Thursday, 26 November 2015

Happy Thanksgiving day...

photo from here

Wishing all our readers in the USA and Canada a very Happy Thanksgiving day.

à demain, Leeann x

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

when you least expect it...

Bonjour from a chilly SW France,

Yesterday we had some snow, not a lot but as it is pretty rare in this part of France, it was the talk of the town on Facebook and in the local newspapers.

Sunday was also quite chilly and we decided not to get up at some crazy hour to hunt for antiques. After lunch we decided to take a drive in the sunshine and at the same time perhaps stop at a vide grenier that was taking place in a village en route.

On the way we saw a boulangerie open which is an abnormality for us as all three of the boulangeries in our village are closed on a Sunday afternoon.

We purchased a couple of gateaux and devoured them in the car much to the boulanger's delight, who's car was parked next to ours.

By the time that we arrived at the vide grenier the locals were starting to pack up but French Boyfriend managed to find a couple of fabulous antique mirrors and I found some DVD"s for our ever growing collection.

On the way home FB stopped the car and I took a photo of the countryside as it reminded me of one of those old landscape paintings.

A couple of minutes later on the side of the road, we came across this charming sight.....a new born calf  complete with umbilical cord and very shaky legs.

Life really does surprise us at times and this was one of those moments. An unexpected pleasure that you simply cannot put a price tag on and no one can take away...

             Wishing you all a semaine fabuleuse, Leeann x

Friday, 20 November 2015

French Food Friday....Kugelhopf

Photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

The weather here is about to turn cold so I can think of no better place I would rather be than in the kitchen.

I am in the mood to make Kugelhopf and this recipe appeals to me as it uses orange flower water in the glaze and I adore the taste of it.

Adapted from A Baker’s Tour by Nick Malgieri and Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan.

½ cup milk
2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast (not instant)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup raisins
1 tablespoon dark rum
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

½ cup sliced almonds, for lining the cake pan

One 6- to 8-cup kugelhopf pan (or you can use a bundt pan)

1. Maker the sponge by warming the milk over low heat in a small saucepan until it’s tepid. Pour into a bowl, and mix in the yeast then the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the raisins and the rum, then set aside.
3. In a standing electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar and salt with the paddle attachment until soft and light, about 3 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla.
4. Beat in the egg yolks until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl, add the sponge, then beat another minute.
5. Drain the raisins then beat the rum into the dough, then beat in the flour. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes and let rest for 10 minutes.
6. Beat on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes.
7. Slowly beat in the raisins and chopped almonds.
8. Scrape the dough into a butter bowl and turn it so the top is buttered. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough just begins to puff, about 20 minutes.
9. Butter the kugelhopf mold well the scatter the sliced almonds over the inside of the mold, turning to coat it evenly.
10. Scrape the dough into the kugelhof mold and cover with a towel or buttered plastic wrap.
Let rise until doubled.
11. About 15 minutes before the dough is fully risen, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the kugelhopf until it’s well-risen, and deep golden, about 40-45 minutes.

....bonne fin de semaine à tous, Leeann x

Cool the kugelhopf for 10 minutes, then unmold.

To make a nice, moist syrupy glaze; bring 1/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup of sugar to a boil. Remove from heat once the sugar is dissolved and add 1 ½ teaspoons orange flower water and 2 tablespoons finely ground almonds (optional, but good).
Liberally brush the syrup all over, on top of, and around the cake.

Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

WE are NOT afraid...

For the first 25 years of my life I lived in New Zealand, a country that I consider to be one of the safest in the world. The French bombed the rainbow warrier in 1985 and as a result I joined Greenpeace and was anti anything French.

I moved from NZ to Australia where I felt as safe as I did living in NZ. Whilst living in Sydney I worked for Societe Generale and at the time of the interview felt that I was being interrogated to see if I was a good fit.  I passed the test and joined the family and  learnt a lot about the French from this experience. 

A year later I was living in Istanbul and having the time of my life . Whilst we were living there, the kurds started a series of attacks and for the first time in my life I felt scared. 

I become used to the idea of going through metal detectors when carrying out normal daily activities such as going to the local super market. The security at the office was more than you would see at a normal airport as I was working for Reuters and there is nothing a terrorist would like more than to carry out an attack on a news company.

After Turkey I transferred with the same company to London. London was like living a dream and I started to work on a large global project which required travelling to a variety of cities  outside of the UK on a regular basis.

One city that I spent a lot of time in was New York and the first time that I went I stayed in a hotel opposite the millennium towers and recall thinking to myself this really is a city that does not stop as the lights are on in the towers 24/7.   

The first day that I arrived for work in the Wall Street office, was like a dream. Kiwi girl working in wall street, it does no get much better than this I thought.

A few months later, I was back in New York but as fate would have it, I was working at the Long Island office on the day of the 9/11 attacks. The day in question was one of the most awful that I have ever experienced in my life and makes me cry just thinking about it.

The day after we drove into New York and had dinner, we were not going to let terrorists make us scared. As a consequence of the attacks Americans placed the American flag outside their houses and on their car mirrors. For me this is the most poignant memory I have and seeing cars with their  flags flying whilst in route to the airport made me sad and at the same time proud to see a nation joining together united in their grief.

A few years later, in 2003 we were living in the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai and were in the hotel, the day that terrorists placed a bomb in a car parked near the gateway to India. 

This time it happened on the doorstep and I had no idea that one bomb in the trunk of a car could cause so much damage.

That night, we walked along the causeway in defiance, we would not be scared by the day's events and would continue as we had done prior to the attacks.  We carry on with our life's after such a attack but life is not really the same and I would liken it to when we find out that Father Christmas in not real, something is taken away that will never be replaced.

By the time that the London attacks occurred in 2005,  I was only happy that I was not on a bus or on the tube when they occurred but developed a fear of the underground whenever the train stopped for longer than  a couple of minutes without prior warning.

The lesson that I have learnt, is that one cannot be afraid as this would mean that the terrorists are wining and we need to carry on with our daily lives, doing what we would normally do.

We have a trip to Paris, planned for early 2016 and we will not be changing our plans. I would urge those of you thinking about going to Paris to do the same as we cannot let the terrorists win.

Leeann x

Saturday, 14 November 2015

a sad day...

Parisiens : nous pensons à vous.....

Friday, 13 November 2015

French Food Friday...Baked Camembert with garlic bread

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

We had this for lunch yesterday so I thought that I would share the recipe with you...

Baked Camembert with garlic bread

1 whole Camembert, in its box
1 garlic clove, sliced
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp olive oil

For the garlic bread
1 small ciabatta loaf, cut in half

1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled

Preparation method
1.Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

2.Remove any plastic packaging from the cheese and place back in its box, leaving the lid off.

3.Pierce the top of the cheese in several places with a sharp knife and insert pieces of garlic and sprigs of thyme into the slits.

4.Drizzle the cheese with olive oil and place on a baking sheet, leaving the cheese in its box. Bake in the oven for ten minutes, or until the centre of the cheese is melted.

5.For the garlic bread, drizzle the cut side of the bread with olive oil and place cut-side down in a hot griddle pan until toasted. Rub the toasted side of the bread with the garlic clove.

6.Serve the garlic bread with the warm cheese for dipping.

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 12 November 2015


photo from here
This room really is lovely. Just needs a few books and magazines on the coffee table....à demain, Leeann x