Ratatouille, The Kooky Way
There is an interesting news story doing the rounds about how angry French chefs want people to stop taking photos of food in their restaurants.
According to Alexandre Gauthier, chef at La Grenouillere in the northern town of La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, “with each dish it’s ‘stop everything’, or the photo has to be retaken three times. It’s Tweeted, liked, comments are made and replied to — by then the dish is cold.”
Although this may sound strange coming from a food blogger, I have to admit that I agree with Mr. Gauthier and his colleagues.
I know that this goes against the widely held belief that food blogs should have delicious looking photos in order to attract visitors but, somehow, I don’t subscribe to that view.
Personally, I truly enjoy the process of thinking up a recipe, planning my dinner, cooking, eating and sharing the experience here but photographing the final dish is the task I least like and look forward to.
By the time the food is plated, I want to eat it, not spend hours trying to get the lighting and the background and the props and everything else right. If I were to do that, my food would be stone cold!
The reason I am writing this is because the article struck a chord when I prepared this ratatouille last night. Once it was cooked, I tried taking several photos of the final dish but they just wouldn’t come out right. And the rice was getting cold… In the end, I got so fed up that I sat down to eat. The photo above was taken this morning of the leftover stew :-).
Traditionally, ratatouille is made of onion, garlic, tomato, aubergine, pepper and courgette along with Herbes de Provence or a mix of basil, marjoram and thyme.
In my kooky version, I used a yellow courgette instead of the green one and cooked with two types of aubergine, neither of which are European varieties.
As for the herbs, I added some dried sage, rosemary, thyme and tarragon along with fresh basil.
the end result is a really satisfying and pleasing “ratatouille”
I had mine with some brown rice. It would also go well with couscous or some crusty bread.
1 Green Pepper
1 Head of garlic
3 to 4 Tablespoons tomato puree
1-2 Teaspoons herbes de provence OR a mix of dried herbs you have
12-15 Fresh basil leaves
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste
- Peel, wash and chop the onion.
- Peel and slice the garlic.
- Heat oil in a frying pan to which add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt.
- Lower heat and cover.
- While the onion and garlic are cooking, wash and dice the tomatoes.
- Uncover and add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and herbs. Mix well and cover.
- Next, de-seed, de-core and chop the green pepper.
- Add it to the onion tomato mixture. Once again mix and cover.
- Now, wash and dice the courgette into bite size pieces.
- Add it to the vegetables being cooked, mix and cover.
- Lastly, wash and chop the aubergine into same size as courgette.
- Add the aubergine to the stew, add some more salt, mix well and cover.
- Cook for about 20 minutes till the vegetables are tender.
- Serve hot.