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Rat Stew aka Ratatouille

A Little Gluttony Does You Good!

And breathe! The Festival is over and normality reigns, well whatever passes for normal in Edinburgh. I love September; there's still a promise of warm days and tranquil evenings along with bountiful goodies to fill our bellies. The Fringe may be over, but this month still has three foodie events; first up Forth Bridges Festival (4th - 13th), then Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight (6th - 21st) and newbie on the scene, Eat, Drink, Discover Scotland (12th - 14th). I'm looking forward to see which recipe is chosen from their Secret Ingredient competition inspired by chef Mark Greenaway when he trundled around Scotland seeking out his favourites. I entered into the spirit with a sea buckthorn curd, but I'm sure there are many of you who have a better chance of winning than me and I wish you all good luck. 
September is the month of gluttony with an abundance of fabulous ingredients to pig out on and most of them are good for you! The recipe I plumped for is, what we call in our house, 'Rat Stew' or as you might know it as, ratatouille. It's not traditional by any stretch of the imagination and, like many of my dishes, there are no set measurements, add what you want and be a glutton! 

Rat Stew aka Ratatouille
Aubergine, roughly chopped
Courgettes, roughly chopped
Peppers, roughly chopped
Peeled and cubed butternut squash, optional
Fennel, sliced, optional
Onion, sliced thinly
Garlic, chopped
Large glug of oil
Tomato purée
Tin tomatoes
Herbs of your fancy, fresh or dry
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large casserole dish; throw in the onions, sauté until soft and lightly coloured.
Chuck in the butternut squash if using, swirl for a few minutes, lob in the rest of the veg, including the garlic and shuggle (stir) around for a few minutes more.
Squeeze in a large dollop of tomato paste, cook briefly. Plop in the tin toms and a tin of water.
Give it all a good mix and if you are using dried herbs, put them in now. 
Bring to the boil, slam on a lid and pop into a preheated oven (180oC/Fan 160oC/ Gas4) for about an hour or until the vegetables are soft). 
Just before serving, add fresh herbs if you are using them
Serve with crusty bread or slop into individual bowls, top with strong cheese and melt under a hot grill till it bubbles.

What else is in my basket?
Partridge, wild duck, autumn lamb, grey mullet, mackerel, oysters, apples, plums, pears, sweetcorn, cobnuts, globe artichokes. 
Lea writes http://OfftheEatenTrack.wordpress.com and is @BakersBunny on Twitter and Instagram

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