The Vietnam tour was really wonderful and I do believe I have 15 gastronomads to back that up – they were, to a woman and man, exemplary, harmonious and remained standing in spite of some warm temperatures. As Vietnam is long and skinny it gets hotter as we travel from the North to the South. It was agreeable in Hanoi and Hué then hot in Hoi An and sweaty in Saigon. With the help of gallons of water and beer, we handled it. I have started writing weekly blogs on my website and dedicated two of them to the Vietnam tour so I won't bang on too much here. Suffice to say that street food and inexpensive family restaurants are, hands down, the best eating across the whole country. My next tour to Vietnam is April 2018 and bookings are open!Read More
The party’s over but what a party. After Hué the gastronomads and I spent a few hot days in Hoi An, possibly the cutest, prettiest town in Vietnam. When I first visited Hoi An in 2002 I met a young woman called Ms Vy who taught me my first Vietnamese cooking class. Back then she had a couple of restaurants and now she has five in Hoi An, a big cooking school and a hotel. She basically runs Hoi An, travels the world and looks just the same all these years later.Read More
So the gastronomads have arrived, the Vietnamese culinary tour is well under way and the food and people are fabulous. C’est comme une letter à la poste (it’s as predictable as posting a letter) – the people will always be welcoming, happy and warm and the food will always be zingy and complex. As I write this my coffee is delivered to my room – 'I like your hair Madam... you born like that?' No, I’m a complete fake from top to bottom, even my toenails are not the colour God intended them. 'You very funny Madam, have a nice day'. Which brings me to my next compliment – the one I always wait for from the frank Vietnamese. It usually happens in the massage room and sure enough... 'you beautiful when you young Madam'.Read More
Travel not only broadens the mind, it makes the mind. I made my broadened mind up many years ago (2004) to see what Vietnam was all about and have loved it ever since. The first thing you have to be very at one with the universe about is the heat. You put your lipstick on, leave the hotel every morning, stand up straight and say to yourself, it’s going to be 35 degrees, you are going to sweat gallons and every single person you speak to or even walk past will scream, 'you beautiful hair madam you very modern'. Then they pull the red hair to see if it’s a wig. The Vietnamese engage you immediately – they love fun, are very witty and very direct.Read More
Autumn is the time to get into muscle toning activities such as lifting more red wine to your lips, making rabbit terrines where you chop everything by hand and rip the hazelnuts open with your bare teeth, and pasta and pastry making. The great thing about making good pastry at home, is that you feel powerful and in control of your universe. It’s not easy to make, therefore your friends and family know without a shadow of doubt, that if you turn up with an apple tart encased in home made, hand made puff pastry, you are expressing truly, madly, deeply, how much you love them.Read More
The Bluff oyster – this delectable thing with its craggy, rock-hard shell and sweet, salty and soft interior is now in season. Food for the heart (7 calories, loads of iodine and zinc), food for the loins also if you get my drift.Read More
There were some wonderful New Zealanders in the Languedoc who owned a restaurant called Le Mimosa. One day, years ago, I turned up and ordered a terrine of young leeks with hazelnuts, orange and coriander grains accompanied by sourdough bread and fleur de sel, sea salt from the Camargue. I remember the intelligent and fragrant combination of flavours. All cooks love vegetables – we love choosing them, cleaning, chopping, smelling and dreaming while we do it.
Speaking of sourdough, another thing cooks really like doing to calm their nerves and accrue family good points is make bread. None of us have to make bread for sustenance – we make it to save on psychology bills.Read More
We’re great rose growers in New Zealand and lots of rural folk at this time of year can be found hunched over big pots of fragrant sugar, making that most refined of all jams – rose petal jam. You can’t just use any old rose – it has to be a very perfumed one like Floribunda, Old English or Damask for example.Read More
Is it true that we are losing our traditional dishes or is it that surveys on changing food tastes are only done on people who eat 2 minute noodles? And if it is true that we no longer subject ourselves to mutton broth, cow’s liver and tripe, does anyone care?
A recent survey in Britain discovered that people under 25 had no idea what spotted dick, brawn and scrag end of neck were. They were repulsed by the idea of offal, haddocks heads and squirrel pieRead More
This is my first blog and it’s up to you to make it a wild success... thus convincing me to keep writing it.
You know how you’re lying on the couch and you get hungry? My first thought was, God, I’ve got to go out and buy some food. My second thought was, no, I’m going to look in the fridge and the cupboard and make a meal from what I already have.Read More
Namaste gastronomads and Happy New Year! In spite of a few natural disasters like some rain, the whole state of Tamil Nadu being closed for a day due to a strike in support of Jallikattu (bull-taming) and three 'dry' days where we had to have gin snuck in to us, we are alive and well to tell the story of the first ever South India tour.Read More
I'm back in Auckland and it's great to be home... I'm loving our fabulous coffee, our wide open spaces, my wonderful friends and the cleanliness. We really do live in one of the best countries in the world. I love travelling the world, but it's wonderful to come home too.Read More
As promised from Peta's shows in Paraparaumu and Auckland last weekend, and Dunedin and Christchurch this weekend.... Tarte Soleil!! Enjoy!
2 packets of frozen flakey pastry in 32cm rounds
1/2 cup tapenade
1/2 cup something else like sun dried tomato paste, grated cheese, artichoke paste, pesto …
1 egg yolk beaten with a little milk
fennel seeds for sprinkling
I'll be hitting the road this November to bring you my brand new show, in association with Farmers. Themed around my latest book (a memoir of sorts) titled 'Never Put All your Eggs in One Bastard' it's a great night out with bubbles complements of Arrogant Frog, the agony aunt couch, singing, giveaways and all sorts of shenanigans.
Tickets on sale NOW!Read More
I am currently ensconced in the heat and sunshine of Uzès, and rocked up to Johnny Hallyday's concert in Nimes last night. At the end he sang Jacques Brel's 'Quand on n'a Que L'Amour' (When We Only Have Love) in tribute to the people of Nice. When he finished, the audience rose as one and sang the Marseillais. Very emotional.Read More
Salam Alikoum gastronomads,
I am pleased to report that my May Marrakech tour was a wild success. We stayed in our usual fabulous digs – the mud-brick hand built Dar Tasmayoun in the countryside and the chic Maison du Trésor in the medina.Read More
My chic new house in Uzès is available and willing to be inhabited by fabulous people while I am not in residence. It is in a quiet pretty street, right in the middle of Uzès.
Three storeys, two bathrooms, one bedroom, large terrace at the top. Air-conditioning, professionally equiped kitchen, entire front facade of glass and steel.Read More
Xin Chào Gastronomads,
My first Vietnam tour went off like a well directed Chinese opera full of colour, singing and outrageous fashion statements. Like any good opera, it's only ever as good as the actors, and our ready-for-anything gastronomads took centre stage.Read More
I trust you've had restful holidays and made sensible New Year resolutions like will eat more chocolate, will suffer fools less gladly, will go to South India with Peta...
India is such a vast and varied country, and many of my India gastronomads have expressed an interest in returning. The result of my recce, much research, kind connections and the sight of all those luxury hotels is my first South India / Tamil Nadu tour 14 – 25 January 2017.