Friday, 26 May 2017

French Food Friday - Basque Chicken

recipe and photo from here

This chicken stew is a French classic that was actually invented in a Paris restaurant and has nothing to do with the Basque region of France. It really is a one-pot wonder, and is best served with  green beans or a leafy green salad.

Basque Chicken

Serves 4.
2 tablespoons olive oil
500 grams (1 pound) chicken thigh fillets
2 green peppers
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 slices of Virginia ham, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon vegetable stock powder
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed casserole dish and brown the chicken on all sides.
2. Slice the green peppers into large strips. Add the peppers, diced onion, minced garlic and diced ham to the Dutch oven and cook for about 10 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes and stock powder, and season well with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes more.
4. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately.

bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Bonjour à tous

Here we have lot's of lovely sunshine and it  is as if Summer has arrived early. It starts of a bit chilly in the morning but by the time that the afternoon arrives, it is very warm and this week every day the maximum  climbs a degree, odd but true.

We spent Sunday at a local antique fair in a beautiful village in the heart of the Dordogne and it was hot. I was running out of layers to peel off and was thankful that I has thrown a sunhat in my basket as it turned out to be a real scorcher. So hot that I wanted an icecream and I was very happy when French Boyfriend and I finally found a place that was a)open and b)served icecream.
Sunday afternoon's are so sleepy in SW France and it is often  difficult to find something to eat on a Sunday afternoon as a lot of businesses are closed.

Enjoy what is left of the week, Leeann x

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Friday flowers - Peonies

Bonjour mes belles,

What a fabulous week and one of the things that made it fabulous was the fact that we have had some lovely guests staying and I feel sad that they have gone.

I managed a quick trip to the market  in between breakfast deliveries and was surprised at how expensive the peonies were on the flower stand.  I was tempted to buy them but at the same time I found them expensive. Note we saw them yesterday at our local supermarket, who are selling 3 for  12 euros but they were white and I prefer the pink.

We  continued our tour of the market and I spotted lots of peonies but it was early and the seller had not yet made them into bouquets. I smiled and started with Bonjour Madame c'est combien pour les pivoines and prayed that she was not asking a huge amount.

She smiled and I knew that she could tell that I wanted them. End result I purchased two bouquets, a punnet of strawberries and walked away happy.

I returned to the house happy with my purchase and started searching for a vase to put them in.

A few minutes later French Boyfriend arrives with another bouquet, he explains that he loved the ones that were open where as I had asked for the ones that were less open.

End result I have beautiful peonies in ma cuisine, salle à manger and a stunning orchid from our lovely guests who left this morning.

What a fabulous week and it is amazing what a difference flowers make, along with some lovely guests.

bon fin de semaine à tous, Leeann x

Monday, 15 May 2017

Roses everywhere - lots of photos

Bonjour from a sunny SW France,

The weather here has been glorious and it is set to continue until  Thursday when the temperatures are forecast to return to normal with rain on the way.

Yesterday we visted the monthly brocante in the pretty village of Villereal and then made our way to the village of Monpazier which holds the classification of most beautiful in France. 

 Monthly Brocante in Villereal

The roses are blooming and are everywhere you look. Old stone walls and fabulous climbing roses - a fabulous combination.

What a charming sight this is, love the yellow coloured stone of the buildings in Monpazier as it is quite a contrast to the white stone  buildings in our village.

Love this balcony and what a fabulous view they have, overlooking the stunning and yet peaceful village square.

You can just see the village square, on the right hand side in the photo above.

I am not sure which colour I like the best, they all look so pretty.

Perched high above the gate to the village  presbytère is this lovely statue in all her glory.

There are also a lot of grape vines which add to the charm of the village. In our village you can see vines in postcards dated back to the late 1800's but sadly there are none left in the village. 

We have planted one outside our house but it is very slow growing, as they say patience is a virtue.

In the photo above, you can see both roses and vines, which are growing between the two main buildings.

The last photo does not have any roses but I was taken by the fabulous "grand" wine bottle advertisemnt for local wine.

Back to work I must go. I hope that you enjoyed your visit to the lovely village of Monpazier.

Wishing you all a très bonne semaine, Leeann x

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Wishing all Mum's in New Zealand, Australia, US and South Africa a very Happy Mother's day.

amicalement, Leeann x

Friday, 12 May 2017

French Food Friday - Tarragon Chicken

recipe and photo from here

This is on my to do list for the weekend, just need to find me some morel mushrooms and I am set... 

Tarragon Chicken
Serves 4
olive oil 30ml
salt and pepperfree-range chicken 1, jointed into six pieces
baby white onions 12
smoked bacon 160g, diced
mushrooms 16, ideally morels
white wine 200ml
chicken stock 900ml
double cream 180g
thyme leaves 1 tbsp
creme fraiche 100g
tarragon ½ a bunch, finely chopped

In a large ovenproof pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Season the chicken and cook, skin-side down, until golden. Set aside. Add the onions and bacon and cook slowly until lightly golden. Set aside. Brown the mushrooms and set aside.

Drain most of the fat from the pan. Pour in the wine and reduce by half. Add the stock and reduce by half again. Add the cream and bring back to a simmer.

Add the thighs and drumsticks and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the bacon, onions, mushrooms and thyme and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken breasts. Simmer gently for 8-10 minutes, depending on their size. Remove the breasts and legs and keep warm.
Add the creme fraiche to the sauce. Simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Check the seasoning and return the chicken to the sauce with the tarragon. Serve with rice.

bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 11 May 2017

A load of lovely linen

Last week-end we met the owner of a local chateau, he mentioned that he was having a bit of a clear out and would we be interested in going around to have a look. 

I managed to buy a few goodies and I am hoping to start listing them later today.

There are a number of stunning sets of monogrammed napkins which have all been washed and ironed by "yours truly". 
I am going off to start photographing them now....

à plus tard, Leeann x

Friday, 5 May 2017

Friday flowers

photo from here
When I saw this photo, I just had to share it. May is the month that many villages have a fete des fleurs and this photo is for one that is taking  place in the lovely village of Le Buisson de Cadouin on Monday, the festival is called Floralies. 
très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann  

Thursday, 4 May 2017

A busy week

Bonjour mes belles,

It has been a busy week as I have been working with a company in India who have designed a new website for Maison No.20. You can find it here, note the English version is finished but the French version needs work.

The website also has new photos and they are far better than what I could take. I think that I need a new camera and a course as I would love to be able to take photos like this.

Maybe after the busy season has finished, I will book myself in on a course. There is nothing like learning a new skill and I am in the mood to go back to school. 
Enough dreaming, work is calling so off I go...

à plus tard, Leeann

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Fabulous and very French

A stunning front door with the most fabulous  hardware, I love that heart shaped key hole, c'est très romantique....

à demain, Leeann x

Friday, 28 April 2017

Friday flowers

Bonjour mes belles,

Apologies for the lack of posts but I have a few projects on the go this week and everything appears to be all happening at the same time.

This week our village is hosting a flower and bee festival so fingers crossed for lots of lovely sunshine. The above photo is from the same festival in 2011 and I am hoping that the same seller returns this year as I would love to buy some more of his lovely peonies.

très bon week-end à tous, Leeann 

French Food Friday - Basque Chicken

  recipe and photo from here This chicken stew is a French classic that was actually invented in a Paris restaurant and has nothing ...