The converted barn La Vieille Grange in Mercadiol

I have been overseas for four weeks. Australia is indistinct, and I have eaten far too much in Sicily and France.

These are photos of the converted barn La Vieille Grange where I stayed with my partner and two friends in Mercadiol (a small hamlet) in the South West of France. It is the same restored barn that Stephanie Alexander stayed (with Maggie Beer and Colin her husband) when she researched material for her book Cooking & Travelling in South-West France. Together with our two friends, we too did a lot of cooking in this house – definitely  inspired by the local produce.

I sampled much of the local food and my best eating experience was at Le Pont de L’Oussey, a restaurant mentioned in Stephanie’s book.

Prior to this I was in Paris and through a friend I was privileged to be able to attend a session at Le Cordon Bleu, Academie De Paris.

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Before that I spent time in Palermo and Castellammare del Golfo in Sicily. I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Taylor Simeti and her charming husband; Mary is the writer I consider to be one of the best authorities on Sicilian cuisine.

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I saw this installation by  Francesco Simeti  at an exhibition in Palermo in the Regional Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Palazzo Belmonte Riso).

As you can see I have plenty to write about in my blog and will try to do this in the next following weeks.

Thank you, to those of you who through my blog expressed sympathy about having my laptop stolen in Paris and missing my blogs. Most of the Sicilian photos of Sicilian food that I had downloaded on my laptop are lost, but I have plenty of photos from the many frequent trips to Sicily that I can use.