Thursday, September 26, 2013

Taste of Provence with Grilled Hake and Ratatouille

When asked about my passion, you may find "cooking" as my prompt answer. Lately I have been pondering about the reason behind it. I did not have to 'ruminate' on it for too long as I found the answer over dinner. I love to cook simply because I love to eat and as a corollary to this hypothesis, my desire to maintain my self-sufficient-self helps to boost my passion for cooking. Over the last few years, me and my husband have been to quite a few places around Europe and had the opportunity to delve into various micro-cultures. His way of reliving those moments is to glance over the multitude (can be read as millions) of pictures stored in his hard-disks both internal and external.  For me the attempt is more tangible however. It is to cook some of the traditional cuisine that I may have come across or learnt or tasted during those vacations. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

From the Eagle's Nest : EZE, France

Cote d'Azur or the French Riviera predominately evokes flashes of turquoise waters, rugged cliffs jutting into the sea, a touch of wealth in every corner and in its glittering casinos and the rich and famous celebrities scattered around like the pebbles on its beaches. Talking of the pebbles, they are called "Galets" here and were brought down from the Alps by the numerous rivers on their way to the Mediterranean. Though they are now eroded every year by the winter storms, each spring the people here, in love with their natural heritage, spend a fortune to reclaim them back from the sea. Given the attachment of the locals to their heritage, it was important for us on our visit to the French Riviera to find a location which is rooted deep in the history of Cote d'Azur.

The name Cote d'Azur was given by a French poet, Stéphen Liégeard, which the French seem to prefer. The name French Riviera was however a gift of the British, who (the rich among them) chose this region for their leisure retreat and in turn transformed it as one of their own. This is evident in the main cities of this region namely Nice, Toulon or Cannes. But rarely does the little village of Eze figure in the tourist map of this region but may well be one of the most virgin beauties of the Azuri coast. 

Eze is a small village perched on a 427m high cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. Settled as early as 2000BC it has over the centuries been juggled between the Romans, Moors, Franks, Spanish and the Turks before being finally occupied by Louis XIV of France. In 1860 the people of Eze unanimously decided to be a part of France and thus stems it current affiliation. The village is served by a train station which lies on the Riviera rail route running along the Mediterranian all the way from Cannes to Nice onto Menton on the French-Italian border and beyond. It however may not be the best way to visit Eze if one is not interested in an half an hour climb up the steep cliff.