With the glorious onset of Autumn in Auckland it's time to cosy up dinnertime. It's not quite Betty's hotpot weather but I find a warm salad is the perfect accompaniment to roasted chicken or lamb, mash or rice. Perfect timing really as the veggie gardens glut of courgettes and tomatoes lend themselves beautifully to this type of dish.
I make a huge pot of one of my favourite warm salads/stews, Ratatouille, and then freeze it in meal size batches. Inevitably my 'meal size' always leaves a little leftover and what better lunch than a bowl of warm veggies and fresh ciabatta.
I reckon a good meal size batch would need 2 medium onions, an aubergine, 4 or 5 courgettes, 3 red capsicums, a tin of chopped tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, fresh basil and I love a slosh of Worcestershire sauce for a little depth.
Chop all the vegetables into bite size chunks or slices and mince a couple of cloves of garlic. I don't bother with all that salting and sweating of aubergines, just look for fresh, plump, firm specimens.
Heat a good slug of oil in a large pan and then soften the onions, being careful not to brown them, stir in the aubergines, then the courgettes and after a couple of minutes add the pepper, garlic and a tad more oil.
Pop on the lid and cook really gently for 1/2 an hour or so. Add the drained tomatoes and sauce and cook for another 30 minutes until the veggies are soft, then stir in the basil.
This is one of those dishes that seems to get better after a couple of days in the fridge...delicious.