Monday, 10 October 2016

bonne semaine à tous...

In typical French Boyfriend fashion, FB appears mid morning on samedi with a lot of vegetables and I mean a LOT. End result we will be eating vegetables for most of the foreseeable future.

Among the sea of vegetables, was this beauty, which I feel is too lovely to eat...and lovely enough to take a photo of.

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 7 October 2016

French Food Friday...Purée de pois cassés aux pommes de terre et aux lardons

                          photo from here

 Rebonjour mes belles,

I found some split peas whilst cleaning out one of the kitchen cupboards that French Boyfriend purchased some months back.
FB advised that these are good with eaten with French sausages so I had a quick search on the internet and found this recipe. 

I was a little aprehensive at first but once the mixture was in the food processor, my confidence returned and FB was happy with the result. It works well with French sausages but if you do not have these, it would also work well with strong tasting non French sausages.

The recipe appears in French with my English version below.
Temps de préparation : 200 minutes
Temps de cuisson : 45 minutes
Ingrédients (pour 6 personnes) : - 500 g de pois cassés
- 6 pommes de terre
- 200 g de lardons fumés
- 2 oignons
- 4 gousses d'ail
- 2 feuilles de laurier
- 1 pincée de sel
- 1 pincée de poivre
- 15 cl lait
- 1 noix de beurre

Préparation de la recette :

Rincer à grande eau les pois cassés puis les laisser tremper 2-3 h.
Dans une casserole, faire revenir les lardons avec une noisette de beurre et les oignons.
Ajouter les pois cassés avec 4 fois leur volume d'eau, les gousses d'ail pelées et coupées en deux, les feuilles de laurier, les pommes de terre épluchées et coupées en gros morceaux.
Laisser mijoter à feu doux pendant 45 min.
Égoutter, récupérer les morceaux de pomme de terre et les passer au moulin à légumes. Mélanger avec le lait chaud.
Jeter les feuilles de laurier.
Mixer les pois cassés avec une belle noisette de beurre puis incorporer la purée de pomme de terre.
Rectifier l’assaisonnement si besoin.

Preparation time : 200 minutes
Cooking time : 45 minutes
Ingrédients (pour 6 personnes) : - 
500 g split poeas
- 6 potatoes (peeled and cut into large chunks)
- 200 g smoked bacon
- 2 onions
- 4 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped in half)
- 2 laurel leaves
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 150 mls milk
- 1 knob of butter

Préparation :

Rinse the split peas and leave to soak for  2-3 h.
Place the bacon and onion in a pot and fry with the knob of butter until cooked.
Add the split peas together with 4 times their volume in water -  2 litres.

Add the cloves of garlic, laurel leaves and potatoes.
Simmer for  45 min.
Drain, remove the potatoes and laurel leaves? Blend in a food porocessor  until smooth.

Do the same with the potatoes and milk, then combine both mixtures and blend together,
Taste and add additional seasoning if required.

Serve with sausages.

Note by the time I thought to take a photo, it was too late as we had eaten all of it. It really is delicious...

bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 6 October 2016

C'est jeudi, jour du marché.

Bonjour mes belles,

Thursday morning is market day in the village and it has been for the past 600 years or so.
One hopes that this continues for the next 600  years. When we visited New Zealand earlier in the year, my sister took me to a local market but for me it lacked something.

Perhaps it was the friendly banter between the sellers or simply the way in which the French take the time to arrange their produce. I think that it is something that is hard to copy and the French are born into this way of life, hence they do not know any different and for them is normal.

For me this morning, it is if I was seeing the market for the first time, despite having lived here for 9 years it has not lost any of it's magic. 

It has been a very busy 6 months for us and we are looking forward to slowing down and taking time to enjoy life in this fabulous country.

How stunning do these lettuces look, I love the contrast of the colours...

A shopping basket is a must and the French are finally stopping plastic bags and adopting brown paper versions instead. I think everything tastes and looks much nicer when in paper bags...

Lots of lovely cheese, I can notg imagine France "sans fromage"...

Autumn really is the most lovely time of the year to be in France, the days are still warm and the mornings crisp.
I just had to take a photo of the purple cauliflower, it looks too good to eat.

à demain, Leeann x

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

lovely to meet you...

For the last couple of nights we have had two lovely ladies staying from America. One of whom is a follower of this blog, hence she knew a lot about us before actually meeting us in person.

We hope that you both enjoy the rest of your adventures in France and look forward to hearing your tales...

October is a lovely month to be visiting France and we are being blessed with beaucoup de soleil, long may it continue.

très belle semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 30 September 2016

Friday flowers...

I could not resist buying these beauties from the market yesterday morning.  They really brighten up the dining room and I love how dainty they are...

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x 

Monday, 26 September 2016

Sunday Tresors..

Bonjour mes belles,

The weekend was a very busy one and I adored every minute of it. French Boyfriend spent yesterday morning hunting for trésors and I felt a little sad as I could not go with him.

I was very happy when he returned and asked if I wanted to go with him. Unfortunately the sky had clouded over and it started to rain.

A shower was not going to put me off and I was itching to buy something. My father always says that money burns a hole in my pocket and in this instance he was right.

It was lovely to catch up with the other dealers, many of whom I had not seen for a good month or so. One particular couple, are like kindred spirits we share the same taste so I was more than happy to spend most of my time at their fabulous stand.

I am always tempted to buy at their stand and yesterday was no exception and I returned with some lovely silver cutlery, most of which had never been used.

The first item I purchased was a set of fromage knives which will also look good on the breakfast table. They were still in their original box and each was individually wrapped...

Next I bought some matching forks, bigger knives and spoons and some fabulous crystal glasses.

A girl can never have too many glasses or monogrammed napkins. Merci encore to the lovely Marie France, who tucked the monogrammed napkin into my hand bag as a gift and that was before I had purchased anything.

It is moments like these, that make life that little bit extra special. Talking of special, I had better go as duty calls...

Have a fabulous week,Leeann x

Friday, 23 September 2016

French Food Friday...Coq au Vin

recipe and photo from here

This recipe comes from one of the first French cookery books that I have purchased and it is the most used recipe book in my kitchen.

I use the internet most of the time but when I am looking for a tried and tested recipe, it is back to Raymond I go and this book is fool proof hence the title "Foolproof French Cookery".

Coq au Vin

Preparation: 1 hour, plus 24 hours' marinating.
Serves 4


1.5kg Chicken, (free range or organic), cut into 10 pieces (ask your butcher to prepare this)
1 tbsp Plain flour
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 pinches Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the marinade
1 litre Full-bodied red wine, such as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon
3 Medium carrots, cut into slanted slices 1 cm (1/2 in) thick
2 Celery sticks, cut into slices 1 cm (1/2 in) thick
20 Baby onions, peeled but left whole
1 Bouquet garni (parsley stalks, 2 bay leaves, 6 sprigs thyme tied together)
1 tsp Black peppercorns, crushed

For the garnish
1 tbsp Olive oil
200g Smoked streaky bacon, rind removed, diced
400g Small button mushrooms, trimmed
1 tbsp Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Marinating the chicken
Bring the red wine to the boil and boil until reduced by a third, to remove the alcohol and concentrate the colour and flavour. Leave to cool. In a bowl, mix the chicken pieces, carrots, celery, baby onions, peppercorns and bouquet garni together and pour the cooled red wine over them. Cover with cling film, refrigerate and leave to marinate for 24 hours.  Place a colander over a large bowl and put the chicken mixture in it to drain off the marinade. Leave for a minimum of 1 hour to remove excess liquid. Separate the chicken, vegetables and herbs, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Season the chicken with 4 pinches of salt and 4 pinches of freshly ground black pepper. Reserve the liquid.
Toasting the flour
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Sprinkle the flour on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 8–10 minutes, until it is very lightly coloured. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2.
Frying the chicken
On a high heat, in a large, heavy-based casserole, heat the olive oil and colour the chicken pieces in it for 5–7 minutes on each side. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the drained vegetables and herbs to the casserole. Lower the heat to medium high and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly coloured.
Making the sauce
Spoon out most of the fat from the casserole, add the toasted flour and stir into the vegetables for a few seconds. On a medium heat, whisk in the wine marinade little by little; this will create a sauce and prevent lumps forming. Bring to the boil and skim any impurities from the surface. The wine marinade will be slightly thickened and have the consistency of a light sauce. Add the chicken pieces and return to the boil. Cover with a lid and cook in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
Finishing the sauce
If you wish you can serve the coq au vin as it is. But should you prefer a richer, more powerful sauce, drain it through a colander and, on a high heat, boil the sauce until it has reduced by one third. It should have acquired more body and become a rich, vinous colour. Pour the sauce back over the chicken and vegetables.
Cooking the garnish
Over a medium heat, in a medium non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil and cook the diced bacon in it for 30 seconds. Add the button mushrooms and cook for a further 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix the diced bacon and button mushrooms into the coq au vin. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve piping hot, straight from the casserole.

bon appetit à tous, Leeann x