Comment voulez-vous gouverner un pays qui a deux cent quarante-six variétés de fromage?
Charles de Gualle
How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?
It is known as the best, most refined and sophisticated cuisines in the world. It is a combination of decadence, rich flavours and beautiful simplicity. We think of France and we think of baguettes, wine, pastries and cheese – but it is so much more. Natural produce from the extremely fertile land brings the best ingredients to the table that requires very little alterations. French cuisine, like the cuisine of Michoacan in Mexico, is listed on UNESCO’s ‘intangible cultural heritage’ list.
Italy had a big influence on French cuisine during Medieval times. It was around about the 17th Century when the cuisine revamped into its’ influential and individual style that it is known for today. French food was built around cuisine du potager (cooking from the garden) or cuisine du marché (cooking from the daily market). These foundations were built out of necessity, ease of access and a cheaper or free option.
This dish – Ratatouille is from the south of France in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. This homely, cozy, eat in your pyjamas with a good glass of red dish is quick and easy to make. They say ratatouille should be cooked in three stages – onions, peppers, garlic and tomatoes first, aubergines separately and courgettes separately. At the end these veggies are combined and then either baked or simmered for over an hour in a heavy casserole dish.
This recipe???? We know you need time and can’t spend all day in the kitchen so we threw everything in a pot for you (nice of us, huh??). It’s a pretty little presentation with our aubergine boats and a sprinkling of fresh herbs on top – if you want to be totally non vegan, why not put some cheese on top before baking the ratatouille?
Try it. I dare you.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1hr
2 tblsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic
100g/ ¼ large onion, roughly sliced
350g/1 aubergine cut in half and flesh taken out. The flesh cut roughly into cubes about 1.5-2cm
230g/1 courgette cut into 1.5-2cm cubes
170g/ 1 yellow pepper roughly cut into cubes
470g/ 2 large red tomatoes
Handful of roughly chopped parsley
15-20 sprigs of thyme
4 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
Handful of torn basil
Preheat oven to 180’C
Drizzle aubergine halves with olive oil and place them in the oven, skin side down. Bake for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, score the skin of the tomatoes with a sharp knife and place them in a pot of boiling water for about 10-20 seconds. The skins should start to fall away. Skin the tomatoes, roughly chop.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy based saucepan. Add onion and then garlic, cook until soft.
Now cook the pepper and tomatoes
Once the tomatoes have started to break down (10-15minutes) add courgette and aubergine
Season with salt and pepper. Add thyme and cook on a medium heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally
Mix through roughly chopped parsley and scoop mixture into the aubergines.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes
Sprinkle with olive oil, basil, parsley and serve with a crusty baguette