“What’s that?” asked a certain daughter disapprovingly, as she lifted the lid of the casserole containing a bubbling mass.
“Lunch!” I replied, enjoying the rich aroma’s escaping round the kitchen.
“Oh great, you want us to eat it? What with?”
The conversation felt horribly familiar.
When they were little I used to make savoury pancakes, some with ratatouille, as they wouldn’t eat it on its own, and others with cheese and ham. It was a great way to get lots of veg into reluctant little ones. I thought we had moved on from that now they are teenagers.
So guess what we had for lunch?
Savoury pancakes with ratatouille!
Followed by sweet pancakes of their choice.
I have to confess it has taken me a while to be able to eat ratatouille again after over dosing on the stuff in my early twenties. It was cheap and easy to make and one Autumn I ate it every week, on its own, with couscous, pasta....in lasagne..I was broke, very busy and the veg was cheap in the market.
More recently, since I had a garden and the space, I have started to grow veg; beans, courgettes, tomatoes, peppers. However this year, despite my care and attention the crops have been non-existent.
Sadly not a single courgette.
The rest of the family are quite relieved that I’m not trying to be self sufficient or anything like that, as we’d be starving already.
My green fingered neighbour Jo, who is my garden guru, hasn’t had much luck either, and blames the weather. That cold wet summer. Thank goodness we have good veg shops nearby! These are from Jo's garden.
|Courgettes from Jo's vegetable patch|
The great thing I think about ratatouille is its versatility. You can have it on its own. It can be used as the filling for lasagne, as a pasta sauce....the options are endless. Even with fillets of pork for the meat eaters of us.
At the right time of the year, ie now in the autumn, it is also really cheap to make. So is a great thing for young students or those of us on a budget.
The quantities in the recipe below allow enough to fill pancakes for 4 plus some left over a small 2 person lasagne or pasta sauce.
Preparation time 10-15 minutes
Overall start to eating: 30-40 minutes
INGREDIENTS FOR RATATOUILLE:
1 red or orange pepper
4 cloves of garlic
Large tsp of mixed herbs
3 400g tins of chopped tomatoes, plus half a tin of water as well.
INGREDIENTS FOR PANCAKES:
4oz plain flour
A pinch of salt
10 fl oz -275 ml- milk
A little oil for frying
A handful of Grated cheese is optional but very delicious sprinkled on the ratatouie before you roll the pancake.
WHAT TO DO:
1. Chop all the onions and aubergines first, and lightly fry in a large pan.
2. Whilst these are cooking chop the peppers, garlic and courgette and add to the pan stirring until the vegetables soften, this takes a couple of minutes.
3. Add the mixed herbs and tins of tomatoes then transfer into a casserole dish and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Now get on with the pancake mixture. Put the flour and pinch of salt in a large bowl and add the egg mixture and start whisking.
5. Gradually whisk in the milk until everything is combined and the mixture is smooth.
6. Let this stand whilst you wash the pans then heat some butter or oil in a medium frying pan.
7. When this has warmed ladle in some pancake mix- it should cover the base of the pan but not be too thick. Let this cook for a minute or two.
8. When the mixture starts to bubble up gently the pancake is ready to turn, or flip, depending on how confident you feel.
9. Continue making the pancakes until all the mixture is finished. You should have about 8 depending on the size of the pan!
10. Now put the ratatouille in a line in the middle of the pancakes add cheese if you want, roll and eat.
If you want to prepare these in advance place the filled rolled pancakes in an oven proof dish, sprinkle with cheese and then place in a warm oven to keep warm or reheat. That’s what I did as you can see in the photo above.
|Bowl of ratatouille|
Lots of left overs for another day!