I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.


Gluten and lactose are not my friends.


Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.


I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

January 27, 2012

Oven Roasted Ratatouille




Have you seen the kids movie Ratatouille?








Its one of my favourites, it's about love of family, friends, food, and belief in self. What's not to love, right?

Whoever wrote this movie must have spent some time researching a commercial kitchen, the way the chefs work together, the way they move, the setup, and if you look closely you'll even see burns and nicks on the hands and wrists of the chefs as well. Very convincing- even if the idea of a cooking rat isn't!

As a matter of fact, the only food I will give a rat would be some baits chucked in the ceiling! Our neighbour has bird aviaries and we have had a few issues with scrabbling sounds in the ceiling lately... I hope it's a possum!



Any way,

Ratatouille is also a very delicious vegetable dish, traditionally from France where it's served as a lovely vegetable stew of eggplant (aubergine), capsicum (bell pepper), zucchini (courgette), onions in a herbed tomato (to-may-to) base.

















There are a couple of versions around, with some people stewing it all together at once, some sauteing some of the vegetables separately, and some layering the vegetables in a pretty design then baking them.

That's all very well, but I don't like veggies all squished together, or all stewed together where the flavour just amalgamates into one homogeneous taste. I like my veggies to stand alone, bound together lightly with a combining sauce while they still retain their stuctual integrity.

Not too fussy, am I?

I came up with this version of a classic when I was working in a huge commercial kitchen. I needed to make vast quantities quickly and easily while striving to keep flavour and freshness for a day or two before serving, then keeping the dish attractive in a chafing-dish for an hour while serving.

Not to fussy either, hey?

Of course by far the easiest way would be to chuck everything in a big pan and cook it. But that just wasn't right. All the veggies cook at their own pace, and by the time one was cooked others would be mush. There had to be a better way.

Thus I came up with my Oven Roasted Ratatouille. I think it looks better, holds better, and even tastes better too! But don't tell Remy or Linguine on me, promise?


Oven Roasted Ratatouille

Eggplant
Zucchini
Red Capsicum
Onion
Garlic
Tomatoes
Olive oil
Tuscan Seasoning

Sauce
Tomato- canned, paste or pasatta
Red Wine Vinegar
Splash of Wine


Cut all the fresh veggies into similar sized chunks. The size should depend on how long you wish to bake them, and how big a piece you can fit comfortably into your mouth! I took the opportunity to use up a heap of my threatening-to-take-over-the-yard cherry tomatoes, so I cut the veggies to match. Don't forget the cubes will shrink down while roasting so don't get too carried away!

















Drizzle with olive oil and liberally dust with Tuscan Seasoning. Of course feel free to use beautiful fresh herbs, but this is one of my secret shortcuts that I learnt in a not-too-fancy commercial kitchen that works out fine in this recipe.




















Bake the little veggies at about 180* until tender, timing depends on the size of your veggies. The eggplant cooks fastest, the onion takes the longest- you don't want it raw. The tomatoes will collapse beautifully becoming rich and condensed, yumm..
















While the veggies are cooking, make the sauce.


You don't want a lot of sauce. The veggies- especially the tomatoes, will bring a lot of juice of their own, and you don't want them to drown.
Pop the tinned tomatoes/ pasassata, or some tomato paste in a pan big enough for all the veggies, with a good splash of wine (any colour- I had a pink open so it's what I chose) and a smaller splash of red wine vinegar. You want a sweet but tangy flavour going on.



Bring it to the boil to pull the flavours together.


















One of the good things with this dish is that you can pre-make the veggies and sauce to this point, them let them sit in the fridge for a day or two until needed.

Otherwise....
Pop the veggies into the sauce and stir through to combine and heat evenly.
















Taste for seasoning, the Tuscan Seasoning mix has salt and sugar in it plus the herbs, so it's definitely a case of taste-as-you-go.

Serve as a side dish, wrapped in a crepe, or as a lovely vegetarian meal.

















So Dear Readers, what's your favourite children's movie?









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33 comments:

  1. I have not tried ratatouille before but I like the idea of many vegetables in a dish :)

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    1. It's certainly a good way to get some extra serves at once!

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  2. Love Ratatouille - the movie and the dish!! Yours looks great.

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  3. I'm envious of a garden overgrown with cherry tomatoes... here in Toronto we are dealing with snow and scraping ice off the windsheild.

    Your ratatouille looks gorgeous - roasting the veggies first undoubtedly improves the flavour. Grazie!

    Oh - and fave movie as a kid was Lady & the Tramp... but now my favourite kid's movie would have to be The Iron Giant.

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    1. No snow, just sunburn for us Claudine!
      I always loved the spaghetti sucking scene in Lady and the Tramp, but I'd have to use gluten-free spaghetti :)

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  4. Your Ratatouille looks delicious! And yes, Ratatouille is my favorite children's movie - what is not to love?

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    1. Ina, what good taste you must have- both in food and in movies!

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  5. Agreed, I was never a big fan of ratatouille for that exact reason, it all just becomes one big vegetable mush. I would like to try this version though!
    Favourite kid's show? Lion King of course!

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    1. Mushy food reminds me too much of hospital food :( This is much better :)

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  6. I love that movie. And I love Ratatouille. I think that's a very clever way of cooking it because I always seem to overcook one or more of the vegetables when I throw them all in the saucepan together. I think roasting the vegetables would intensity the flavours too. Love the image of all your vegetables on trays!

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    1. This is a much easier way to control the individual cooking times Charlie. And the flavours are much stronger too.

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  7. I still haven't seen the movie-I know that's strange! But when I do, I'm going to keep an eye out for those little details. Perhaps I should eat this while watching it! ;)

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    1. Oh no, how can that be? Borrow a child or two, cook up the ratatouille, and eat it in front of the TV. Lots of fun Lorraine!

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  8. yes ive seen ratatoullie.. gosh that looks amazing.. def. comfort food for winter!!!

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    1. Thanks Dolly! Great for winter indeed, I'm making up a big freezer batch while I've got a glut of veggies now ready for when the colder weather hits :)

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  9. Thanks for the memories! I am viewing this page at 1:30 after returning home from a wonderful party and I have suddenly become very hungry. Wish you and your ratatouille were here! And the crepes too -- love that idea, thanks!

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    1. Helene, if you come to me I'll serve you up a big batch! One crepe or two? :)

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  10. I love your version of ratatoullie -I also prefer my veggies to retain their shape. I have too many favourite kids movies to come up with one but ratatoullie is definitely up there!

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    1. Keeping the shape is easy, but no good for those kiddies who hate their foods touching each other :)

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  11. I LOVED the Ratatouille movie! I watched it again the next evening! :D

    This ratatouille looks wonderful. For some reasons, I've never made one, probably because I'm not too fond of eggplant. Stupid me! :D

    My favorite children's movie has always been Disney's Robin Hood.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-mByTnigJM

    And I also loved the Jungle Book. :)

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    1. Kiddies tend to watch the same movie at least 50 times in a row before they get sick of them Kath!
      This would be a great way to slowly introduce eggplant into your diet, or just leave it out all together- promise I won't tell :)

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  12. Yuumm!!! I loved that movie too! He is such a sweet little rat :) I haven't made this dish in a while but I always think it tastes even better the next day :)

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    1. Probably the only rat I'd be friendly to! The flavour definitely improves over a day or two- like a good curry, Yumm...

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  13. this looks great love roasted vegetable I just watched how to train a dragon loved it

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  14. I am with you on the mushed up veggies, as I don't really like it that way too!!:P Hehe, so be assured I won't tell at all ;)
    I like your oven roasted veggies version better, LOL :D

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    1. Thanks Christy, I knew I could count on you!

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  15. I love this dish a lot. We have that in summer nearly 2 a week using veggies from our garden. oh,..I wish it was Summer already. But there is snow outside now!

    A great movie that was, I agree!

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    1. My garden is nearly exploding with fresh veggies Sophie, but when yours are ready I'll be putting up with the miserable, damp,cold weather :(

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  16. That goes well in a slow cooker as well. Loved that movie was very funny. I cant choose my favourite kids movie there are just too many.

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    1. I know you're with me in loving Veggie Tales, maybe that would be a good post with Larry and Bob making guest ingredients... I mean appearances :)

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  17. I LOVE the idea of roating the veggies first! Kind of genius!!!

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