Thursday, September 23, 2010

The lovely Ronda Carmen is a much better blogger than I am! She came on my September Picnics in Provence trip to the SW of France and was an utter delight to have. To view her thoughts on the week, please visit

Monday, September 6, 2010

I have 2 days until my guests arrive at this incredible spot in south west France.

I wandered into the orchard for breakfast and plucked a deliciously ripe fig, apple and plum from the tree savouring them swinging in the hammock watching the horses frolic in the field below. Cue the film crew..........!
The afternoon was spent squishing and bottling ripe ruby red tomatoes still warm from the sun for heavenly sauce made in an old fashioned mangle on the lawns of my friends gloriously beautiful farm after an idyllic time spent lazing on a boat on thier lake.
Dinner was the delicious sauce on pasta with home made basil infused olive oil. Quite simply, heaven on a stick.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The countdown is on until my next trip, starting on September 8th in south west France at the fabulous home of Kathryn Ireland..............some amazing people coming with me -have a peek at

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

France day 6 : We left early after breakfast to drive to Malaucene and then up Mont Ventoux, of Tour de France fame. 1912 metres, 21 ks uphill with gradients in some places which meant I could only drive in 1st gear - and of course cyclists galore of all ages. Talk about a challenge, one hell of a hill, very sweaty stuff. The triumphant beames on the faces of the cyclists who reached the top without stopping meant you couldn't stop smiling yourself.

The views from the top across vast tracks of Provence you could wax lyrical about for days, on a clear day you can see all the way to Corsica.

Lunch today was a drippy cheese and baguette wine picnic in the lovely village of Sault over looking lavender fields and then a coffe and a meander around yet another drop dead gorgeous village hanging off a hill.

Dinner tonight a quick sunset stroll away to the local 13 C fortified hilltown, on a lovely terrace overlooking the valley. Incredible food.

France day 5: Took my guests for our picnic in Provence. Tables set with colourful French linen and wonderful ceramics in a vineyard set high above a beautiful pink Provencal village. Our hosts the vineyard owners. Drinking the wines from the grapes at arms length and feasting on delicious local fare. Eggplant pate, roasted tomatoes, ratatouille, amazing cheeses, strawberries that tasted like they did when we were kids.

We wandered back to the villa again through the vines in the soft afternoon sun with glorious views across the plains of the Cote du Rhone. Just a touch fabulous....

Dinner in the soft evening light included melon and proscuitto, local terrines and the ubiquitous cheeses almost dripping off the plate.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 3 in Provence. We had a splendid cooking class at a beautiful local restaurant, the most incredible food which we ate in the garden courtyard under the spreading plane trees. Cream of asparagus amuse bouche, spring garden salad with fava bean and tomato vinagrette, spring lamb with potato boulangere and jus, strawberries with pepper and sorrell pesto and fresh strawberry gelato,-incredible -and a deconstructed cheesecake and elderflower gelato to top it all off. Champagne, wine and stickies from the village we were sitting in and wandered home through the vines in the late afternoon sun. Guests all now lazing by the pool and the drippy cheese is just getting to room temp for a light supper later on......


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So far it's been quite a trip! 62 hours after leaving home in Melbourne I still haven't arrived on French soil. Our flight from Melbourne and Singapore had to divert unexpectedly to Dubai due to a medical emergency. A poor lass had appendicitus and had to be rushed to hospital. While we were waiting for the medical crew to board we heard that Heathrow airport had closed due to volcanic ash and therefore the flight would be delayed in Dubai by 14 hours - which actually turned out to be 26.
I have to say Qantas was great and provided 400 passengers with hotel rooms however the thought of sitting in a hotel room in broad daylight for 14 hours didn't fill a few of us with 2 much glee so we headed into the city to see the sights.
We took a trip on a local dhow boat along Dubai Creek, popped into the spice and gold souks and then passed the tallest building in the world, the top part lost throught the desert haze en route to Jumeirah Beach.
This beach resort area is what makes Dubai so popular as a winter sun spot, it's bright white sand, pristine beaches, glorious hotels and glinting swimming pools were positively begging to be enjoyed for a couple of days. Our flight beckoned however and after another 6 hours at Dubai airport, another 7 hour flight, a missed connection, a 7 hour layover at Heathrow, I am now finally about to board my final leg to France.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Up Up and away........

Well finally heading off to France, this trip has been quite a while coming. I am however having a slight wobble at this particular moment in time, sitting at Melbourne airport wondering about the incentive to pursue a busines, albeit a passion which takes me 16000 kilometres away from my gorgeous family!

So endeth the pity party................First stop is 4 days in a sumptous house owned by the renowned British but US based interior designer Kathryn Ireland. Kathryn and I are hosting out first trip based from her house near Montauban in SW France in September. The tour promises to be amazing with a focus not only on food and wine of course but also on interior design. There is so much to do in that delightful region of France, far from the madding crowd and I am going there to make final preparations for our September week - meeting providores, wine makers, artists, antique merchants, chefs, decorators and a whole host of other wonderful and colourful characters.
Bear with me in this blog - it's a first for me! Internet access may be limited for the next few days but I'll report back from La Belle France as soon as she lets me.

A bientot

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Just over 1 week to go until we meet our lovely guests at the station
in Orange.