Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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Monday, 15 July 2013

“Oeufs en cocotte” - recreating a little Paris kitchen



Have you been watching Le Tour de France on TV? and what has it got to do with "Oeufs en cocotte" - Eggs in Pots?

Read on!













 Maybe you have visited France while the Tour de France has been on?  We got tangled up in a bit of it at Cambord in the Loire Valley in July 2005 - this was before I was really interested in "le Tour".

Now we really enjoy watching the Tour de France on TV just as much for the fantastic scenery and travel-log - and it is easy to become involved in the cycling too as you get to know the names of the riders and teams - especially if you are following your country's team.  You can see my post in 2011 when Cadel Evans won Le Tour -  by clicking here - Congratulations Cadel

But this post is not about the Tour de France, although in a way it prompted me to write this post. No, this post is about food in France – or the food “we” ate in France.

I don't know if you watch cooking programs. I love the kind that takes you on a cultural, scenic and culinary tour of a country. I have recently discovered Rachel Koo’s – “The Little Paris Kitchen” on SBS Australia. You can also see it on the BBC - BBC - the Little Paris Kitchen

Seeing Rachel cook in her tiny Paris apartment kitchen and buying produce from the street markets takes me right back to our only visit to Paris and France in July 2005. It was our present to ourselves for our “significant” birthdays and wedding anniversary that year. 


We were invited to France by our French friend Aude, and stayed in her grandmother’s apartment in Paris, then travelled down to visit her friend Armelle in La Rochelle on the west coast, and then down to her mother’s house at Montpellier on the south coast. What a wonderful two week trip we had and what wonderful food we ate. Aude was an amazing tour guide who guided us through the maze of the French language, showed us all the "best bits" and her knowledge of French history was amazing!


Here is a pic of grandmother’s tiny kitchen. Rachel’s kitchen in “The Little Paris Kitchen” reminds me of this. If you leaned out of the second bedroom window you could see the Tower Eiffel – it was our proof that we had arrived in Paris! 







I love visiting markets when we go overseas, it is like being engulfed in the essence of the country. Our first introduction to Paris markets was in Bercy not far from the apartment.

I had only just bought my first digital camera. I think I know a lot more about food photography now! And oh how I wished I had taken more memory cards with me and had taken lots more photos – next time….

 That first day in Paris we went for a boat ride on the Seine River and bought chocolate crepes at the Jardin des Plants garden. Oh my goodness, so delicious, I wish I could buy them here!

 
 A couple of days later we drove down to La Rochelle. On our way we had afternoon tea at Chateau de Chenonceaux in the Loire Valley.  The Chateau and the gardens are magnificent.  You can see Chenonceaux in the collage below. 
and Aude introduced us to the simple deliciousness of buttery, flaky, chocolaty - pain au chocolat – chocolate croissants – although I just read on the internet that to make them properly takes several days to prepare the pastry! I don't know why I don't have a pic of them!


 In La Rochelle we met up with Aude’s friend Armelle, and we went to a magnificent market where Aude and Armelle selected cheeses, cured meats, pate, olives, breads, fruit and of course a bottle of wine. We took it down to the waterfront and sat on the stone wall in the sun to eat. We even had “tourists” take photos of us! What an amazing feast we had – the best simple delicious picnic I have ever had – and of course enjoyed with good friends. 
(Now I know a bit more about food photography, I would have cut open that black bun in the middle of the pic so you could see the yellow cakey centre) :)

 
 In the afternoon we drove over to Cognac and went on a tour of Martell’s cognac distillery and tasted the product after.

 Then down to a creperie on the coast for evening dinner - Creperie Cabane du Pertuis. I wanted to take a photo of them making the crepes, but unfortunately wasn’t allowed. 

 
 In Montpellier Aude’s mother cooked us delicious meals (what a fabulous cook and host Genève is), and one hot afternoon we sat by the pool, and drank a cold pastis with pistachios and Tapenade olive paste on little toasts.  

Below you can  see the Mediterranean coast between Carbob and la Grande Motteyou  where guys trundle food trolleys along the beach. And the cafe is at the walled city of Aigues-Mortes.
 

We also drove up to beautiful La Baux Provence, the lavender fields at Notre Dame de Senanque Abbey and to the Roman built bridge Pont du Gard.



Back in Paris who can resist the cafes and restaurants. I thought it was curious how all the chairs at the tables were all facing outwards towards the street, but now I think what a great idea – you can sit close to your partner to chat and watch the passing parade at the same time. We were lucky enough to experience the Bastille Day parade.



We ate panini for lunch on the riverfront, afternoon tea in Jardin des Tuilerie before the Bastille Day fireworks, at a little restaurant in Montmartre with Aude’s cousins, and at the Eiffel Tower before going to the Moulin Rouge on our last night in Paris. 

Oh Paris is such a wonderful food, cultural, and historical experience.  I loved our Paris and France adventure and would love to visit again one day. 



But back to “The Little Paris Kitchen”…..Rachel recently cooked “Oeufs en cocotte” - eggs in Pots – or as in her case – “eggs in cups”. I loved the way she served this simple recipe in tea cups. The coffee cups in France are like bowls, so would be perfect! 


I dug out some colourful sturdy roundish tea cups and gave it a go.  Such a simple recipe. Eggs in Pots


I didn’t have the crème fraiche (but Rachel says you can substitute with a white sauce – and yes this works well). I added chopped bacon and some fetta cheese to the mixture, added some grated cheese on top, skipped the roe, and substituted parsley for the dill. As Rachel says you can put in whatever you have.  Make sure you add hot water to the baking dish, not cold as I did…twice the cooking time….

Oeufs en cocotte would be perfect for Sunday morning breakfast/brunch. 






 I hope you don’t mind my little departure from Western Australia this week, and that you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane – and oeufs en cocotte!

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photo Monday, Our World Tuesday, Travel Photo Thursday and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been

You might also like:

Images from France 
Persimmons and Pasta 







29 comments:

  1. These are fabulous photos and it looks like you had a wonderful trip.

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  2. Wow!!! these are awesome pictures. I also like traveling. Lunch on the riverfront, hope you enjoy. I like that place.

    Regards,
    Kopi Luwak

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  3. Jill, these are wonderful photos of your trip to France! The food all looks yummy. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

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  4. 'A Tour de France' right here in your beautiful mosaic photography ~ Gorgesous! ~ Happy Week to you ^_^

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  5. Secretly, I would love to visit France and especially Paris. Nice tour.

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    Replies
    1. You would love it Ruth - add it to your list. I would love to go back.

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  6. That is a simple recipe, but the presentation and taste I'm sure is devine. Nothing like visiting an amazing country and eating your way through all their local specialties and markets.

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    1. I agree, certainly eating the food of the country you are visiting is the only way to go.
      And yes, a simple but delicious dish.

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  7. I love posts about France - my favorite overseas destination. I recently discovered Rachel Koo as well, and in fact, showed her videos to some of my high school home ec students. They loved the videos. Vive la France!

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    1. She makes cooking fun and easy with her unique presentation style. I can see why your students enjoyed her videos.

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  8. I just had dinner and am craving something sweet, but trying to resist. AND then I look at your pictures! It is my dream to visit Paris...maybe someday.
    Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

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  9. Oh my, that recipe looks delicious. It looks it would have incredible flavor but also let the main ingredients shine through. Food is such a critical part of a culture. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Ah, what lovely shots of Paris and the Loire!

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  11. Your post really made me want to go back to visit Paris! It's wonderful you were able to visit friends homes there - that must have really given you a good taste for life there! I love visiting the markets, too - so full of life! I enjoyed this photo tour!

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    Replies
    1. Staying with friends really made our trip to Paris and France really special. Being shown around by a local, and eating authentic French food. Wow, we were so lucky to be invited.

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  12. What a treat that must have been, to stay with friends in France! You must have felt well and truly immersed in the culture. In 2004 we were in France and kept on 'running into' the Tour de France. At one point we stayed in the same hotel as the Yellow Jacket Team of the day - a big thrill for our daughter!

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  13. I so enjoyed your little departure and your shares from France. I love so much about this post. We enjoy watching the Tour de France on the tellie as well, and if we miss parts, we tape it, so we can catch it later. I think the mosaics of your journey to France, catch so much, of what if I could, I would so enjoy doing, including tasting of the foods. I am not so crazy about eggs, very picky, but I could probably pull off something like this and enjoy it as well. Your images then and now are all absolutely breathtaking~

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  14. Oeufs en cocotte looks yummy! :)

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  15. Oooohh! I think I should start learning some French so we can visit sometime. My husband is a huge Tour de France fan and I would love to be able to enjoy that experience with him. Your visit looks wonderful.

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  16. Hi Jills, I love Paris. Thanks for taking me back through your photos. And those food made me drool. Good job recreating the little Paris kitchen. Your Oeufs en cocote looks very sumptuous

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  17. What some lovely photos again Jill and the Oeufs en Cocotte made me very hungry - beautifully styled. Loved your trip down memory land and the journey you took us on in words and images.

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  18. Yum! The eggs look AMAZING!! Or maybe that's just your increased food photography skill??!! Only kidding, your recollections of that wonderful trip made me feel like I was right there with you!! But I guess it was just as well I wasn't - I would have eaten all your food!! Have a great weekend!

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  19. I love Rachel Koo. In fact I am quite fascinated by her tiny tiny kitchen, her beautiful dresses and intriguing accent. And the food! You certainly had a great time in France and I hope you do get to go back one day.

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  20. The picture of your picnic lunch looks fabulous, even if you didn't slice the cake! I'm going to plan a picnic lunch when my husband and I go to France next spring with my parents for our joint anniversary trip. Maybe we'll picnic in Provence! I've made oeufs en cocotte a few times at home, but I actually used ramekins. I love putting tomatoes, garlic, and asparagus tips in mine - so yummy!

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  21. Amazing photos of France, you make me want to jump on a plane!
    The food looks delicious and I love the lavender shot. I'll have to see if Rachel Koo's on TV here.

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  22. Oh my goodness, I am so ready for a trip to France - specifically Paris - after reading this. I absolutely love shopping at their street markets!

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  23. You've got me drooling with this post. Not only does the food look great but I love the pottery too in some of the photos.I am always amazed what can come out of a tiny little French kitchen. French cooks seem to be able to weave magic in so little space.

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  24. You are so fortunate to have locals take you around Paris. That must have really added to the experience. Chateau de Chenenceaux looks so beautiful, and to think that I've never heard of it.

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