Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cookie Cutter Shapes

    Practicing making Specaloos and Gingerbread shapes for school Xmas market 13th December 2014 Lezay recipe for Specaloos from Marie Rayner's blog http://theenglishkitchen.blogspot.co.uk/…/speculaas-for-chr… and the Gingerbread comes from Waitrose recipes http://www.waitrose.com/….../recipe…/f/festive-gingerbread.html They smell heavenly when they are baking. Your house will smell like Christmas!
    Store in an airtight container.

Sweets from my new recipe book SWEETS MADE SIMPLE by HOPE & GREENWOOD

    I'm loving this book so chuffed mine look like the ones in the book, and I have learnt how to temper chocolate this morning, makes such a difference.
    This morning I have made coffee walnut whips, coconut creams, instead of putting the coffee in I put some Crème au lait noix de coco found in Lidl last week so delicious, and last but not least I put some cherries from our tree into brandy in the summer and they are well and truly soaked, just cut them in half and de pipped then dipped in some Lindt red pepper chocolate found in Intermarche and the moulds were from Baboo and cost just 1euro each
    These are so simple takes minutes to make and are so yummy and they come from The English Kitchen so thank you Marie once again this lady is amazing with her recipes, I think I use Marie's blog more than my cook books here is the recipe Nutella Cookies http://theenglishkitchen.blogspot.fr/…/nutella-cookies-only…

Monday, November 17, 2014

Black Forest Fudge

        For my Birthday last month I had the Sweets made Simple by Miss Hope & Mr Greenwood what a gorgeous book and such clear instructions.   I made the Black Forest Fudge yesterday, so scrummy, smooth can't stop eating it fudge, so pleased with the results, I will share this recipe with you                                                                                                                                                                                                BLACK FOREST FUDGE

        40g unsalted butter plus extra to grease...
        75g dark glace cherries, (I did not have these so used Maraschino cherries instead)
        500g golden caster sugar ( I only had white)
        275ml double cream ( I only had whipping)
        75g dark chocolate grated
        50g white chocolate grated

        Butter square tin ( I used a 7" one ) and line with baking parchment
        Cut 50g of the cherries in half then the remaining 25g in quarters
        Put the sugar, cream and butter in a large heavy bottomed pan with 3 tablespoons of water. Heat gently for 5-10 mins to dissolve the sugar
        Pop a sugar thermometer in the pan and bring the liquid up to boil. Boil until the thermometer reaches 113°C 235°F
        Take pan off heat and pour around a third of the mix into a metal bowl ( metal is best as it retains the heat)
        Add the dark grated chocolate to the mix in the pan and the white chocolate to the meta bowl. Stir each with separate spoons until they begin to thicken.
        Pour the dark chocolate into the tin, sprinkle over the quartered cherries. Spoon the white chocolate mix over the top and then drag a skewer through the mix to create swirls.
        Dot the halved cherries over the top, allow to cool, then chill overnight until set if you can wait that long. Remove from tin and cut into squares
        The best fudge I have ever made and all my tasters agreed with me

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fig & Ginger Jam & Quail all in a weekend

Well it doesn't matter how much we trim the Fig tree it just grows and grows and this year is no exception. Usually the birds eat most of them and friends are always invited around to take what they like and this year I decided to try and find some recipes for the figs. Yesterday whilst googling I found Fresh Fig & Ginger Jam over at Lavender & Lovage from Karen who is a writer and food developer and who also has a home here in SW France , this is a fabulous blog for recipes and there are so many others that I am going to try. I made the recipe just like it said, cutting the figs up and adding the sugar and leaving for 6 hours and then finished it off yesterday afternoon, we have just tasted it even though your supposed to leave it for three weeks to mature, so in three weeks it should taste even better and hubby said it's the best jam I have made yet, the ginger really comes through and the little chunks taste lovely, I managed to get 5 jars and plan on making this again before the birds get all the figs. Recipe is here http://www.lavenderandlovage.com/2011/09/fig-tree-auberge-and-fresh-fig-and.html

We have also decided to keep Quail, they are so cute and they sing so beautifully
We bought three at the market last week and another three from Jenny & Peter who have
a fabulous place and keep pigs,chickens,sheep,ducks,quail,rabbits,goats and more
and this morning we have our very own Quail eggs yay

Annie Sloan painted pictures for Jackie

The Table and chairs and the garden chair are Paris Grey and clear waxed.     The second table base and the seat is Louise Blue and old white topon table  again waxed in clear. The little table is old white and waxed with dark wax the same for the fire surround.   And last of all is the kitchen done in Duck Egg Blue and waxed with clear  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Jammy Dodgers and Lemon Curd

Made these Jammy Dodgers and Lemon Curd this morning recipe from Marie at the
English Kitchen the Lemon curd is divine, my biscuits are from a recipe at Morrisons http://www.morrisonsmag.co.uk/march_2013/jammy_heart_biscuits

Then we had a fabulous meal out with our wonderful friends from UK, a perfect day, oh and the weather is beautiful, clear blue sky and so warm, my favourite month here

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mirabelle Plum Jam

I do like to take a break from the computer at the weekends and this week the Mirabelle plums are so ready
I decided to have a go at jam as there was so many
Here is the easiest recipe I have ever found and it makes the most perfect jam

The Mirabelle is a specialty of the French region of Lorraine, which has an ideal climate and soil composition for the cultivation of this fruit, although we live in the Deux Sevres and it grows so well here.   Indeed, the fruit seems to have been introduced into France in the 15th century . According to legend, however, it was Alexander the Great who first introduced this fruit to Europe.


2kg Mirabelle plums 1kg granulated sugar 

Halve and stone the Mirabelles  then place in a bowl and pour the sugar over the top. Turn the fruit with a spoon to coat in the sugar then cover the bowl and set aside to marinate over night. The following morning, scrape the fruit and sugar (along with any juices released) into large saucepan.   Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 105°C.
Test for the setting point by spooning a little of the jam onto a plate that has been chilled in the fridge. If the jam forms a skin when you move it with your finger then it's reached the setting point. If it does not then you should continue boiling for 5 more minutes and test again.

Ladle the hot jam into jars that have been sterilized and baked in an oven pre-heated to 100°C for 10 minutes. Seal tightly with lids then set aside to cool and store for at least 1 month in a cool, dark, cupboard, to mature before using.

I found that the halved plums were a little big so after the jam had cooked and cooled for a few minutes I got the scissors to them and cut them whilst in the pan into smaller bits.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lot Valley

Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux

The castle was restored - and lived in - by the 19th century opera-singer Jean Mouliérat

The Dordogne
 Maisy started off with them but changed her mind half way and we had to find a way
down to the river bank to rescue her 


                                              Prehistoric Park, La Cave 

Near Rocamadour  – For the family especially if you are a dinosaur fan. Walk through a forest spread over several hectares (pushchair friendly) and walk back into the past with life size dinosaurs around every corner. A great fun trip with the chance for a photo in a dinosaur’s mouth at the end 

After the park we went and visited a shop full of chocolate where you could taste before buying, chocolate heaven


Figeac Medieval Town

This is in the village of Cornac where we were staying a village of artists, around each corner you would find artwork like this on each building and we were staying next door to an amazing sculpturer this was in the garden next to us
click here

You can see more of what we saw here

Book Recommendations

I have just got back from a lovely week in the Lot Region in France and managed to read a couple of books that I really enjoyed
First one  A Thistle in the Mist by Megan Denby, there are quite a few swear words really rude one but if you can get past this then a fabulous read, this lady has a brilliant imagination

The second one is What the heart keeps by Rosalind Laker

What the Heart Keeps

I found these on a site for free books for kindle but I am afraid they are no longer free but you can find more here at www.dailyfreebooks.com
Happy reading

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Custard Buttons

Today I made Custard Buttons from Marie's English Kitchen, they are so yummy, although mine did not turn out like a button mine were slightly bigger and I only managed to make 12.

You can see the recipe here  Marie's English Kitchen

Living in France I was unable to get hold of any vegetable fat so I used all butter
and I added Jam to one side of them as well as the cream, I shall certainly be making these again, and again and again

Monday, May 26, 2014

Say it with Words

Brand new Cd from Ooh la la featuring the beautiful artwork of Marie Rayner, to be launched on Create and Craft Monday June 9th 3pm with Kathryn Sturrock as guest presenter

We first met Marie through her love of cooking, she has her own blog called The English Kitchen and all of her recipes are tried and tested by Marie herself, I have to say we have all put a little weight on since finding her.

Then I discovered Marie loved to draw as well, when she sent out a recipe eBook with artwork she had done.  We were so pleased when she agreed to let us use her artwork and the rest is history.

We hope you love it as much as we do, my grand daughter Maisy certainly does this is her card she made for Mother's day in France yesterday, the image is from one of the digi images that she coloured in herself, she decided to put the quote on a separate piece of card just in case.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Experimenting with Marshmallow

Well yesterday I decided to have a break from CD designing and what better way than making Marshmallows
I made a whole batch up and instead of Vanilla I flavoured mine Raspberry, the recipe came from James Martin

These are really sweet so I decided to cut circles out and attach them to biscuits, I spread a little Nutella on top of some and added coconut.   The verdict from the family were yummy

I am thinking of new flavours now for my next batch, these will defiantly be in my Christmas present
hampers I do


James Martin's Recipe


For the marshmallows
  • 450g/1lb granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp liquid glucose
  • 9 gelatine sheets, soaked in 140ml/4¾fl oz water
  • 2 free-range egg whites
  • vegetable oil, for greasing
  • 5-6 tbsp icing sugar
  • 5-6 tbsp corn flour         
  • Preparation method

    1. For the marshmallows, place the granulated sugar, glucose and 200ml/7fl oz water into a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil. Heat until a sugar thermometer shows 127C/260F.
    2. Add the soaked gelatine sheets and water to the hot sugar syrup. Stir the mixture and pour it into a jug.
    3. Place the egg whites into a grease-free bowl and whisk until firm peaks.
    4. Continue to whisk the egg whites, then pour the sugar syrup onto the egg whites, whisking all the time until the whites are shiny.
    5. Add the vanilla extract and continue to whisk for about 5-10 minutes until the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape on a whisk.
    6. Lightly oil a shallow 30cm x 20cm/12in x 8in baking tray. Dust the tray with icing sugar and corn flour.
    7. Pour into tray and  chill in the fridge for at least one hour.   ( I left mine overnight ) 
    8. Remove the marshmallow from the fridge, dust some more icing sugar and corn flour over the work surface. Loosen the edge of the marshmallow then turn out onto the dusted work surface
    9. Cut into squares and roll the marshmallows in the icing sugar and corn flour to coat.                                                                                       

                         Or you can watch him making them here