Here is a recipe from the South of France, a robust, peasantine meal that has become a classic vegetable stew. You can tart it up a little with tomato concentrate and a little water, especially if you don’t have the right kind of tomatoes.
You will need:
3 large juicy tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 courgette, chopped roughly
1 green pepper, chopped roughly
1 aubergine (eggplant)
2 medium chopped onions
salt for aubergine
salt for seasoning
5-6 tablespoons of olive oil
OPTIONAL: A heaped teaspoon of tomato concentrate and a little water
Slice the aubergine (eggplant), salt the slices one on side, put the slices onto kitchen paper and ‘sweat’ the aubergine. After fifteen minutes, turn the aubergine slices over and salt the other side. The kitchen paper will absorb the bitter liquid that comes off.
Rinse the aubergines in cold water, add to a heavy pan with a lid. Add all the other ingredients to the pot, drizzle with the olive oil, and start to cook, very slowly, with the lid on and at a low heat. Cook for 30 minutes, checking every now and then by lifting the lid and giving it a stir. If the bottom seems to be browning add a little more olive oil or water. Depending on the pan, you may need to cook for a further 15 minutes; you may not.
This is so simple to make and so good to eat!
Though theoretically a Turkish dish, this is an example of how some Turkish cuisine, like all great cuisines of the world, borrow from other sources. If this doesn’t blow your tastebuds, nothing will.
You will need:
6 pita breads
For the filling:
250g of fresh bean sprouts
one tomato, sliced into thin bits and slices quartered.
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 heaped teaspoon tomato concentrate
yellow cheese, grated, to add on top
OPTIONAL: remains of the ratatouille you cooked, above (really! It gives it an extra zing!)
Soften the onions in a pan with olive oil; put aside. Add beansprouts to pan with a little more oil and start stir-frying. As you stir, add soy sauce, slices of tomato, tomato paste (and ratatouille, if you like). Keep stirring until bean sprouts are cooked, but still quite crisp. Warm pita bread in hot oven for about five minutes, or until warmish. Slice ‘top’ of pita bread, open up. Distribute filling, stuffing evenly amongst pita breads, then add grated cheese on top. Pop back in the oven for about five minutes – ten minutes, depending on how melted you like your cheese to be.
This should always be eaten straight away.