A few nights ago I saw Ratatouille, the Disney cartoon.
Once managed the phobia to the vision of the scenes of huge group of rats, I really liked it, perhaps because everything revolves around the concept that anyone can cook. Of course, not everybody can be a great chef-artist, but cooking some dishes with some success yes!
As its title indicates, the recipe that brings to the fore this little artist is the ratatouille, a dish I’m very fond of because I tasted it for the first time over a long weekend in the South of France, at Nora’s place, one of my friend-colleague at the Paris Opera.
Visiting Brantôme, in Dordoge
Three wonderful days in Brantôme, in the heart of the Dordogne. A medieval village where time seems to stand still. Crossed by canals and dotted with old villas, walls and mills, this small village is also known as the Venice of the Périgord.
A quiet village, whose predominant sounds are those of the river: the flowing water, the bubbling created by rowing canoes and wooden boats, the laughter of the tourists visiting the village sailing along its canals …
What to see in Brantôme
The Brantôme Benedictine Abbey on the river is really stunning, built by Charlemagne in 769, with the old stone bridge, also host the Musée Fernand-Desmoulin.
Right opposite to the abbey there’s the defensive Renaissance Tower and the round Tour St Roch.
The Church of Saint Pierre dates back to the 15th century is really pretty and the view from there is a great one!
You’ll also notice the charming mill of Brantôme , now turned into a splendid Relais Chateaux hotel and restaurant. If you can afford it, stay at least for one night!
The recipe for French ratatouille
During these unforgettable days I tasted all the regional yummy dishes, fois gras being the king, but I especially learned to cook the ratatouille according to the traditional recipe of Nora’s mum.
The ingredients for a French Ratatouille
- 4 courgettes
- 1 eggplant
- 1 yellow pepper, 1 green, 1 red
- 4 tomatoes
- 2 onions (I use the red ones)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- salt, pepper, olive oil
- thyme, bay leaf and rosemary
- a pinch of sugar
Preparing the French Ratatouille
Wash the vegetables and cut them into pieces. Ideally, cubed, but I’m not always so precise … 😉
Take off the pepper’s heart, while courgettes and tomatoes need to be peeled (to peel tomatoes, just dip them into boiling water for a few seconds).
Puts a bit of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet (I use the wok), heat it and simmer the onion for about ten minutes.
Then add the peppers and cook for about five minutes, stirring often to prevent the vegetables from sticking.
Add the courgettes and the eggplant and cover with a lid before cooking for half an hour, checking and turning vegetables regularly.
After half hour, add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and the chopped garlic.
Simmer another ten minutes, uncovered.
Once cooked, add a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
Bon appétit !