First we will take a “galloping” tour through France at christmas time. I spent a beautiful Christmas eve in a French chateau with my mother. We enjoyed a beautiful Sancerre with oysters from Arcachon, a delicious pate that came from the Spring Mill Cafe, Beef Wellington served with a rich Gigondas wine, followed by an extraordinaire plateau de fromages and finally, an ice cream created by my cousin from Bordeaux. It was shaped like a caravel boat.
New Years Eve in San Franciso with my friends Tracy and Donald – Donald is a top chef at home. He is in charge of all the meals in the house. He loves to prepare Italian dishes made with fresh produce from the fisherman’s warf market, such as baby artichokes, ratatouille, sauteed calf liver and roasted chicken with an oregano scent.
Back to the Spring Mill Cafe stove. I taught a couple of cooking classes. One was rabbit stew. The first stew was a French traditional stew with prunes and a rich red wine sauce. The other was a Mexican rabbit cooked with a Mole sauce. They were a big success. The next class was a preparation for a Sephardic Passover Dinner. The preparations were Lamb Tajine (see recipe below) and a Flourless Orange Cake (See recipe below).
Later, I took off for Australia to visit a former chef who worked at the Cafe with me, 25 years ago. We prepared meals together after going to the beautiful farmer’s market. Melbourne is a very European city with many shops with high quality produce and meats etc. I made chocolate mousse for the man of the house and sauteed red snapper with taragon beurre blanc.
My trip continues to Oakland, New Zealand where I met with a group of people involved in the Slow Food Movement. I tasted delicious whole grain bread and home made pies. Next, I flew to Tauranga to explore the beautiful vineyards of the Napier Region. I obviously tasted quite a few sauvignon blanc. I arrived at the perfect time. The grape gathering was earlier than usual because the weather had been so hot, so I got to help with my baskets. Everybody was extremely excited for a very, very good year.
Next came Cambodia. I visited the hospital that I have been helping for the past 11 years. It is growing and has a new visitors center, new radiology department, and an educational center. It was so special to meet with some of my friends and also to go to the orphanage for blind children.
I am looking forward to teaching my next class how to make Brioche dough and Salmon in pastry, Wednesday April 28th 2010 at 11:00 AM.