First off, one of my favourite meals ever is ratatouille and cous cous, and it is one of my favourite things to cook particularly in winter on a cold night. Not only is it easy, it is tasty, and I think it is pretty healthy too, given that in effect ratatouille is basically a vegetable stew.
When I make ratatouille, I tend to use a couple of cloves of crushed garlic, an onion diced up, a red and a green capsicum (peppers), eggplant (aubergine) and zucchini (can't remember what they are called in other countries), plus a couple of cans of tomato. I cook the garlic and the onion for a couple of minutes, and then pile all of the other veggies into the pot, put in the tomatoes and some tomato paste and just let it cook down for around 20-30 minutes or so and then add some herbs. Occasionally I might throw in a chili or a splash of Tabasco but for the most part I just use the veggies and whatever herbs I have at hand.
Tonight we are having it with cous cous which is really yummy when it get soaked with the juices and with lamb steaks, but I will be more than happy to just have the vegetables and cous cous when I am eating the leftovers.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about going to the Good Food and Wine Show and seeing Manu Fiedel making Tarte Tatin. It is one of those dishes that I have never actually tried to eat, let alone to make, but it just looks so yummy - almost like a more elegant version of apple pie! I found a recipe and bought the apples a couple of weeks ago, but never got around to making it, but tonight I am going to try it, having bought fresh apples! Here's the recipe that I found for Tarte Tatin on Taste.com.au (which tends to be my go to website when looking for inspiration).
- 6 golden delicious or royal gala apples
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 200g vanilla sugar
- 30g unsalted butter, cubed
- 250g puff pastry*
- Thick cream or ice-cream, to serve
- Peel and core the apples and cut into quarters. Place in a large bowl and toss in the lemon juice and 100g vanilla sugar.
- Place remaining sugar and 2 tablespoons water in an oven-proof frying pan or 25cm tarte Tatin pan over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Increase heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes until the sugar caramelises and is a light-golden brown. Add the apple, cut-side up and dot with the butter. Keeping the heat very low, cook for a further 5-6 minutes to partially cook the apple. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C.
- Roll out pastry and cut into a circle slightly larger than the pan. Place the pastry over the apple, tucking any excess underneath. Place the pan on a baking tray to catch any juices that may bubble over and bake in the oven for 35 minutes until the pastry is cooked and golden. Remove from oven and allow to rest in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the tart upside down onto a large plate. Serve with cream or ice-cream.
It would be a remiss of me to talk about ratatouille without posting at least one clip from Ratatouille! If you can get past the idea of rats in the kitchen, this is such a fun movie!