with a pouched egg

First to put the sauce simmering, dice the onion and garlic and add to a saucepan with a little oil on a medium heat. When the onion has sweated enough, pour in the can of chopped tomatoes along with the nutmeg, sugar and 3/4’s of the basil, chopped, leaving a few nicer leaves to scatter over at the end. Season well with lots of salt and a cracked black pepper. Stir every now and again, the longer this sauce is simmering the better.

For the ratatouille take a small oven dish, big enough to lay two lines of the sliced discs. With the carrot, cut in half then lengthways you want to skim off the edges to sit against a right angle. This will be against the edge where you will start laying the vegetables so that the first one is supported and not bent in half. Drizzle a little oil over the bottom of the dish.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut the vegetables into roughly 5-7mm thick slices, I like to slice the aubergine as I go so that it does not go brown in the air. Assemble by first laying an aubergine slice against the carrot at roughly a 45° angle followed by tomato then courgette. Repeat this until you have made two rows. Drizzle a little oil over and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 30 minutes.

Put a large pan of water boiling for the poached eggs.

For the sauce, just before serving, blend to a smooth consistency or push through a sieve, to remove any lumps that may remain and divide into 2 bowls.

Now for the poached eggs, reduce the water to just under a simmer and add the vinegar. Adding each egg one at a time by placing each egg in a ramekin and lowering into the water. The success of your eggs will rely heavily on them being room temperature and as fresh as possible.

Remove the eggs when they look done, it should be 2-3 minutes for a runny yolk. Meanwhile take the ratatouille out of the oven and with an icing spatular or wide knife scoop the rows out and place on top of the sauce in 2 bowls. Now place the eggs on top. Add a little salt and pepper to the eggs and scatter a few of the basil leaves around to serve.


Although it would seem from many of my dishes that meat is a main focus when cooking, it is more often not the case when cooking meals for just myself. When cooking for others and eating out I will generally be pursuaded towards a meat dish 90% of the time. However, many of my evening dinners that I cook week in week out are more focused on a selection of seasonal vegetables, grains and pasta dishes. This would be great as a main dish for a vegetarian dinner.

To feed a veggie

Selecting the right vegetables is the most important thing to make the dish a show stopper. To find all three parts for the ratatouille that are of equal diameter is one thing but even then you are faced with the fact that the tomatoes and round courgettes taper off when slicing so the slices are smaller out to the sides than the middle.

Sandyway, Exmoor
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