Tuesday, 24 January 2017

a bit chilly...

It is still chilly here with temperatures lower than normal across the whole of France but the good news is that it is going to start warming up from tomorrow. The water in the fountain is frozen and looking at it, makes me feel cold. I am just about to light some candles and snuggle up with a fur thow...love the concept of hygge and feel it was made for me.

à très bientot, Leeann x

Friday, 20 January 2017

French Food Friday...Salted caramel sauce

For those of you that love caramel sauce, here is a recipe that you will love and you can use it as a biscuit filing, sauce for ice cream, cheesecake etc. You can just about cover anything in it or just eat it as it is...yum!

Salted caramel sauce


  • 175g light soft brown sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • 50g butter 
  • ½ tsp salt


Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan set over a low heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat up and bubble the sauce for 2-3 mins until golden and syrupy. Leave to cool for 10 mins before serving. Can be made up to 3 days in advance and chilled – gently reheat to serve.

bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

in the mood to paint...

 Bonjour from a chilly France,

The grand froid has hit our shores and we woke to minus 5 this morning. For the next couple of weeks it is going to remain cold and gives me an excuse to spend more time on projects.

I am not sure about you but I have a large list of things to do before Spring arrives. 

It has been a while since I last had my paint brush out and  we have a number of objects that need painting. I am a fan of  Annie Sloan paints and love the fact that you can paint directly onto the object with very little preparation required.

This is one of our latest projects, I did the painting and the waxing and French Boyfriend, the patine.

Louis XV style furniture seems to love being painted and the effect is fabulous. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photos of it before we painted it but will try and remember for the next objects to be painted.

au revoir from a freezing France, Leeann x

Friday, 13 January 2017

French Food Friday...Brioche

photo and recipe from here

The first time that I ate brioche was when French friends gave us a loaf for Christmas some years ago. For me it was a bit of a hybrid and I could not decide if it was bread or cake.

For those of you that have yet to try it, it is in between the two and the French love it.

To buy a good one, it is quite expensive when compared to the price of bread but this is a result of how much effort goes into making it.

Rachel Khoo's Brioche Recipe

recipe taken from the Le Cordon Bleu Basic Pâtisserie manual
250g flour
6g (1 tsp) salt
25g sugar
3 eggs
1 sachet of instant dried yeast or 11g of fresh compact yeast
12ml of warm milk
125g of cold butter, cubed
makes 1 loaf or 12 buns

Mix the warm (not hot otherwise you will ‘kill’ the yeast) milk with the yeast and set aside. In a bowl add flour, make a well in the centre of the bowl. Add eggs and yeast into the ‘well’. Slowly combine. Once combined add salt and sugar. Knead for about 15-20 minutes or until the dough is elastic (like chewing gum). Add half of the cubed butter, continue to knead until incorporated into the dough (this can become messy, you need to work fast if you’re doing this by hand as your hands will melt the butter) then add the rest and continue to knead until you have a smooth elastic dough.

Leave to prove for 1 hour in a clingfilm covered bowl. Knock back and divide dough into 12 individual balls*. Shape the balls into a Russian doll shape. Push the head into the body. Place each brioche into a greased muffin tin or a small fluted brioche mould. Wrap and leave to rise overnight in the fridge.

The day after take brioche out of fridge, egg wash and leave to rise a bit while the oven is pre heating to 180°c. Put in oven, reduce heat to 160°c. Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Best eaten while hot.
*If you’re doing a loaf, place dough in a greased loaf tin. Follow same instructions but bake for about 45 minutes.

Bonne fin de semaine à vous tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Philippe Starck and a lot of sand..

An unusal combination you may think, but it is a fabulous one.

An hour and half's drive away from Maison No.20 is the largest sand dune in Europe - la dune du pilat and a short distance from it is a fabulous hotel designed by the one and only Philippe Starck.

This is the hotel facade, how fabulous are those tiles?

Climbing the sand dune was an amazing experience which seemed to go on and one and coming down was a lot easier than going up.

 Sand, sand and more sand....

We visited on Sunday morning which was cloudy and cold  but the sun came out later in the day. 

We wanted to have a refreshment at the hotel but unfortunately the hotel restaurant was opening at noon and we had a RDV foor midday so hope to visit again next month.

French Boyfriend had some furniture to collect in a village nearby hence we were combining work with pleasure and it was a great day out.

bonne semaine à tous, Leeann

Friday, 6 January 2017

French Food Friday...Mousse à la Framboise

recipe and photo from here

This week's recipe is light and perfect for when you want a dessert that is not too rich.

Mousse à la Framboise

Serves: 4 
Preparation: 15 minutes

135 g egg white (or about 4 egg whites)
4 sheets of gelatin
210gms puree of raspberries
80 g sugar

1) soften the gelatin in cold water. Meanwhile, heat the puree. Drain the gelatine and mix with puree, remove from heat. 
2) Whisk the  egg whites until stiff. Add powdered sugar, then pour the puree while whisking gently.
3) distribute the mousse in verrines. Place in the refrigerator for at least one night.
bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Feeling impulsive..

Bonne année à tous!

There is nothing like booking a holiday to make one feel excited and last night I impulsively booked us a holiday in the same gite that we stayed in last year, in Normandy for later in the year.

As you know we love Normandy and we will probably stop off in the Loire on the way as there are still a few chateaux that I have not visited.

What a fabulous way to start the year and  I think that 2017 may just be the year to holiday in France.

belle semaine à tous, Leeann x

Sunday, 1 January 2017

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...