Yes, I’ve reverted to writing recipes again. Well, I needed some new photos and this was one way to get them.
It’s a handy recipe which provides two meals for two people. Or one meal for four. As a bonus, it’s all vegetables you can’t really poison anybody with it.
It’s particularly useful for my diet as I don’t really enjoy it so I don’t eat too much. Too many vegetables, too much virtue and not enough chips. I suppose you could serve it with chips but it doesn’t seem natural.
Warning – this isn’t quite the classic ratatouille recipe and if you are a serious cook it probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you aren’t too fussy and have better things to do than cook, it might just suit you.
All anecdotes and suggestions for improvement gratefully received.
Take some onions and start to soften them in a pan with a good splash of oil. I use ready chopped onions because too much preparation makes my back hurt and my fingers start to ache. Use about half a packet. The other half can be used for vegetable curry. I usually cook them on the same night and store the other in the fridge.
Chop a couple of courgettes. Throw them in the pan. Cut up some peppers. I only had one red pepper and it was going a bit soft at one end so this recipe is for three quarters of a red pepper. I like the the colour of red or orange or yellow peppers. I rarely use green because I’m not keen on indigestion. That’s zucchini and bell pepper if you are American. I believe it’s zucchini and capsicum if you are in Australia and courgette and capsicum if you are in New Zealand.
It’s a good thing we all speak English or this could be quite confusing.
And now we have an aubergine. Chop it and chuck it in. It’s an egg plant in America, Australia, New Zealand and most of Canada. It’s an aubergine in Quebec and the UK.
Perhaps people could confirm that this is correct, it will give us something to talk about while we are in lockdown.
I used one tin of tomatoes, some puree and some water because I’m trying to conserve tinned tomatoes – they are in short supply round here. Add dried herbs. I just use mixed herbs. Sometimes I use Italian Mixed Herbs. I suppose I ought to be using the Provencal mixed herbs, but you don’t always see them around. To be honest, they are all exotic and foreign to me, and my palate is not sophisticated.
I should use garlic but I’m out of the bottled stuff at the moment and couldn’t be bothered to slice any of the fresh stuff.
After that you simmer it a bit. If you are lucky it comes out rich and gloopy. If you aren’t lucky you just have to say “it’s supposed to be crunchy” or “in some parts of France it’s traditional to serve it as a soup” or “If you’re so clever, you can do the cooking.”
Divide it into two lots, reserving the cooking liquid, if any, for the second lot.
Serve the first with sausages, veggie burgers or baked potatoes. Or pretty much anything you fancy – those are just my three main choices. As you will see, I served it with garlic bread and broccoli last night – we had some left-over garlic bread slices and the broccoli was looking a bit the worse for wear at the back of the fridge so it all went on the plate.
The second lot should be mixed with cooked pasta. If possible have this portion a bit more liquid than the first lot so it coats the pasta. When you are ready to eat, sprinkle cheese on top and reheat it in the oven. Now it’s pasta bake and you can’t be accused of serving the same thing twice in two days.
Preparation time – about 20 minutes for the ratatouille, about 15 for the pasta bake (mostly boiling pasta). Cooking time – about twenty minutes I suppose, I never really check.
Ingredients – onions, courgettes aubergines, peppers, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, mixed herbs, garlic, possibly water. You can get by without aubergines and peppers if necessary and you can put mushrooms in, though I’m not sure you are meant to.
And that, dear reader, is another part of the mystery. It’s not my money or my cheerful disposition, and as you can see from the recipe, it’s not my cooking. What does Julia see in me?