Life, photos but not the universe

Enough of this soppiness

For a minute or two anyway.

We have been given more veg than we know what to do with during the last two days.  Well, says Barney, we’ll have to have ratatouille.

Once, long ago, I shared a flat with a very nice girl who had an unusually (in my experience) well to do background as a result of which she was used to fine dining in the days when it wasn’t popularised as it is now on TV.*

We decided to share a 21st birthday party and since she had lectures to attend, I was left to make the dinner.  Which was to include Ratatouille – “absolutely gorgeous, melting tomatoes and peppers and onion and so easy, you just throw them into a saucepan with nothing else at all and cook them very very slowly for a very long time”.  She and her boyfriend rushed off to their lecture and I finished the book I was reading and then looked thoughtfully at the tomatoes and peppers and onions and whatnot. After a while, realising that long slow cooking hadn’t been an option since chapter four, I threw them all into a saucepan with some oil and fried them for a bit.

I wasn’t her favourite person when she came back!

Anyway the first thing that went wrong today was that we had some, but not all, of the vegetables needed for ratatouille which I discovered when I started looking through recipe books.  Actually the very first thing was a shortage, nay an absence, of ratatouille recipes.  I found one online eventually, buried between a hundred links concerning a Disney film of the same name, (and the bit that went “surprisingly simple even though it does take most of the afternoon” rang a bell or two).

Ok, so I still have most of the afternoon but no aubergines.  I’ll substitute celeriac.  Very French if not authentic.

At the moment, I’m at the bit that says simmer till nearly all the liquid has evaporated.  Earlier I was at the bit that said peel and deseed the tomatoes.  This became a very lengthy and messy bit as many of the tomatoes were very small – not really the best kind for this recipe. But the oven baking of the peppers till their skins blistered was great and so was removing the skins – tasty!

Then Barney came home and hovered over the recipe and the saucepans a bit, like he does, and when told about the plan to substitute celeriac for aubergine said “Oh No!  That won’t work”  So I’ve divided my mixture into two and put celeriac on top of mine and not his.  So there!  And now it’s all in the oven for a whole two hours which I find very worrying but that’s what the recipe says.  Ooh fingers crossed!

In between baby visiting and ratatouille**, I discovered a couple more churches.

St Nicholas church in Beedon has a pretty sunlit churchyard as well as two or three magnificent old trees

And tucked away alongside the Ridgeway is the Church of St Mary

Then, if you wander across to West Ilsley and take a run at the flank of the Ridgeway, you get a splendid view of Didcot Power Station from the top.

And if it happens to be a wonderful sunny evening they all look quite photogenic.

The ratatouille was fine.  (I’m reluctant to admit it but Barney was right about the celeriac.)

Anyway, having used up the peppers and got the tomatoes down to a manageable quantity, tomorrow’s challenge involves cauliflower, more courgette, flat beans and the biggest cabbage I’ve seen for a long time.

Oops, a baby slipped in!  Doesn’t she go well with my blouse?

*She had been to finishing school no less before coming to Uni so no doubt she’d learnt to cook ratatouille there.

**Offerings from spellcheck for ratatouille; pratville, rathskeller, rattlebrain and raymondsville.

August 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments