Rata- what?!

I went to see Suite Française at the cinema today with my mum. It’s a pretty good film; very emotional, well-written, easy to follow and good acting. The film is based on the novel by French author Irène Némirovsky. The author’s intention was to release a series of 5 novels however, after having written the first 2 books, she was arrested in July 1942 for being a Jew and died at Auschwitz. The manuscripts were discovered many years later, and what had been written was published in 2004. I will have to give the book a read once I have completed my MA.

Sticking to the French theme, I made some ratatouille tonight to go with dinner. I generally associate ratatouille as a heart-warming and comfort food dish, easy to make, tasty and great to eat in the colder months. I also associate courgettes with ratatouille, as this is the only time I really eat them. I’m not a fan of courgettes when they’re roasted or cooked alone, but I love the taste when they’re combined in a dish (I’m like that with tomatoes as well).

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The chopped leeks and courgettes

The main ingredients I always include in a ratatouille are onions, garlic, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, courgettes and mixed herbs; the other ingredients depend on what is available in the kitchen, what needs to be used, or how experimental I am feeling. In this dish tonight I added leeks and carrots, as these needed to be cooked at some point in the near future.

Firstly I sliced the leeks and the courgettes in advance, so that they could be left to dry out. My dad has always told me to do this for courgettes before making a ratatouille. I chopped and fried onions and garlic, then added the leeks, courgettes and chopped carrot. Once these had softened, I poured in the tinned tomatoes, added the tomato puree and mixed herbs, as well as two leaves to add some extra flavour.

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All the ingredients before the luscious red wine was poured in

One taste, I must admit, that stood out in the dish was the red wine. I poured out a glass to put in whilst cooking, but I had that to myself! No problem- I just poured out another glass and added that to the ratatouille. I always use red wine when making bolognese, as it gives the dish an extra oomph! If you’re looking for an affordable tasty red wine, buy the Merlot from Aldi.

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The ratatouille mixed in with the pasta, and served alongside a fishcake

Normally I have ratatouille as a vegetable side dish to go with a meal, but for a change, I mixed it into some spinach and ricotta filled pasta, served with a cod fishcake. The ratatouille I’ve made in the past has varied; some had peppers in, mushrooms, butternut squash, celery and/or chick peas. Generally when I cook dishes, I use whatever is left over, needs using or is available in the house, rather than going out specifically to buy certain ingredients (with the exception of special occasions).

Happy reading and blogging,

Many thanks,

Clare Bear

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3 thoughts on “Rata- what?!

  1. […] Only two more days to go until I can eat meat again and finally, I got round to making a vegetarian curry. Since abstaining from meat, I have been quite creative in the vegetarian dishes I’ve tried out for the first time (stuffed peppers), or made differently (ratatouille). […]

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