Ratatouille

I have tried many recipes for ratatouille, this is the best. I think I got it off the internet, with a promise that this was the most authentic.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 aubergine, diced
  • 4 courgettes, halved and sliced
  • 300g french beans, cut to 1 inch lengths
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup of chopped fennel leaves
  • fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

  • Salt the diced aubergines and courgettes and set aside. Rinse the salt off after 20 minutes (I do this in a colander)
  • Heat the oil in a large pan, and gently fry the onion and garlic until soft.
  • Add the aubergines and courgettes, and cook for another five minutes or so.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes, and then with the lid off for 20 minutes. Keep a close eye and stir occasionally, to stop the mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan.

This freezes OK, but it is best reheated the day after making it.

Courgette and tomato soup

I got this recipe from Lindsay Bareham’s book, ‘A Celebration of Soup‘ – which is a classic.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 225g courgettes, diced
  • 450g tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled, diced and rinsed
  • 1.1L boiling water
  • 100g broad beans
  • 40g pasta (small pasta, broken pasta)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • basil leaves
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaved parsley

METHOD:

  • Heat the olive oil and gently cook the sliced onions, so that they get very soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the diced courgettes, and cook gently for another 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel and chop all but 2 of the tomatoes, and soften with the other ingredients in the pot.
  • Once the tomatoes have cooked in, add the diced potato and hot water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the beans and the pasta, and the seasoning.
  • While all of this is going on, grill the reserved tomatoes, skin them and remove the seeds.
  • In a mortar, pulverise the garlic, adding the tomatoes, basil and then the egg yolks, to make a smooth paste like mayonnaise.
  • When the pasta is cooked, take a ladleful of soup, and beat it into the egg mixture, then pour this back into the soup pan, stirring all the time.
  • Just before serving, stir in the parmesan, and garnish with chopped parsley.