Tag Archives: Ratatouille

Herb-roasted Potatoes and fine Ratatouille

baconpotato

The Missus asked for a simple dsih tonight after the great lunch we had in Mochimune Harbour in Shizuoka City. Today was a National holiday, meaning i had to treat the Missus to lunch and help her with dinner!

I’ve always been a “keep everything simple” fan when it comes to cooking,
After all, one can attain any heights with a lot of money and time on hand.
That is the work of epicurean specialists! “Little people” like I, will find more pleasure cooking something simple, but with character for cherished company (my oher half is never going to believe the latter!).
Here is a favourite simple dish I concocted for fun (for the second time)!

INGREDIENTS: (for 2 people):
Small turnips: 6
Small potatoes: 6
Wide rashers of bacon: 6
Fresh rosemary (to taste)
Salt, white pepper (to taste)

Fine Ratatouille:
Medium-large onion: 1
Shallot: 1 large
Garlic: 2 cloves
Aubergine/egg plant: 1
Courgette/zucchini: 1
Red sweet pimento: 1
Yellow sweet pimento: 1
Olive oil: 50cc (a quarter of a cup)
1 lemon juice
Fresh herbs (finely chopped): basil, Italian parsley (to taste)
White wine or Noilly Prat: 50cc (a quarter of a cup)
Pastis/Ricard/Pernod: a “bottle cap”
Salt, pepper, nutmeg (to taste). Add chili pepper or other spices if you wish!

RECIPE:

1) Fine Ratatouille:
Chop onion, shallot, aubergine and courgette in small cubes. Crush garlic cloves and chop fine. Heat up the olive oil in a deep pan. Once oil is hot enough drop in all the above chopped vegetables and fry, stirring regularly, until onions become translucent. Turn down fire to low. Drop in chopped pimentos, chopped herbs, lemon juice, wine, Pastis, salt, pepper, nutmeg and whatever spices. Stir the whole, cover with lid and let cook until all vegetables are sufficiently soft.
This can prepared well in advance as reheated ratatouille is even better! Don’t worry if you have made too much of it as this can be used for all kinds of dishes such as omelette garnish, on cold crostini, and so on!

2) Boil potatoes in salted water until they are 80% cooked. Take them out of the water and plunge them in cold water for a while. This is a simple trick to prevent them from breaking up later! Put them on a cloth or kitchen paper to absorb water.

3) Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (level 6/7)
Peel potatoes. If they are new with a very thin skin, do not bother peeling them! Wrap each one in rasher of bacon. Secure the bacon around the potato by skewering them with a thin wooden toothpick. Place them on an oven plate coated with olive oil. Sprinkle a little pepper on them. Salt is not needed as plenty is contained inside bacon! Abundantly sprinkle with rosemary leaves. Bake until bacon has reached a nice crispy state.

4) Peel turnips and cut into four wedges each, leaving a little of the stem for good effect.
Boil them in slighted salted water just long enough for them to get tender. This should not take very long. Bear in mind that over-boiled turnips will get mushy and crumble away!

5) Once the potatoes are cooked, on a large plate you have kept hot either in hot water or inside the oven, first pour a good amount of ratatouille in the middle. Then place turnips around as shown on picture. Last, carefully pull toothpicks out of the potatoes and place the latter above the ratatouille.

Enjoy with a great beer or strong white wine (red wine is fine, too. LOL)

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Quick Snack: Cream Cheese Tomato Rolls for the Beer!

tomatospringroll

There are times, be it in Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn, when you just don’t have the will to venture into another cooking expedition, but still want to offer and eat quick, simple and yummy food!

Here is suggestion that you can store inside the fridge just in case hungry friends barge in with some beer (or mineral water! LOL). It can be easily adapted for vegetarians!:

I don’t have to bother with quantities really.
Just know that you need an equal amount (in volume) of Philadelphia (for example) cream cheese and fresh cream lightly beaten to a semi-hard consistency.
In a bowl mix the cheese and cream well. Add a little salt, pepper, nutmeg and whatever spice you fancy. Add some finely chopped herbs!
As for the tomatoes, choose them as large as possible, but not too ripe to avoid them breaking away. Peel them first, by making a light cut near the stem and plunging them in hot water (or holding them over a flame). When the skin starts opening, take them out and plunge them in cold water. They should peel off very easily.
Cut them in half, empty them, “spread” (you might have to help with a few small cuts) them on a kitchen paper to sponge water off.

Note: do not salt the tomatoes, or they’ll give out gallons of water!

On a large enough piece of cellophane paper spread the tomato flesh, fill with an adequate amount of cream cheese mix, and make a roll closing the cellophane paper around. Twist the ends shut.
Leave in refrigearator until served.

Simple presentation suggestion (look at pic!):
A three-piece presentation is easiest with cut sweet pimento and boiled broccoly stems (a good way to use them!).
Cut the tomato rolls half-way at a slant for better effect.
Add lightly boiled turnips, pieces of raw ham, and plenty of greens.
Serve with a pot of vinaigrette or dip sauce.

Simple and appetizing!
Good for hungry kids, too!

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Herb-Roasted Quail & Ratatouille

quailratatouille

I did publish the pic of this dish I made for the Missus (Yes, Rowena, I do sometimes cook! LOL) some time ago, but never had the time to publish the recipe.
It is pretty simple and straightforward and has the advantage to look appetizing and satisfying! Even kids will love it!
Of course you can replace the quail with any fowl (have you ever tried guinea fowl?)
Natasha will certainly agree with me, if the ingredients are good, you cannot fail!

For 2 persons:

-2 large quails
-Filling:
Finely chopped onion: 2 large tablespoons
Finely chopped shallot or red onion: 1 large tablespoon
Finely chopped garlic: 2 cloves
Finely chopped herbs (of your choice/I usually include fresh Italian
parsley, rosemary, sweet basil and celery): 2 large tablespoons)
Whole pink pepper: 1 teaspoon
Breadcrumbs: 2 large tablespoons
salt, pepper, nutmeg to taste. You can add your favourite spices, of course!
Olive oil: 2 tablespoons

Fresh sprigs of thyme and rosemary: half a dozen each

Lightly seasonthe whole quail with a little salt and pepper.
Mix all the ingredients of the filling into a bowl and fill the quails with it.
Place the quails on an oiled oven plate. Place the thyme and rosemary sprigs on the quails. Pour a little olive over both quails and tp each with a dollop of butter.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/about 400F.
Cook the quail until you are satisfied (taste vastly differ with people).

Ratatouille
This can done the day before. Re-heated ratatouille is even better.
I will not bother with weights and measures as there are thousands of ways.
Just know that I use an equal quantity of egg-plants/aubergines, onion, and courgettes/zucchini.
First cut them to the same (important) wanted size (the smaller, the quicker the cooking). Heat olive oil in a large pan. Pour the lot into the pan and cook until onions have become translucent. Turn down the fir to low. Add chopped garlic, one lemon juice, a glass of white wine, plenty of roughly cut tomatoes. Season with Chopped fresh herbs (the more, the better!), salt (easy on that! You can rectify later!), pepper, nutmeg and others.
Cover and let cook until you are satisfied with taste and texture.

Service and presentation:

Take out quails.
Take out the filling and place on a side plate.
Open the quail and “flatten” them.
Serve the quails on a large plate. Top it with the filling and surround it with plenty of ratatouille.

Bon appetit!

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