Fiddling My Thumbs

Right, who’s missing out Olympics? I am. Not much of a sport-watcher person, but again, Olympics kind of bring it to a new level altogether. One thing that I notice is that South Korea seems to be in all sports, amazing. And they are doing not bad in fact. Pretty good I might say. I mean, China has a big population, so does US. So the probability to find and groom an athlete is big. But c’mon, South Korea is not big at all. To see them doing so well in Epee, Shooting or even Snatch is amazing.

Anyway, I kinda have some extra time since I’m no longer glued to the TV, rooting for one team or another. So I make this. This is basically a ratatouille playing dress up. Use any simple ratatouille recipe you have and put it on a pate brise (short-crust pastry).

Ratatouille is my answer to fridge cleaning. I will put everything I can find in my fridge. But the basic ingredients are Aubergine (eggplant), Courgette, Poivron (bell peppers) and Tomatoes. Put into the pan in that alphabetical order. Ideally, your pan will already contain onions and oil. From time to time, I like to add bacon or ham, to add flavour and bite. If you have a good collection of herbs, add thyme, bay leaves and oregano. Let it simmer and cook for at least 30 mins till all vegetable have turn soft. Season with salt & pepper, that’s it. That’s your basic ratatouille.

My mother-in-law always makes ratatouille the night before. I concur, but you don’t have to.

Next, prepare your pate brise. Buy one from supermarket or make one. It’s super simple. Five ingredients: flour, butter, egg yolk, pinch of salt and cold water. A good pate brise (or short cut pastry) will have flour quantity that is exactly double the butter quantity. So in this case:

250gr flour, 125gr room temperature butter, 1 egg yolk, pinch of salt and 3-4 tbsp cold water. All mixed in a bowl and form into a ball. If it’s too crumbly, add bit more water. Let it sit on fridge 30 mins before baking. 180C for 20 mins. Use dry beans to avoid the dough inflating. If you like your dough to have deeper colour, remove the beans after 15 mins of baking.

Next, assembly them all. After the dough is baked, put in your ratatouile. Sprinkle with feta cheese. Bake for additional 20 mins. Then garnish with cilantro or any herbs you want.

Now the truth, the honest truth. It is just a creative way to prepare ratatouille. It’s just a french dish so basic that you don’t typically serve to your guests. Much like pot-au-feu. But since you put it in a tart shell, it looks much nicer and presentable. The kind of dish that I usually serve when H invites his vegetarian friends. The pastry makes it more filling.

The greatest part is I can prepare everything in advance, and do the assembly and the 20mins baking while the guests are enjoying their aperitif. I, too, got to enjoy my aperitif in peace.



  1. there was this french crepes place in melbourne that my friends often go.
    in fact, indos like to go there but would only have the sweet stuff.

    so one time, i tried a savoury one…a crepe with ratatouille.
    it was the first time i tried a ratatouille, but somehow there’s a familiarity to the flavour.
    as if i have tasted it before in other types of cuisine.

    1. I think it’s because it’s tomato based, and even in chinese dishes, there’s many variation of this. As well as in Indon dishes. When we were in Spain, we ate ratatouille with a half boiled egg on top. You’re suppose to break the egg and mix it around. Try cooking it. Ratatouille is simple and even better after a day or two.

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