Tuesday, 9 February 2016

it's mardi gras time...

Today marks the start of the mardi-gras across France....

The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries to the French House of the Bourbons. From here, the traditional revelry of "Boeuf Gras," or fatted calf, followed France to her colonies.

Mardi-Gras (literally “Fat Tuesday”) is originally a catholic event which marks the end of the “week of the seven fat days” which were known as “jours charnels” (meaning carnival) in the old days. Before Ash Wednesday, the start of the fasting period of Lent, people celebrated in many diverse ways as it was their last chance until Easter to eat meat.

The word “carnival” derives from the Latin “carnelevare” meaning “to take out the meat”. Indeed, meat was banished from the table during the whole period of Lent, as was sugar, ingredients containing fat, eggs and dairy products. If in Europe, the religious observance of Lent is followed by a rather small group of people, the celebrations around Mardi-Gras are still an opportunity taken by many to enjoy outdoor feasts, masquerade processions, masked balls, parades, pageants, jugglers, magicians and stilt walkers. This is what French people call “le Carnaval”.

Let the party begin.....Leeann x

Saturday, 6 February 2016

bon week-end...

Bonjour from a very sunny SW France,

Just stopping by to wish you all a très bon week-end...

amicalement, Leeann x

Friday, 5 February 2016

French Food Friday...Chocolate and Cointreau self-saucing puddings

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I have not made a self saucing pudding in quite some time and  I think that these may be perfect for a romantique dîner pour deux.
Yesterday I realised  that valentine's day is a week away so I am starting to think about what I am going to make. French Boyfriend prefers eating chez nous as opposed to eating in a restaurant which I am not sure is a good or a bad thing....

Chocolate and Cointreau self-saucing puddings


  • 100g of unsalted butter, softened plus extra for greasing
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 175g of plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder


  • 6 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 100g of soft brown sugar
  • 400ml of water, boiling
  • 30ml of Cointreau

To plate

  • 1 tub of vanilla ice cream

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas mark 4 and grease 4 ramekins

2. Cream the butter and sugar together, and then add the eggs, orange juice and zest. Mix the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder together and then fold this into the butter mixture
-100g of unsalted butter
-150g of caster sugar
-2 free-range eggs
-2 oranges
-175g of plain flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-2 tbsp of cocoa powder

3. Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins and use any leftover to make small additional puddings

4. For the sauce, mix the cocoa powder and brown sugar together and sprinkle over the ramekins

5. Pour 100ml boiling water over the mixture in each ramekin, and then place the ramekins into the oven for 10-15 minutes. Add the Cointreau evenly to the ramekins, then bake for a further 5 minutes

6. Serve with a large dollop of vanilla ice-cream

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 4 February 2016

the secret ingredient...

Today is market day in our village and I could not resist buying a bouquet of mimosa.

It has the most stunning fragrance and as I write this, the parfum is wafting from the hall into our kitchen.

Did you know that it is one of the "secret ingredients" used to make chanel no.5?

It is all thanks to Australia as the mimosa tree arrived in France from Australia in the mid-19th century as a decorative plant for gardens and still forms a luxurious forest on the Tanneron hills west of Grasse. 

You can read more about the fabulous mimosa plant here.

à plus tard, Leeann x

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

simply adorable...

Today I am busy giving French Boyfriend a hand in the boutique, every time that I visit it changes and a lot of the stock disappears before I get to see it.

 I just had to share this photo with you, the two girls are adorable in this photo and I would love to know all about them. If only they could speak......

à demain, Leeann x

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Bonjour fevrier...

Bonjour mes belles,

A brand new month to play with, how very exciting. I have decided that this month is the month to reorganize and get rid of any items that are sitting around.

Speaking of reorganizing, how do you like my new dressing table?

I was en route to my bank when I stopped at our friend's depot de vente.  Popped in for a quick look and came out with this dressing table.

I applied a couple of coats of Annie Sloan Old White chalk paint and all is required now is to sand the edges a bit and then apply some wax.

The small drawers are the perfect place to store makeup and I have the large drawer under the table, which will no doubt come in very handy should I need additional space.

Back to the reorganizing I go, I have piles of magazines everywhere  so these are next on my "hit list".

Bon début de semaine à vous tous, Leeann x

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