lovely veg

The spoils from The Daily Spud’s back garden on the left are the Colleen spuds and the big one at the front of the pic is a Duke of York (or a King York as I insist on calling them)

The Daily Spud sent me an email yesterday asking me if I wanted  some of the surplus goodies from her veg garden.  Did I???  Absolutely.  You don’t have to ask me twice.

We met for a lovely lunch in Avoca

falafelsuperfood salad

I had the Morrocan Mezze on the left and Spud went for the Super Food Salad (yep, thems are blueberries in that there salad)

…after which she handed over the bag of goodies.  The stash included a beautiful red onion, a very pretty courgette, some gorgeous looking french beans, and, of course, two varieties of lovely spuds.

As soon as I got home, I went to work on a simple ratatouille, inspired by these lovely ladies over here (love their blog).

Niall had picked up some super delicious budget sausages which had to be used by today so I whipped up this old-fashioned farmer’s dish in under an hour.  Serve with some crusty bread and (optional) cold ale and say oo-ar when you eat it.  That last bit is optional too.

What you need for Aoife Mc’s Ratatouille for 4 (or 2 with buckets of leftovers for lunch the next day, yay)

lovely onion

Look at this lovely onion from The Daily Spud’s garden.  Isn’t it perfect?

2 tins of chopped tomatoes (or you could use 6 or 7 big juicy tomatoes but you’d have to peel them and deseed them and…pfff, it’s only Wednesday!)

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or sliced, up to you

1 beautiful red onion (you could use a white one of course, but I prefer the red ones, and also they give the whole thing a lovely colour), halved, then quartered and chopped into chunks

1 gorgeous courgette, washed and chopped into about 1/2 cm slices (you don’t need to use a ruler or anything though)

1 lovely red pepper, deseeded and chopped any auld way

1 tin of beans, such as borlotti or cannellini, washed and drained

2 tablespoons of paprika

1 tablespoon of sugar

A leeetle bit of pepper

Chop up all your lovely veg, however you like them.  They should be nice and chunky, without being too thick.  You know yourself.

(It may have been a good idea to start the whole thing off by gently frying the paprika over a medium heat.  But I forgot and added this most gentle of spices at a much later stage and it was grand so….I’ll leave that up to you.  Frying the spices earlier along with the  veg might have added to very flavoursome veg but then again, it could have just burnt so…maybe the way I did it this time was ok!)

Heat some olive oil in a big pot and fry your onions and garlic for a minute or so, just to get them started off.  Add the peppers next and continue frying for a few more minutes, stirring them from time to time.  Pop in the courgettes and fry for a further minute or two.

Now you can throw in your tins of tomatoes and give everything a good mix around the gaffe.  At this point, I added in the sugar and the paprika.  Perhaps two tablespoons of the stuff seems quite liberal but it added to a lovely sweet taste in the end.

You can let your ratatouille simmer now for around 15 minutes or until the courgettes are soft but maintain a bit of bite.  You don’t want to over cook them for we all know there’s nothing worse than a limp courgette, yes sir.

You can add the optional beans in to the ratatouille in the last five minutes or so.  You just want to warm them up but they don’t need to sit in the stew as they will get gross and soft.

In the meantime, you can fry up some big delicious sausages, and slice some nice crusty bread and toast it if you like.  I poured a few spoonfuls of the ratatouille over the sausages and grated a wee bit of parmesan on top.


I realise this is a super wintery dish but, although it was warm today in Dublin, it was sort of grey and overcast, and I just felt like some comfort food mid-week.

I only saw the film Ratatouille for the first time last week.  Eh, why didn’t anyone tell me it was so amazing??  Loved it.