Wednesday, June 16, 2010


When we were students at Aberystwyth university, back in the early 1990s, we would often have barbecues on the beach. At the time, Ed and I were both vegetarian, so our usual barbecue fare was vegetable kebabs. We'd thread cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms, pieces of coloured peppers, courgette and aubergine onto skewers, brush them with olive oil and grill them. When they were done we would transfer the veg to a pitta bread and top with hummus.

I always brought too much veg. I think it's much better to have too much food at a barbecue than not enough. So the next day I would fling all the leftover ingredients in a pan with a close fitting lid, put it on a slow heat, and make ratatouille. You can serve it hot or cold, in a bowl, and scoop it up with any leftover pittas.

It's really as easy as that. You don't need a recipe. The proportions don't matter. This is peasant food - the peasants didn't have recipes or kitchen scales. They didn't say "Sorry darling, I was going to make ratatouille tonight but we have rather too many aubergines and not enough yellow peppers". They just flung what they had in a pot and heated it until it was cooked. You can't break it if you leave one ingredient out because you can't get it, or don't like it. It doesn't matter if you chuck in some other things you have lying around in the fridge. I admit, my mind slightly boggles at the idea of ratatouille with neeps, but why not? Whatever floats your boat.

We had a barbecue yesterday so today we are having ratatouille. Like day follows night. Yum.

1 comment:

Skipweasel said...

We do a fishy version of this. Drain a tin of tuna in oil into a pan and fry a chopped aubergine in it.
Add all sorts of other veg - onions, shallots, leeks, sweetcorn, courgette, water-chestnuts, mange-tout and stuff. Throw the tuna in and add a dash of soy-sauce and some black pepper and shove it in the oven on 150 for an hour or two. Serve with fresh bread.