Lucy's Friendly Foods

I love ratatouille. It’s ultimate feel good, yummy veggie food and perfect for tonight after a long day helping out on a school trip. The trip to a farm with 40 very well-behaved reception children was bundles of fun – I’ve never felt so popular with a dozen children queuing up to hold my hand! Serve it with dauphinoise, in a tart, with a jacket spud, a bowl of rice, as a side dish or just with a hunk of bread.

A few top tips (concurred by the French side of the family): it is a hundred times better if you individually cook all the veg in stages before combining, take your time cooking it, developing the flavour of each ingredient and don’t scrimp on the seasonings. I also like to remove the less palatable centre of the courgettes and aubergine, but if you haven’t got time, don’t.

Ratatouille (dairy-free, egg-free, soya-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan)

serves 4-6

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 courgettes, cut into batons or rounds
  • 1 aubergine, cut into batons
  • 2 peppers (any colour), sliced
  • 1 pack of mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 pack of tomatoes, finely chopped (I don’t bother skinning)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 glass of wine
  • 1 handful chopped parsley
  • dried herbs de provence
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil to fry

– Fry off the onions and peppers until golden brown. Set aside.

– In the same pan, fry off the courgettes and garlic until golden. Add the herbs de provence. Set aside.

– Next the aubergines. Then the mushrooms.

– Combine all the vegetables into one large pot, heat well.

– Add the 1/2 glass of wine and reduce until syrupy

– Add the tomato puree and cook out for a couple of minutes.

– Add the chopped tomatoes, splash of balsamic, seasoning and a splash of water.

– Reduce the heat and cover the pan (with a cartouche if you want to be chefy! – a circle of baking paper) and cook gently for as long as you like. The longer the better!

– Take the cartouche/lid off. Reduce a little if too watery.

– Check seasoning and stir in the parsley.

– Serve hot, warm or cold. Keeps up to 4-5 days in the fridge

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