Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Renovated Maison

Susan Fraser, the owner of this beautiful home contacted me to let me know that she has put her house up for sale. So, if you are interested here are the details she sent me:

Telephone: (33) 6 22 23 68 54

Email: susanfraser@sfr.fr

The sale price is: 199,000 euros.

It’s a 19th century, freestanding stone house in Lherm – a small, medieval village surrounded by forest in the Lot valley region in France’s southwest. The village is surrounded by forest and walking tracks. Centrally heated throughout, the house includes a sunny, south-facing kitchen; an open-space living room (with fireplace) and dining room opening on to a terrace that spans the front of the house; two bathrooms, four generously proportioned sunny bedrooms and a large open-space light-filled attic. An interior well combines with the town’s water system to provide water to the house (the system can be switched from town to well water with the flick of a switch).

Links to the house for anyone interested in knowing more:

An English link: http://www.french-property.com/vp/nv/id/353125/

A French link: http://www.leboncoin.fr/ventes_immobilieres/211056278.htm

And I have added three more pics she was kind enough to send me. Thanks Susan, it's a lovely house and I'm sure you'll be able to sell it soon.

Original post starts here:

My internet connection seems to be behaving this morning, so I'm happy to take you to France today.
While renovating this house in Lherm, in France's Lot valley region, Susan Fraser and Jean-Pierre Grousset took pains in preserving its 19th century style, but managed to brighten up the building's once dark interiors.

French home


The photograph above is by Susan Fraser.

The photo above is by Susan Fraser

Photography by Richard Powers
All images from here.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Sage-Sherry Butter Sauce

I'm very picky about crusted chicken, or crusted ANYTHING for that matter. It makes no sense to me that anyone would want to use that dried powdery under seasoned store bought dried bread crumbs when just for a tad bit of effort, you can make your own flavorful bread crumbs that make the perfect crust for meats and vegetables.

Start with a rustic type of bread such as ciabatta, (almost all super markets carry rustic type loafs of bread in their bakery sections) cut bread into cubes leaving the crust on, and process into crumbs in a food processor. The crumbs will be different sizes from small to pea size, this is fine because the goal is not uniformity.
Dry the crumbs on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven  for 10 - 15 minutes until they are dried but not toasted. Freeze any unused crumbs in a freezer bag. When ready to use, thaw and add desired fresh herbs.


2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into half
1 cups dried bread crumbs *see above
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Prepare chicken breast by cutting in half lengthwise and pounding to 1/2 thick *Doing this ensures that the coating doesn't burn before the chicken is cooked through.

Combine breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, lemon zest and Parmesan in a shallow dish

Whisk egg whites, cornstarch and lemon juice in another shallow dish.

Dip both sides of prepared chicken into egg mixture. Transfer the chicken to the crumb dish, pat crumbs on both sides of chicken. Air-dry chicken on rack for 20 minutes, this helps to set the crumbs. *Don't skip this important step, it ensures that the crust will adhere to the chicken while cooking.

Heat oil in a large, nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, add chicken and cook for 3 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
Carefully turn chicken with a spatula and transfer the skillet to the oven to finish cooking. Roast chicken just until done, about 8 minutes more.


1 1/2 tablespoon shallot minced
1/4 cup good sherry *not cooking sherry
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 - 2 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
Salt, white pepper, and cayenne to taste.

Saute shallot in butter in a small saucepan over medium heat just until soft, 2 -3 minutes.
Add sherry, cream, broth and lemon juice. Simmer until reduced by half, 8 -10 minutes.
Whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time stirring constantly.
Finish sauce with sage and seasonings off heat.
Keep warm until ready to serve.

Make it a menu with Roasted Potatoes with Garlic & Rosemary, and Sauteed Green Beans with Red Peppers


2 tablespoon olive oil
2 -3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
1 lb. Yukon gold or red skinned potatoes, unpeeled, cut into large chunks
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees 
Mix oil, garlic and rosemary in a large bowl, set aside.
Boil potatoes in water for one minute, with a slotted spoon transfer potatoes to a rimmed baking sheet.
Drizzle oil and herb mixture on potatoes, toss to coat.
Roast for 20 minutes, carefully turn potatoes with spatula and continue to roast for 10 more minutes, or until cooked through, browned, and crisp.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.


Home in Spain

Hello my friends. Lately my internet connection has been maddeningly slow and this is why I haven't been posting every day. I apologize for not visiting your blogs my friends but it is a real pain to wait forever for each page to upload. I hope to have this problem solved soon. Now I must hurry and publish this post before this lucky spell is over!

Hope you enjoy today's tour of a home in Spain.




All images from here.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Drama Queen

I spent yesterday with my MIL, and part of the fun was having a fabulous, leisurely, girly style lunch in the quaint town square of Roanoke, followed by a stop into Sadie's Upscale Resale & Consignment shop, to see if we could find 'something that we couldn't live without'.  One of my finds was a bundle of long stemmed dried leaves that I thought would be perfect for Fall decorating.

When I saw them, I knew that they wanted to call my big blue urn home, and act as a fall replacement for the fern that had been residing there all summer long in our entry area.

After flagging down the owner to ask how much the dried leaves cost (since there was no price tag), she said she would sell them for $2 each. I told her that I didn't want just one or two, that I was the greedy sort, and wanted them all.
After thinking about it, she said $20 bucks and their yours!
I figured that there had to be at least 30 of them, so I scooped them into my arms and made a bee-line to the check out counter!

When I got them home and counted them, I had 51 of these beauties... if indeed I did have to pay $2 each, they would have been $102.00, so I saved myself $82.00!

I love having some kind of a WOW factor in the entry, and knew that a large scale arrangement would do the trick.

But instead of leaving the urn on the floor in front of the french doors, where it was parked all summer, I thought it would have a greater impact if I put the urn with the leaves on the pedestal attached to the pony wall by the front door.

WOW!... let the drama begin!

It works really well with the scale of the gallery wall, and large copper mirror in the dining area,

I love having tall ceilings, and finding new ways to decorate the space above eye level... I think by doing this, it gives the room balance.

This certainly gives the small entry a big impact with lots of DRAMA!


Friday, 26 August 2011

Summer House in Sweden

White room lovers, this post is for you. Hundreds of shades of white in this Scandinavian style summer house. Hope you like it!

Alt ble hvitt på hytta

Driver interior shop

Gamle tekstiler

Mal gulvet med båtlakk


Bruk sjalusier

Åpnet kjøkkenet

Bruk vinduer inne

Bruk vinduer inne

Landlig gjesterom

Stilleben på soverommet

Trakk om designersofa

Lun hagestue

Have a great weekend, my friends!

Photography by Monika Norrby

All images from here.