There has been a fresh crispness in the air recently and with the changing of the clocks its apparent that winter is on its way. Winter in Scotland can be a gruelling few months. The mixture of dark days and unpredictable weather can make normal day to day task painstakingly difficult. And, if you are gardener that’s working outside it can be a challenging few months, especially when the snow comes. However, there are a few things that I love about winter. I really love the excitement and buzz around Christmas is always great, especially if you have mini humans at home. I love the crispness’s in the air and even though it can be very cold winter can be relatively dry, which means its great for dog walking, as long as you are suitably wrapped. But, my favourite thing about the winter months are those cosy dark nights. You know the ones I mean. Those nights when it is pitch black and cold outside but you are tucked up inside with the fire burning, fleecy jammies on, with a lovely glass of red wine, ready to tuck into a wholesome feast.
With that in mind, I thought it would be a good time to share one of my favourite winter recipes, Ratatouille. Ratatouille is well known for being the food of the peasants. It consists of relatively simple and easy to grow vegetables and it's quick and easy to make. I like to keep my Ratatouille simple and rustic. However, a few simple touches can really transform this dish. See my top tips below for some ideas.
Eight plum tomatoes
One onion diced
Two cloves of garlic diced
Two tsp tomato puree
2oo ml of veg stock
Two red onion
Four garlic cloves
Handfull of chopped Basil and Thyme
To make the sauce
Dice your onions and chop the garlic and add to a casserole dish on medium heat with some heated olive oil. Once translucent and starting to release flavour roughly chop your tomatoes and add them to the dish. Stir it and then chuck in the tomato puree and veg stock and herbs. Let it cook for 20 minutes. When the sauce is coming together and starting to thicken remove from the heat. Blitz with a hand blender until smooth. Set aside and let it cool.
Chop your onion into wedges and crush the garlic. Chop your aubergine and courgettes into chunky bite size pieces and slices your peppers.
Add the onion and garlic to a pan with a little oil. Fry until they start to release flavour. Add the veggies with some chopped herbs. Cook until they begin to become soft but are not fully cooked.
Add the ready-made tomato sauce and mix. Taste and season with salt and pepper
If the sauce is looking a little thick you might want to add little water to loosen it up. Likewise, if the sauce is too loose can add half a tin of chopped tomatoes to thicken it.
Cover and simmer for around 20 mins.
To serve, remove from the heat, drizzle with little olive oil and add a some more chopped herbs. Serve in a big bowl with lots of crusty bread