Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Baked Ratatouille

Before I came to UK and Europe I was so busy that I didn't blog about the food that I've been cooking. Though being busy on a lot things didn't hinder me to still cook the dishes I want to concoct. Cooking is one thing I won't get tired doing no matter how busy and tired I am after a whole day of work in the office. So having said that, I want to post the very first dish I baked in my newly acquired oven which was given to me by the owner of my apartment. They decided to buy one for me instead of me buying it because of the fact that I am renting a fully furnished apartment, so I think the owner just did the right gesture.

Inspired by the French cuisine since I visited Paris last October, I finally decided to make Ratatouille for the first time when I came home from my trip. And not to mess with the recipe, I baked it! Going back a few years ago, people became more familiar with the dish when an American animated film made it as a title. The film is about Remy a rat who wants to be a chef and be in the heat of the kitchen. Sounds gross but it appeared a little cute. Then people from around the world were surprised to find out that it's a famous vegetable dish from France. Ratatouille came from the Occitan word "ratatolha" of the Occitan cuisine. While touiller means "to toss food" This dish originated from Provence and Nice and spreading its different version around France and the entire globe.

There are different versions of doing this dish, I adapted the version of Julia Child which insisted the layering style. Ratatouille can be eaten with breads or filling for crepes. A really nice and interesting food for the vegetarian or vegan people. The vegan can eliminate the use of butter to eat this dish. So let me begin sharing this Ratatouille Nicoise & Provencal recipe...



• Aubergine
• Zucchini
• Butternut Squash
• Plump Tomatoes
• Red & Yellow Capsicums
• Thyme/ Marjoram/
• Paprika/ Pepper/ Salt
• Garlic
• Fresh Basil
• Mozzarella Cheese
• Olive Oil
• Butter (of course)


Cut the vegetables according to shape like the aubergine, zucchini and tomatoes. For the Butternut Squash and Capsicum, cut it diagonally. After cutting all your vegetables, prepare a large bowl. Put all the vegetables together then start adding the crushed Garlic, Thyme, Marjoram, Paprika, Pepper, Salt and Olive Oil. Toss them together then prepare an oval or circular ceramic baking tray. Add some butter on the tray then start arranging all the vegetables together in layers as Julia Child did in her cookbooks. Then pour in the remaining sauce it created in the bowl while tossing it. Top it with some butter, grated mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. Bake it on 350F from 40 minutes to 1 hour depending on the volume of you are cooking.

This is for all the people who are

Vegans &

Bon appétit à tous mes!

big hug,
joanie xxx

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

First of all I would like to wish all you lovely people a happy holiday and may all you and your family have a blessed Christmas. I guess everyone knows that this is the best occasion of the year to do some festive cooking. As for me, every year of my life I try to be the queen of the kitchen in my family Christmas dinner but this year it will be a different one because I won't be home for Christmas. I'll spend it here in Vietnam. Being here in the most important event of the year is quite sad. I hardly feel the spirit of the yuletide season.. so I just decided to go to the beach with my dear friend Doris. For a change, it's my first Christmas to be away from my family and friends but it's also my first time to be on the beach on Christmas day. There's always a first time for everything, I guess.

So having the knowledge that I will not be cooking for Christmas eve, I decided to cook a Christmas lunch last Sunday for my friends here in Saigon before they head back to Manila. I prepared my special Roasted pork which I marinated with beer, mustard, herbs and spices. I place some olives, onions and tomatoes along with the sauce before roasting it in the oven. I just want to say that this is something I am surprised about with the amazing & flavourful result.

Joining the lunch table are my special Chicken Kebabs, Cucumber & Youghurt sauce, Corn & Leeks Fried Rice, Jamie Oliver's Potato Dauphinoise & Ginger Beer plus of course my special dessert Matcha jelly topped with Butterscotch Pudding. This is my little feast before Christmas day. I promise to cook some festive meal as I welcome the new year next week!

Merry KISSMAS Mates!

big hug,
joanie xxx