2tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3tbsp caster sugar
For the berries:
  • 3tbsp caster sugar
  • 3tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp arrowroot mixed with 1tsp water
  • 200g mixed berries such as raspberries, blackberries and red currants


  1. Prepare a 12 hole muffin tin or two, six hole mini Savarin/Rum Baba moulds by brushing with a little melted butter. Place in a freezer for 10 mins and then grease again. Place on a baking tray and then pop in the fridge until needed.
  2. Combine the yeast and milk in a small bowl, give a good stir and then cover and leave in a warm place for 15 mins. After the 15 mins, the mixture should be foamy on top. Give it another stir and then set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, and salt and then make a well in the centre. Separately, lightly beat the eggs, combine with the yeast mixture and then gradually pour onto the dry ingredients, bringing everything together with one hand. When all the egg mixture has been poured in, use one hand to firmly grip the bowl and the other hand to knead the ingredients (it will be really sticky) pulling the mixture up and slapping it back down again for about five minutes, until it's stretchy and smooth. Use a spatula to scrap the mixture off your fingers and around the sides of the bowl and then cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 45 mins to 1hr or until doubled in size.
  4. Remove the moulds from the fridge, still on the baking tray. Get your dough and then punch it down. Start to add in the butter bit by bit, using your fingers to press and mix it in, and making sure it's incorporated after every addition. The dough should end up stretchy, smooth and glossy. Using a spoon (or a piping bag if you want it to be super neat) fill each hole up on the moulds until they're half full. Cover loosely with cling film and then set aside in a warm place for roughly 30 mins or until the mixture reaches the top of the holes, making sure the dough doesn't stick to the cling film.
  5. In the last 10 mins of the rising time, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6. Take the cling film off the moulds and cook in the oven, on the middle shelf, for 20-25 or until golden brown on top and slightly shrunk away from the sides. Whilst they cook, make your syrup. Combine 250g caster sugar, the Galliano and the water in a medium saucepan on a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then bring to a rolling boil.
  6. Once the rum babas are done, take them out from the oven, cool a little and then gently take out of the moulds and place into a deep dish (you may need to use two if one isn't big enough). Take the syrup off the heat and then pour half of it over the babas, allowing them to soak up the syrup. Turn over and pour over the rest of the syrup. Cover and then leave in a cool place until ready to be served.
  7. For the berries, heat 3Tbsp caster sugar and lemon juice in a medium pan on a simmer until the sugar dissolves. Add the berries and heat for 1-2 minutes then add the arrowroot paste, cooking for another 30 secs. Set aside to cool and then leave to chill in the fridge until needed.
  8. To make the Chantilly cream, combine the vanilla bean paste, 3Tbsp of caster sugar and cream and whip together until it has soft peaks. Once ready to serve, spoon cream on top of the babas and then add the berries.
très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Monday, 4 January 2016

taking down the decorations...

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you all had a fabulous New Years. Ours was fabulous as we had guests staying over the festive period which made it that little bit extra special for us.

Today I have started taking down the Christmas decorations and I suspect that this exercise will take me a couple of is not one of my favorite tasks but at the same time it is nice to have a clean slate in which to start the year.

Très heureuse année 2016, santé bonheur et prospérité!
amicalement, Leeann x

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