Wednesday, March 25, 2015

From France With Love - Ratatouille

Do you remember the singular dialogue between the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey and her butler Carson when being presented with a new, strangely decorated dish at dinner:
"Carson, is this what I'm afraid it is?"
And after trying the dish: “I wish it would have been what I thought it was."
So far the irreparable Lady Violett Crawley on food styling and mental delusion at the table.
For me, a beautiful presentation of food is definitely important because eating is a multisensory experience and we all are "eating with our eyes" as well.
It's about creating expectation and not disappointing it, of course.
Reading the papers some days ago, I stumbled about an article discussing a new movement called
"We Want Plates".
The movement defines itself as "Crusading against food being served on bits of wood and roof tiles.
Chips in little buckets, peas in flowerpots and jam-jar drinks can do one too"
And dam right they are.
I was LOL looking at the incredible pictures frustrated foodies made of their meals presented in every imaginable accessory but not on a plate.
If you want to know more about it and join the fun go to:
Of course there are certain plates that are difficult to present.
The one I'm going to post today, the wonderful French Ratatouille, is one of them.
Ratatouille is one of the typical plates of Provence, a region in the south of France that celebrates its fantastic veggies and herbs by elaborating stunning classics like Ratatouille.
The secret lies in its simplicity, no artificial flavors added, all natural and superb.
As a bonus it is really easy to prepare, suitable for health and fitness fans, vegetarians and vegans and the subtle flavors blend together perfectly.
It can be eaten on its own or as a side dish for grilled chicken,fish, meat and works great with pasta.
Here we go.

You need:
 1\2 cup of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red capsicum, seeds removed and cut into strips
1 yellow capsicum, seeds removed and cut into strips
1 large eggplant (about 250g), cut into small cubes
1 large zucchini ( about 250g), cut into small cubes
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 large ripe tomatoes ( about 400g), peeled and seeds removed, cut into large cubes
1 Bouquet garni ( 8 sprigs parsely,2 sprigs fresh thyme and one bay leaf, tied together with cooking twine)
2 spoonful of coarsely chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot, heat half of the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the capsicum.
 Remove from pot and drain over kitchen paper.
Add a bit more olive oil to the pot and sauté eggplant and zucchini.
Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is  translucent.

Then add the bouquet garni and tomatoes, bring to a boil,  cover the pan with a tight lid and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

 Just looking at the gorgeous colors is a pleasure.

Serve sprinkled with fresh basil.
(Ratatouille can be served as well cold, delicious on a hot summer day with grilled meat or fish.) 
Serves 6 as a side dish or 4 as a light dinner or main course.



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  1. I love ratatouille and your presentation is gorgeous, on a plate - ready to eat! I love Downton Abbey - such a completely different life. Have a great weekend!

  2. So nice to hear that you are a Downton Abbey fan too.
    It's such fun and interesting to watch and can become quite addictive.

  3. Your ratatouille looks beautiful and delicious Daniela...I love all the vegetables in it!
    Have a great rest of the week :)

    1. Hi Juliana,
      If you liked veggies, this dish is a highly recommendable energy booster.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. What a fun movement and I love a nice ratatouille too!

    1. The "we want plates" movement is real fun and I don't blame them at all about their enthusiasm to get back to the roots :)

  5. I hadn't heard about We Want Plates, but that sounds so funny! Your ratatouille looks lovely. All those fresh vegetables are are great.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      It was such fun to watch all these pics of angry foodies.
      Glad to hear you enjoyed this little French veggie treat.

  6. I think your ratatouille looks wonderful. And I'll have to check out your link. Sounds funny!

    1. Hi Beth,
      I think it's worthwhile to check out the link, the pics are so hilarious.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  7. The first time I heard of this dish was when the movie Ratatouille was released! I am glad to now have this recipe to try in my kitchen. thanks for sharing :)

    1. Hi Taruna,
      The movie actually inspired me to write this post, it was such a nice film.

  8. I love ratatouille but have never made one myself. Yours sounds very delicious!

    1. Hi Angie,
      what I like about this dish is that's so easy to prepare with natural ingredients only.

  9. There is nothing like a good ratatouille! It is pure comfort food - maybe not to the Dowager Duchess but certainly to Remy and Anton Ego in the movie "Ratatouille!" Hope you are having a fun weekend!

    1. Hi David,
      Ratatouille was such a nice movie, sometimes I'm not quite sure what's better- watching the movie or eating Ratatouille :))

  10. I love it and here in Greece we call it Briam!

    1. I had no idea that this dish is served and popular in Greece, but with all the amazing veggies you have ( I remember the delicious eggplants and cucumbers) it must taste fantastic.

  11. We want plates sounds so interesting! New to me. Ratatouille isn't new to me, although I haven't made it for some time. Excellent stuff! Thanks so much.

    1. We want plates is a real fun movement and. I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the Rataouille post.

  12. I love anything with eggplant, especially the ratatouille! So good! You're making me hungry. I want this for lunch to take to work next week!

    1. Hi Julia,
      thanks for your sweet feedback, would love to invite you Ratatouille for your next lunch :)

  13. I am hooked on Downton Abbey, heard next year might be the last. Any your ratatouille looks amazing, beautiful presentation.

    1. Hi Cheri,
      I'm already on maximum alert, I've read these news too.
      How will the Crawley family manage without us? :)


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