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December 20, 2010

Madness is gathering momentum at my market with Christmas only a few sleeps away.

The place was packed at the weekend. I tried to get round as quickly as I could because rain was threatening when I walked over there. I’d just about finished my shopping when the heavens opened and the rain started hammering the roof.

There have been plenty of tomatoes about, with prices dropping. The red and green pepper prices have been bouncing about a bit. It pays to do a quick round of the vegetable stalls to locate the best buys. It really depends if you are planning to cook the produce straight away or want it to last until later in the week.

I bought the makings for some ratatouille and ventured out just as the rain was turned off.

I like to give my ratatouille a bit of attitude and add either pepper flakes or red chilli paste for some heat, a dash of red wine vinegar for a little acidity and capers for their flavour and saltiness.


2 tablespoons avocado oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 medium eggplant, diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4-5 medium tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or red chilli paste
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons capers
salt and pepper
a few basil leaves

Heat a pan, add the oil, onion and garlic and gently sauté until tender. Add the eggplant and zucchini, turn the heat up a little and cook for 4 minutes, adding a little more oil if required.

Add the red pepper and tomatoes and cook a further two minutes, stirring to mix, then add the tomato paste and water, the vinegar and the chilli paste or pepper flakes. Stir well, cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes, adding a little more water if needed.

Stir in the capers and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. At this stage you can pull out any of the tomato skins.

Tip into a serving bowls and sprinkle with chopped or torn basil leaves. This dish can be served hot or at room temperature. Leftovers are good for lunch the next day.

Canned tomatoes can be substituted depending on the availability of good tomatoes. Less water will be required.

Serve 3-4.

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