Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Gluten free

Gluten free raspberry and lemon muffins

Bonjour mes belles,

I cannot believe it has been over a week since my last post. I have been trialing some gluten free recipes as we have some guests arriving who are allergic to gluten.

Sourcing the ingredients has been harder that I thought that it would be and France does not offer a huge range of gluten free products and those that are on offer are ridiculously expensive and do not look very appetizing.

Yesterday I tried making gluten free bread which turned out okay but when I inspected it this morning,it is hard like a rock.

Hence I think that the bread is going to take a few more attempts on my part.

As I write this I have a batch of raspberry and lemon muffins in the oven, which were a hit with our non gluten-free guests last week.

Back to the drawing board I must go as the guests are staying for a few days and I want to try making some gluten free biscuits next.

à très bientot, Leeann x 

Friday, 8 September 2017

Friday flowers

What a difference a week makes.  The weather has turned cooler and it is barely light at 7am.
It really feels like Autumn and it is as if, someone has pushed a button and summer is gone.

I am not ready to say au revoir to summer hence the photo today of some lovely sunflowers.

bon fin de semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 1 September 2017

French Food Friday - Plum Clafoutis

recipe and photo from here

We have just woken  up to a very chilly 10 dgrees this morning so my plan is to start baking while it is cool.

Most of the plums have been eaten but I have enough to make a clafoutis. I have quite a few French clafoutis recipes but they are allthe same and I like the idea of using a bit of brandy and the almonds which makes this recipe stand out from the crowd.

  • 1 Tbs. sliced almonds
  • 7 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more for the pie plate
  • 12 oz. (3 to 5 medium) red or black plums, pitted and quartered
  • 1 Tbs. brandy
  • 1 Tbs. amaretto
  • 1-1/2 oz. (1/3 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
  • Put the almonds in a 9-inch ceramic or metal pie plate and toast in the oven until pale golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a small bowl to cool, stir in 1 Tbs. of the sugar, and set aside. Return the pie plate to the oven and raise the temperature to 425°F.
  • Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is bubbling and hot, add the plums, and cook, turning, until they begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle 3 Tbs. of the sugar over the fruit. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the sugar melts into the fruit juices and becomes a syrup, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the brandy and amaretto.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and the remaining 3 Tbs. sugar. Whisk in the eggs until the mixture is completely smooth; then whisk in the milk, cream, and vanilla.
  • Remove the pie plate from the oven and carefully butter it. Pour the fruit and syrup into the pie plate, spreading the fruit evenly.
  • Pour the custard over the fruit (the pie plate will be very full). Bake, sprinkling the reserved almond topping over the batter halfway through baking, until puffy and the center is set, about 15 minutes.
  • Let the clafoutis cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes (it will deflate). Dust liberally with confectioners’ sugar and serve.  

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

it's plum season in SW France

French boyfriend asked me if I would like some plums to give to our guests. A few hours later,he returns with 4 kilos of freshly picked organic plums or as they are called in French; prunes.

As he is going out the door, he tells me that I need to wash and dry them before giving them to the guests....have you ever washed and dried 4 kilos of plums? It takes time, let me tell you.

I am just hoping that the guests eat all of them, if not you will find me in the kitchen making jam.

à plus tard, Leeann x

Friday, 25 August 2017

french food friday - Ham and Gruyére Risotto

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

Today is the first day that I have not had a stack of courgettes staring at me from my kitchern work top.

For the last month or so, every time I turn around, French boyfriend appears with a pile of courgettes...they were taking over the kitchen and as a result I was spening more and more time in the kitchen, in order to use them up.

Don't get me wrong, I love spending time in the kitchen but as this is one of our busiest months of the year guest wise, the last thing that I feel like doing is trawling the internet looking for a new recipe and then having to cook it. FB is on cooking strike as he cooked some fish which I said was overcooked and I realise that I should have not said anything.....famous last words.

For some reason or another, I have an over supply of risotto rice  so I am making this recipe tonight.

Ham and Gruyére Risotto
Serves 4-6 
Preparation 10 mins 
Cooking 25 mins

    1.5l (48 fl oz) chicken stock or vegetable stock
    30g (1 oz) butter
    1 onion, finely chopped
    125g (4 oz) ham, chopped
    400g (13 oz) arborio or carnaroli rice
    125ml (4 oz) dry white wine
    125g gruyére cheese, cut into small dice
    60g (2oz) freshly grated parmesan cheese
    1 tsp snipped chives


    Bring the stock to a gentle simmer in a large saucepan. Meanwhile, heat 30g (1 oz) of the butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan.
    Add the onion and cook, stirring, over a moderate heat for 5 minutes, or until soft.
    Add the ham and cook for 2 minutes.
    Add the rice to the onion and stir gently for 2 minutes to coat the rice grains with a little butter.
    Add the white wine. Stir and allow almost to evaporate.
    Keep adding the simmering stock, a ladle at a time, to the rice mixture. The rice must be allowed to absorb the liquid before more stock is added. Stir frequently and often, and add more stock as required. It will take about 20 minutes to cook. Taste the rice - it should be soft but still retain a little bite.
    Remove from the heat and add the gruyére, grated parmesan cheese and chives. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Season to taste.
bon appetit à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Picnic weather

Bonjour from a sunny SW France,

The weather here is lovely and sunny, perfect weather for a picnic or as the French spell it pique-nique.

The French take their pique-niques very seriously and  a lot of French people  even pack a table and chairs - they really do it in style.

Fortunately we have a lot of places nearby that are perfect for picnics and in each of our apartments, guests will find a picnic hamper.

Yesterday I mentioned to our French guests that had just arrived, that there was a picnic basket in the house for them to use and they  very politely mentioned that it was not necessary as they had one in the car.
Sounds very familiar as when we travel within France, the panier pique-nique always comes with us.

Just writing this has me thinking about a picnic, I love them and there is nothing like having a picnic in la belle France....

belle semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 18 August 2017

French Food Friday - Lemon and blueberry madeleines.

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

It is time to get your madeleine tins out as I have found a fabulous and very yummy recipe....

Lemon and blueberry madeleines

Makes 24 madeleines

butter 80g, really soft
caster sugar 100g
eggs 2
lemons zest from 2
sea salt a pinch
plain (all-purpose) flour 100g
baking powder (baking soda) ½ tsp
blueberries a punnet

Cream the butter with a tablespoon of the sugar. Whisk the remaining sugar with the eggs, lemon zest and the pinch of salt in a separate bowl until light and fluffy.
Gently fold in the flour and baking powder until just combined.
Scoop out a third of the batter into the butter and mix vigorously. Transfer into the remaining batter and fold in very gently.
Scrape the batter into a plastic piping bag and chill for at least 3 hours (or up to 3 days).
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Butter and flour a madeleine pan. Snip a small 8mm hole from the tip of the piping bag and pipe the batter three-quarters of the way up the prepared moulds. Stick two blueberries in each madeleine. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/gas mark 4 and bake for 14 minutes or until the edges are a deep golden brown and the domes are just beginning to brown.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes in the pan, then turn out on to a wire rack.
The secret to making plump madeleines is heat shock. Chill the batter for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7 for a good 30 minutes before reducing to 180C/gas mark 4 to bake them.

bonne fin de semaine à tous, Leeann x

Gluten free

Gluten free raspberry and lemon muffins Bonjour mes belles, I cannot believe it has been over a week since my last post. I have b...