Friday, 29 August 2014

French Food Friday...Individual plum tartes tatin

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

Apologies for the lack of posts this week, it has been another busy week.

I am happy that August is coming to a close as it is always a hectic month for us and I cannot wait for September when things return to normal.

It is the start of the harvest season here in SW France and it is a nice time to be here as there really is an abundance of fruit available locally.

I love plums and am always on the lookout for a new recipe and this is exactly the recipe that I was looking for. A simple but chic dessert.....

Individual Plum Tartes Tatin

Makes: 12
Preparation time:  25 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

You will need
100g sugar
50g tbsp butter
6 ripe plums
60g golden marzipan
Plain flour, for dusting
375g all-butter puff pastry (thawed if frozen)
Custard or whipped cream, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Put the sugar and butter in a small saucepan and warm over gentle heat, until the sugar dissolves and then allow it to caramelize and turn golden brown, taking care that it does not burn. Remove from the heat immediately and put a spoonful of caramel into each hole of a greased 12-hole muffin pan.
2. Cut the plums in half, and remove the stones. Place one plum half, cut-side up, in each hole of the pan. Break the marzipan into 12 pieces of equal size and roll them into balls. Place one ball into each plum, where the stone was.
3. On a flour-dusted surface, roll the pastry out to a thickness of three millimetres. Stamp out 12 rounds with a round nine-centimetre cutter. Cover each plum with a pastry round, pressing the pastry tightly into the holes. Bake the tarts in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and the plums are soft. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for a few minutes, then remove each tatin with a spoon and invert. Serve the tatins warm or cold with cream or custard.
...bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Monday, 25 August 2014

bonjour d'Eymet

Bonjour mes belles,

I could not resist taking a photo of this fabulous 2CV that was parked outside of the old chateau in our village.

Today was a fabulous day, nice and sunny and perfect for commencing work on our new project which involving knocking down walls and removing an existing bathroom.

The difference was that it did not involve me and I for one was happy as it meant that I could concentrate on looking after our guests.

Very satisfying to finally start work on OUR new baby as it has been a long time in the making....
We have just opened a nice cold bottle of champagne, la vie en France est pas mal....
très bonne semaine à toutes et tous !  Leeann x

Friday, 22 August 2014

French Food Friday...Hot chocolate soufflé

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I am not sure about you but I am in the mood for some chocolate.
Here is the just the thing to kick off the weekend...

Hot chocolate soufflé

Serves: 6
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

You will need
Unsalted butter, for greasing
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tsp dark rum (optional)
2 tbsp crème fraîche
4 eggs, separated, plus 2 egg whites
Pinch of salt
Icing sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and grease six ramekin dishes. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl. Stir in the rum, if using. Remove from the heat and add the crème fraîche, then the egg yolks.
2. In a large, clean, dry bowl, whisk all the egg whites and the salt to soft peaks. Fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining whites.
3. Fill the prepared ramekins to the top with the mixture, then clean the rims using your finger and thumb. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until nicely risen. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.
For a delicious party trick, serve your soufflés with an ice-cream drop. Before you make the soufflés, scoop out six balls of good-quality vanilla ice cream and place on a freezer-proof plate.
Keep in the freezer until ready to serve. When serving the soufflés at the table, drop an ice-cream ball into each soufflé.
Recipe: Chocolat by Eric Lanlard for Taste of London
....bon appetit à tous, Leeann

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

bonne semaine à tous....

Bonjour mes belles,

It is a lovely sunny morning here in SW France and the forecast is for lots more to come. The mornings are cool so perfect for an early morning country walk and the afternoons warm and sunny....perfect for sight seeing.

I am hoping to do a bit of sight seeing myself when we take a couple of days off in September as we are off to stay in a fabulous medieval chateau, which just happens to be for sale.....just need to win the lotto between now and then.

Passez une très bonne semaine, Leeann x

Saturday, 16 August 2014

nice day for a wedding...

Bonjour mes belles,
What a fabulous surprise it was this morning to be greeted by lots of lovely paper lanterns swaying in the breeze, in front of the village church and chateau.

It is as if, a magic wand was waved and this is the result. All that is missing is the magic fairy dust....

très bon week-end  à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 15 August 2014

French Fooid Friday...Crèmes brûlées aux nectarines blanches

recipe and photo from

Bonjour mes belles,

It is nectarine season here in SW France and we have an abundance of fruit as per normal so this recipe is going to come in handy this weekend as I am in the mood to cook.

I think that French Boyfriend will be needing a sugar fix as he is having a stand today at our village brocante and it is always a long day, fingers crossed that it will not be a scorcher like last year.

Receipe appears in French and then in English...

Crèmes Brûlées aux Nectarines Blanches

  • Couverts : 4 personnes
  • Temps : Préparation : 15min / Cuisson : 40min / Repos : 4h
  • Difficulté : Très facile
  • Calories : 605 par personne
  • Saison : Été
  • Origine : Europe, France



    • 2   nectarines blanches
    • 4 œufs
    • 4 jaunes d'œufs
    • 50 cl de lait
    • 20 cl de crème liquide
    • 130 g de sucre en poudre
    • 40 g de cassonade
    • 20 g de pignons de pin


    Préchauffez le four à 150° (thermostat 5/6).
    Faites chauffer le lait avec les pignons de pin puis ajoutez la crème.
    Dans un saladier, fouettez les œufs entiers avec les jaunes d’œufs et le sucre en poudre. Versez le lait et la crème en mélangeant bien.
    Épluchez les nectarines, ôtez le noyau puis coupez la chair en dés.
    Versez la préparation dans des moules en porcelaine en ajoutant les dés de nectarines.
    Posez les moules dans un plat creux rempli d’un fond d’eau chaude et enfournez 35 minutes environ en vérifiant la cuisson avec la pointe d’un couteau.
    Sortez les crèmes du four, laissez-les refroidir 1 heure à température ambiante puis 3 heures au réfrigérateur.
    Saupoudrez uniformément les crèmes de sucre cassonade et passez-les quelques minutes sous le grill du four. Servez aussitôt.


    White Nectarine Crème Brûlées 

    Servings: 4 people
    Time: Preparation: 15 minutes / Cooking time: 40min / Waiting: 4h
    Difficulty: Very Easy
    Calories: 605 ​​per person

    Season: Summer
    Origin: Europe, France

    2 white nectarines
    4 eggs
    4 egg yolks
    500 ml milk
    200 ml of cream
    130 g caster sugar
    40g brown sugar
    20g pine nuts


    Preheat oven to 150 ° (thermostat 6.5).

    Heat the milk with the pine nuts and add the cream.

    In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the egg yolks and sugar. Pour the milk and cream in the bowl and mix well.

    Peel nectarines, remove the core and cut the flesh into cubes.

    Pour the mixture into the porcelain moulds then add the diced nectarines.

    Place the moulds  in a shallow dish filled with a layer of hot water covering the dish and bake about 35 minutes, use with the tip of a knife to check that they are cooked inside.

    Remove from the oven, let cool for 1 hour at room temperature and then refrigerate 3 hours.

    Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar cream and place for a few minutes under the grill. Serve immediately
    ......bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

    Monday, 11 August 2014

    I like a bit of leopard now and then....

    photo from here
    Bonjour mes belles,

    There is something about Monday's in France that I am learning to love. When I first arrived, they used to frustrate me as it always seemed that the shop I wanted so desperately to visit, was closed.

    Fast forward 7 years and I have got used to shops being closed on Mondays and now use Monday as a "cleanup" from the weekend.

    Monday mornings seem sleepy as if to say "go slowly, take a deep breath"....pace yourself.

    This morning is a good example, guests are all still sleeping and I am using the time to work on some decoration ideas for our new project.

    One of my favourite places to search for inspiration is pinterest and it is there that I found the fabulous photo of the leopard print chair.  Not sure that it really goes with my grey/white/rocaille style theme but it made me smile when I saw it.

    Every girl needs a little bit of leopard and I have some French Sole pumps that have a touch of leopard plus a couple of other items that I love using to jazz up a simple outfit.

    Back to my sleepy Monday, I must go but feel that a nespresso maybe in order....
    Wishing you all a semaine très douce, Leeann x