Wednesday, 22 October 2014

mezzanine inspiration...

 
photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I woke up at 3:05 this morning and for some reason or another, wondered whether or not I had forgotten to include  a place for the wifi box on the plan for the electrician. This will be my first task of the day....after thinking about various bits and pieces I managed to get back to sleep and woke up at a more normal time of 7am.

Monday and Tuesday disappeared before I knew it as I have started the other chair and have been busy working on the electrical plan for our new project.

The first edition was less stressful as I thought that I had it under control but this was before I decided to change the layout on the first and second floors which has meant a total redesign and I am now hoping that I have not forgotten anything.

We are having a mezzanine floor in the new project and although it will look great when finished it has resulted in  quite a lot of extra work.

When I see photos such as this one, it reminds me that all the extra work (and expense) will be worth it in the long run.

Back to the electrical plan I go.....

à demain, Leeann x

Friday, 17 October 2014

French Food Friday...Muffin Tin Apple Pies

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

As you know I love making muffins and when I stumbled across this recipe, I thought this is a perfect one for me.


Muffin Tin Apple Pies
Makes 6 pies in a Texas muffin pan 
Pastry dough
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 sticks frozen butter (1 cup)
  • 10 Tbsp. ice-cold water
Filling
  • 6 large Granny Smith apples
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. maple sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Coarse sugar, for sprinkling
In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt and brown sugar several times. Cut the frozen butter into 8 pieces, add it to the flour mixture, and pulse until the butter is combined and the mixture is the consistency of coarse bread crumbs.
With the food processor on low, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. 
Place the dough on a floured surface, knead a few times and form it into a ball. Cut the dough in half, flatten it into two disks, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or overnight). 
While the dough is chilling, peel the apples and cut them into ½-inch dice. In a pan on medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the apples, cinnamon and sugar and toss to combine.
Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the apples are still firm, but can be just pierced with a fork. Set the apples aside to cool slightly. 
Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a muffin tin liberally with butter.
Place the chilled dough on a well-floured surface and roll it out to about ¼-inch thickness, and set it aside. Repeat with the second piece of dough. 
Cut out 6 circles of dough to fit the muffin tins, then press each one evenly into the tin to fill the base and line the sides; the dough should be even with the top of the tin.
Cut the dough for the top crusts (I find a drinking glass works as a size gauge), and cut a small opening in each.
Fill the pies to the brim with apples.
Use a finger to lightly moisten the edges of the top crusts and bottom crusts with the beaten egg wash to help the pies stay together.
Place the top crusts on—egg wash side down—and press each down gently to connect with the bottom crusts. Brush the tops of the pies with egg wash, and sprinkle with coarse sugar. 
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the crusts are nice and golden. Allow the pies to cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the muffin tin. 

Serve with vanilla ice cream. 

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

just about there...



Bonjour mes belles,

I am loving today's date....14/10/14, it has a lovely ring to it and I only noticed it when I went to write some cheques this morning.

Today I am feeling happy as the chair is also finished, just have to cover the underneath part with a piece of calico.



After I took this photo I realised that there was a thread that needs snipping off so you are seeing it in it's "raw" state.

Ironically I have decided to keep them for me and have them in our bedroom. I do not have space at present but will do so once I have enlarged my dressing room in a month or so.

I use the word ironic as I had used the fabric as a quilt cover but decided it was a bit flowery so into a cupboard it went.

When I started the chair I thought that it would be perfect for our new project but that has gone out the window as the space now needs larger chairs as it has a very high ceiling....long story and I will not bore you with the gory details now. 

End result the fabric will be back where it started but in a different location and I will use some of the fabric to make cushion covers for our bed.


There is nothing more satisfying than recycling and I am sure that many of you feel the same way. I am now off to continue stripping the 2nd chair.

passez une bonne semaine, Leeann x
 

Friday, 10 October 2014

French Food Friday...Apple Galettes with Whiskey Salted Caramel Sauce


photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you have had a fabulous week, I do not know about you but I am really looking forward to the weekend.

As yet we do not have a lot planned and that is the part that I am looking forward to the most.

This week's recipe involves apples and my favourite caramel with some whiskey which French Boyfriend is rather fond of. To get his utmost attention anything to do with food works a treat, as they say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach and this is most certainly true in his case...

 

Apple Galettes with Whiskey Salted Caramel Sauce

 
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Yield: Four 5-inch galettes, or 1 large galette
A very flakey all butter pie crust, filled with spiced apples, and finished with a salty and sweet Whiskey salted caramel sauce.
Ingredients
    Pie Crust
  • 1 1/4 cups (157g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) ice-cold water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Apple Filling
  • 2 large apples (I used honey crisp), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  •  
    Whiskey Salted Caramel ( makes about 1 cup )
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons whiskey
  • 1/4 teaspoon flakey sea salt, such as fleur de sel or maldon
Instructions
    Pie Dough
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Dice the butter into 1/2-inch pieces and scatter over the flour. Using a pastry blender or 2 forks, work the butter into the flour until the butter is about the size of small peas.
  2. Drizzle the ice cold water over the flour mixture, and using a spatula gently stir it together until most of it has come together. Knead the dough and gather all the loose bits, working as quickly as possible to keep it cold. Press the dough into a round disk, wrap once tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Assembly
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon, corn starch, and lemon juice. Toss to combine.
  6. Divide the refrigerated dough into 4 equal pieces, and on a lightly floured work surface roll each piece into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Divide the apple mixture among the 4 rounds, and place in the centre of the crust, leaving a 1-inch border around the sides. Gently lift the galette border over the apples, and overlap the dough where necessary and gently pinch to keep the folds together.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together the egg and water. Lightly brush the egg wash on the edge of the dough, and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
  8. Bake the galettes for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and apples are tender. Cool on baking sheet on a wire rack. Serve warm drizzled with caramel sauce and ice cream if desired.
  9. For the Caramel
  10. In a large heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine the sugar and water. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat without mixing. Once the edge start to brown, occasionally swirl the pan. Continue to cook the sugar mixture until it is a deep amber colour. About 5 to 10 minutes.
  11. Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream while whisking constantly. The mixture will bubble vigorously! Whisk in the whisky and the salt. Transfer to a container with a lid, and cool completely uncovered. Will keep covered in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Heat slightly in the microwave for serving.
Notes
* This recipe is easily doubled to create 8 small galettes or 2 large galettes. If making a large galette, baking time may need to be increased slightly. ** Pie dough can be make up to a week in advance and kept in the refrigerator, or frozen for longer. ***I found that these reheated really well in the microwave for about 20 seconds. The filling got warm and bubbly, while the crust remained flakey and crunchy.
 
bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Autumn is on the way....


Bonjour from a still warm SW France,

Today we have a high of 27 degrees which is not bad considering we are in October and it is quite humid.   We are making the best of the warm weather as it is set to cool down a bit next week.

As a result of the warmer than normal temperatures, many of the trees still have most of their leaves so I was happy to see some of the trees at the nearby  Chateau de Bridoire have started to shed their leaves...

 

I have decided to make the best of the warm weather as the winter's are long in this part of France and no doubt will be moaning about how cold it is in the weeks to come.


amicalement, Leeann x 
 
p.s. The chair is coming on, I have finished the arms today and removed all of the decorative tacks from the other one, so feel like I am making progress. 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

new project...

 


Bonjour mes belles,

This is my latest upholstery project. She is one of a pair, you can just make out the other on the right hand side of the photo.

The frame has been painted using Annie Sloan chalk paint in "old white" and has been distressed to give it a slightly worn look.

The springs have gone in both chairs and this is the part that I find the most difficult and time consuming to complete.
The other time consuming task is the removal of the decorative tacks and I still have half of which to remove on the 2nd chair.


As you know I have a lover of neutrals but have decided to go for a  feminine fabric as the chairs are bound for our new project, where  I am planning on having a "girly" corner in the bedroom.

The bedroom is large and long which means that I have a nice space to play with.


In this photo you can see the base of the chair which has yet to be finished and it has a lovely feather filled cushion which sits on top of the base.

I cannot wait until my next lesson but in the interim will be busy removing tacks and stripping the chair back to bare wood.

After which I will paint, sand and wax the frame and then the recovering process can begin once again...

à demain, Leeann x




Friday, 3 October 2014

French Food Friday...Strawberries in Champagne with crème Chantilly


photo and recipe from here
 

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you have had a fabulous week. Ours has been a lovely sunny one and we have another sunny, warm week to come.
This week's recipe involves two of my favourite ingredients; strawberries and champagne.

Strawberries in Champagne with crème Chantilly


Ingredients
500 gm strawberries (about 2 punnets), hulled and thinly sliced
100 ml Champagne or sparkling wine 
 Juice of ½ orange 
1-2 tbsp pure icing sugar, or to taste, sieved 

To serve: freeze-dried raspberries and shop-bought sablés or wafer biscuits   Crème Chantilly 250 ml thickened cream 30 gm pure icing sugar, sieved Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Method

  • Combine strawberries, wine, orange juice and icing sugar in a bowl and mix well, then refrigerate to macerate (15 minutes).
  • For crème Chantilly, whisk ingredients in a bowl until soft peaks form, then refrigerate until required.
  • To serve, divide strawberry mixture among chilled glasses, spoon crème Chantilly on top, scatter with freeze-dried raspberries and serve with sablés or wafer biscuits.
 
 
...bonne fin de semaine à tous, Leeann x