It must be the 'French' in me, which wasn't a birth-right, but more of an acquired taste. I have lived in France for a total of two years, on two separate occasions. Initially I found myself studying in Lyon, then a few years later I moved from New Zealand to Paris to work in the Parisian kitchens and learn from French chefs.
Last year I had the absolute pleasure of taking my husband to France for three weeks. This was his first time in this marvellous country and I got to show him all the things that make Paris feel like home. Like walking down Canal St Martin, or sitting at a particular bistro in Le Marais that displays wooden dolls on their tables, or even the glamorous raspberry and frangipane tarts that scatter shop windows near Victor Hugo.
We visited Nantes during those three weeks and stayed with a wonderful French family who feed us, housed us, and entertained us for three whole days. We were blown away. One evening they cooked us a simple, very-French Ratatouille, which blew our minds. This is my attempt to recreate that wonderful meal and be transported back to a country that lives up to every expectation one can imagine.
We ate this alongside grilled salmon, and then the following morning we enjoyed it for breakfast with scrambled eggs and sliced avocado. It was satisfying, delicious, and wholesome.
Fresh Spring Ratatouille
1 eggplant, sliced
2 large courgette, sliced
1 large 'meat' tomato, cut in wedges
2 red onions, cut in wedges
handful of fresh thyme, leaves removed and stems discarded
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1 can organic chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp coconut oil
- Heat 1 Tbsp of coconut oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the eggplant and allow to turn golden on each side. You will need to toss around frequently. If it begins to dry out, which is likely, add a little water. After about 5 minutes, place eggplant in a large saucepan, set aside.
- Add a quarter of the remaining coconut oil to the pan, add the courgette and toss around until slightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add to the large saucepan.
- Add the last of the coconut oil to the pan, add the red onion, garlic, tomato and thyme. Allow to sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomato can, and mix well. Pour all contents into the large saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Mix all the contents of the saucepan together. Add loads of pepper. Cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid from the saucepan and allow to simmer for a further 10 minutes.
- Season with salt.
- Serve as a side dish of roasted chicken or sirloin steak.
Feed, nourish, value yourself.