Thursday 2 February 2006


This is the most fantastic thing to make if you want some thing healthy yet tasty and satisfying. Every time I make it, it is different, and therefore something I cannot get sick of eating. Sometimes it is just smooth like Barry White. Sometimes it has a bit of a kick like the Bee Gees. Sometimes it is a bit sickly-sweet like Barry Manilow - but that is possibly pushing the Barry theme a bit.
The ingredients are flexible but always include garlic and tomatoes. Generally courgette, onions, aubergine and capsicum are also involved. On occasion chilli, carrot and anchovies make a guest appearance. But this is the dish with which to improvise. If you need to clear out the fridge throw all your vegetables in a dish with some tomatoes and garlic and call it ratatouille.
The cooking method introduces another level of interpretation. I regularly make ratatouille in the oven to accompany a roast chicken or another lucky joint. We know it is summer when we throw together a ratatouille to cook on the barbeque, either in a tightly wrapped foil parcel or in the old beaten-up frying pan that has been relegated to BBQ duty. But if there is no reason to turn on the oven, an open pot on the stove top is just fine.

The ratatouille you see above involved :

4 large courgettes, cut into large chunks
1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
3 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into large chunks
12 cloves of garlic
8 anchovy fillets
4 stalks of marjoram from my new garden (so exciting to have herbs again!)
Some of the oil from the anchovies and some extra olive oil
Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and cook in the oven in a large roasting dish, tossing occasionally, at 200°c for 45 minutes. Remove the marjoram branches before serving.

P.S - I love the anchovy bone that is sitting on top of the courgette in the photo, more proof of the nutritional (calcium in this instance) benefits of this dish.

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