I'd love to have Rémy living in my hair, just to guide me through some difficult culinary moments, but as I have a severe aversion to rodents of any sort, I'll have to rely on my favourite Australian "cook", Maggie Beer. If you haven't seen the movie Ratatouille, it's a must see for any foodie out there. I laughed, I nearly cried, but mostly I envied Linguine for having such a valuable teacher by his side. My kids thought I'd really lost it this time, watching a kids movie. But hey, I loved Shrek too, so no big deal.
Maggie's version of ratatouille is modeled on the traditional French style of slow cooking, until all of the vegetable flavours meld together until they have lost most of their shape, developing luscious juices. Served as a side with roast lamb (which I'm having tonight), it's Maggie's way of sitting down with friends to enjoy a summer evening, without having to rush around in the kitchen. Now that's my kind of Sunday night.
3 eggplants cut into 3 cm cubes
½ cup olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 red peppers, seeded and cut into cubes
6 small or 3 large zucchini, cut into 3 cm cubes
A few coriander seeds, crushed
4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly chopped parsley, or torn basil
Place eggplant on a tray and lightly sprinkle with salt. Cover with foil and press lightly with weights for an hour. Wipe off moisture with a paper towel or clean tea towel, and drain juices.
Heat oil in an enamelled cast-iron casserole in which the finished dish can be served, and sauté onion until limp and golden. Add garlic, red pepper and eggplant, then cover the casserole and cook gently on stovetop for 40 minutes. Add zucchini, coriander seeds, tomato and a grinding of black pepper and cook for a further 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in parsley or basil and adjust seasoning. Serve either hot, warm or cold.
Kalyn, from Kalyn's Kitchen has nominated Rinku from Cooking in Westchester to be the host for this weekend's event.