Newsletter June 2013

Bonjour gastro-nomads

Gastronomic tour news

The May 2013 Uzès culinary week went off like a bomb with a particularly lively and hilarious group of dedicated gastronomads, eating and drinking their way through the South of France. The Mas where we hole up has new owners - Michael and Emma from London and they have done a beautiful refurbishment. The weather was less than glamorous but we made up for that with our sun-drenched recipes in the cooking classes - think stuffed courgette flowers, olives, Pastis, rosé, langoustines, lavender, Pelardon goat cheeses, thyme and lots of local olive oil. We visited St-Remy-de-Provence and enjoyed a bombshell cooking class in the home of French TV chef Yvan Cadiou where we consumed heroic amounts of alcohol, philosophized, learned traditional Provençal recipes and even sang and took up guitars. Our last night dinner was distinguished by our outrageous guest chef Jean-Claude and a manouche (French jazz) concert.

In the Basque Country in June 2013 we selflessly dedicated ourselves to eating the best food in the universe - San Sebastian has the most three star restaurants in the world and the most delicious refined pintxos (tapas) - we crawled around all the pintxos bars eating tuna, anchovies, spicy-sweet Guindilla peppers, Pata Negra cured ham, foie gras and langoustines, all washed down with the local sparkling white wine txakoli. On the French side we ate lots of tender hake, veal cheeks and sardines, learned how to make Basque pastry, bought stripy Basque fabric and visited the pepper village of Espelette. There’s always a surprise on the last night and this time after our fish cooking class and dinner we danced to a local Basque trikiti (accordion) and tamborine group. As usual the gastronomads went mad shopping.

In October I will host our two full India tours - watch out for over-the-top flamboyance!

I am in Uzès for the summer and teaching my private culinary workshops for small groups - 1/2 a day to three days of intensive cooking, eating, drinking,  farm and vineyard visits, market tours, restaurant visits etc. Do email me on if you wish to enquire about these.
Here are the trips for 2014:

Marrakech - €3,250
May 31st - June 7th, 2014 - one week
Basque Country - Northern Spain/South-Western France - €3,250
June 28th - July 5th, 2014 - one week
Uzès South of France - €3,250
July 12th - 19th, 2014 - one week

India - Jaipur, Goa, Darjeeling, Kolkata - NZ$8,750
October 12th - 22nd, 2014 - ten days

I am doing a research trip to Puglia this month with the intention of adding Puglia to the tours next September - stay very coiled! For info on Puglia have a look at the story in the June Australian Women’s Weekly -

Book News

I have started on my next book to be called ‘Never Put All Your Eggs In One Bastard’. It is a sort of memoir centered around the selling of my house in Grey Lynn, Auckland to buy a house in Uzès, South of France. I am also writing a book on my favourite things in India - recipes, food, interior decor, jewelry, friends, music etc. It will probably be called ‘The Hot Pink Spice Saga’ and I am writing it with my friend and colleague Julie LeClerc who will also take all the photos. So lucky to have Julie onboard. For info on France read my book ‘French Toast’. For info on Marrakech read my book ‘Culinary Adventures in Marrakech’.

Roadshow News

My live roadshow comprising reading, story telling, cooking on an ironing board, agony aunt, armchair travel and singing went very well in the throbbing metropolises of mid-NZ in March. Flushed with confidence, my collaborators Jane and Jeff Avery and I performed in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Taupo, Hastings and Rotorua. Here is a little video of the show:

Honourable News

I was in India when the medals were given out in 2012 so the NZ government kindly arranged for me to have my own private investiture ceremony at Government House in Auckland in January 2013. My family came over from Australia and advanced from down the line NZ. My 93 year old mother fronted up to the ceremony wearing her war medals. She’s the size of a tooth pick but very feisty. When the Governor general mentioned her medals to her she said, ‘I have been trying to outdo my daughter for 63 years and this is my last chance’. Can’t think where I get my personality from. There has been a slight slackening off of bowing and scraping from my subjects so this is an opportunity for you to remember your place in the scheme of things.  

Much love from sunny Uzes (fear not my antipodean friends, Summer is now officially on its way).