So, it’s getting cold now. When I left the house this morning, the air was proper crisp. It wasn’t just cold, it was crisp. Amazing. I love autumn, but obviously if you (like me) still have problems to dress appropriately (although I do get better, maybe I will manage by the time I’m 30, that gives me 8 years), you might get a little cold
I might also still have the urge to not listen to my mum when she says I better take a coat and then pretend I’m not cold, even though she clearly knows I am.
Anyway, no matter how nice this cold, crisp air is, you’ll be in need of a lovely and warming dish of food at the end of the day! Unfortunately (or fortunately, who are we kidding?!) most comforting, warming food includes lots of heavy ingredients, like cream etc. I won’t deny it, a lot of nights it will have to be one of those pretty heavy numbers, but if you would like to look after that, no doubt beautiful, figure of yours a little for just this one night, why not have Ratatouille with some crispy new potatoes? We had some last night and I absolutely loved it. I find it so comforting, and it’s got so much veg in as well, which will help you get through this what will probably be a really tough winter.
P.S. Another thing that will definitely also help and that is not food related are cozy, cute, warm slippery socks! I got mine from Primark for 4 pounds. (I don’t like primark and never shop there, but I just had to get these, they’re too cute not to!)
P.P.S. I hope none of you is a health freak, I’m aware, that I do use a little bit of oil in the recipe, and potatoes are carbs and I could
should? substitute them for something healthier blabla, but who says we have to go all the way?
RECIPE: Ratatouille with crispy new potatoes
1. Preheat the oven to about 200° C.
2. For two greedy people, prep 500g of new potatoes by washing them, cutting out any black bits and halving the slightly bigger ones. Then cook them in boiling, salted water for 15-20minutes (or until you think they’re done).
3. Whilst the potatoes are boiling, get on with your veg. Start by washing and cutting 1 aubergine into roughly 0.5-1cm thick slices. Lay the slices out on a chopping board and sprinkle with salt, so you get rid of unnecessary water. Wash and cut 1 Courgette into roughly 0.5cm slices and cut 1 red and 1 yellow pepper into pieces roughly as big as the courgette slices (obviously take the green bit and the seeds out!).
4. After about 10 minutes, dry the Aubergine pieces with kitchen roll (really squeeze them).
5. Put all the veg in a big bowl and mix with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
6. Now, to make this Ratatouille a little more interesting, chargrill it first. Yep quite a lot of effort, but it’ll be worth it, trust me! I usually start with the Aubergine slices, because they take the longest and really annoy me, just, you know, get the worst out of the way first.
7. Chop 1 red onion into little cubes. Caramelize the onion in a little bit of olive oil in a saucepan. Don’t rush it, you want it soft and delicious and not burnt and/or chewy! When you think the caramel sensation in your frying pan has almost reached perfection, add in 1 glove of crushed garlic. Let that fry for about 20 seconds, then add in 1 package of tomato passata, some chopped rosmary, salt, pepper, curry powder and whatever takes your fancy and let it bubble away for a little bit to reduce (but not too much!)
8. Hopefully at some point, you will have finished chargrilling the veg. Congratulations (I mean it). Mix the veg with the tomato sauce in a casserole and top with a couple of slices of Mozzarella. Then pop it in the oven until the Mozzarella has browned a little bit.
9. Whilst that’s sizzling in the oven, finish your potatoes. Put them on an oven tray, top with some chopped rosemary, herby salt, garlic and a tiny bit of olive oil and crush the toppings into the potatoes with a fork.
10. When the Mozzarella has browned a little bit, put the Ratatouille on the bottom shelf of the oven and put the potatoes under a very hot grill for roughly 10 minutes. (But keep checking, times depend entirely on how hot your grill gets etc)
P.S. If you want to be cool like us and use the ratatouille the next day for another fantastic recipe, just add another 2 peppers, 1 courgette and double the tomato sauce. I will tell you tomorrow how you can turn that into a delicious Ratatouille and Creamy Mushroom Lasagne!