August 14, 2008

45 degrees below... winter words in summer

Live from the 45th parallel.
Christchurch, New Zealand.

This busman's holiday in the southern hemisphere is as much about R&D as it is teaching and cooking. So the very first thing on my first morning with the Metcalfes was an chilly excursion to the Lyttleton Farmer's Market followed by a HOT flat white at the Lyttleton Coffee Company in front of the seriously roaring fire.

While the South Island was hit with unexpected snow flurries and some blustry winds which severly reduced the buyers, the serious and passionate vendors gathered in the somewhat sheltered lee in the grade school playground to sell their wares.

Anna of Gruff Junction farms with her goat's cheeses, organic farmer Chris with an extensive of vegetables from his Tuahiwi Market Gardens ,

and an extraordinary bacon sandwiches from local pork producers. Stay tuned for more Bacon news as we meat the Butcher Babe of Murchison (gold medal bacon!), find the french connection at the boucherie (unfortunately still closed on Sunday after Saturday's Rugby match!)

And even though I haven't been way long enough to get home sick, just the sight of these Frenchy signs in Arokua made me think of home ...

and those I've left behind...

Most of all as the Long Village stretches to meet the long white cloud (NZ to you), thanks to my good friends and hosts, Alison and Ian Metcalfe who are sharing their beloved home with me and extending the Gascon/Kiwi network.

For more information on cooking classes in New Zealand and
traveling with Ian and Ali to France
click on

August 03, 2008

Old France in New Zealand-coming soon

" The old moon cradled in the arms of the new..." a friend's mum used to say.

When the littlest crescent moon is born, you can still see the echo of the full moon behind it. So what happens when you take a girl out of the country -Old France- and put her on the new moon side of the world -New Zealand-? You will still see the echo of Gascony in the food I will be teaching on a month long jaunt across the north and south islands.

My life on the Gascon Ranch is full of the comings and goings of wonderful guests, friends and clients... sometimes all rolled into one. Last year Ian, Alison and Anthony Metcalfe spent the jaunty month of June at Camont and fell in love with the food, the land and the people of my corner of Gascony. It was no surprise to me that after returning to New Zealand from their 'gap year' in Europe, that they found an excellent way to extend their souvenirs of France, Spain and Italy. They have taken the helm of Great Village Holidays into their capable hands.

Ian skyped me one day last winter and asked if I would be interested in traveling to NZ to teach some cooking classes, host some dinners and sign a few copies of my long running, evergreen cookbook. How long did it take to say "yes"?

So after a winter, spring and summer of dipping down into Spain to sample the wares for a Stylish Spanish book, I am heading for that long white cloud of a country to share my love of Southwest France with hungry folk in Christchurch, Hamilton, Wellington, Tasman and Auckland (not necessarily in that order!).

I am looking forward to meeting fellow bloggers, food lovers, cooks and writers, and especially artisan food producers who will help me make Good Gascon food with Great New Zealand products!

I fly out from Paris on Tuesday... next stop Dubai! Oh, Who's minding the Bacon at home? Why Monday Matt, of course, who promises a potager inventory for his next post... tonight's supper courtesy of his home grown CSA box of coeur de boeuf tomatoes, piments, courgettes, eggplants and well, more peppers, of course!