Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ratatouille

One thing that I have learned in the gardening caper over the last 5 years is that you can never assume you’ve got something nailed. Just one you come over all smug, your garden soon contrives to knock you from your own pedestal.

Our first four years of vegie gardening were done during a drought. No rain for months on end. Endless days of summer temperatures up in the 30s. We tended our vegies carefully, hand watering and mulching like mad all the while. We were rewarded for our assiduousness. We had vegies of all descriptions coming out of our ears during summer. I barely bought a vegetable for months on end.

Well, this summer has been the summer of reckoning. The drought has broken. This should be a good thing, right? Oh no, it isn’t because now we’ve had too much rain, see. Two weeks ago we had 225mm (or about 9 inches) of rain over a 48 hour period, and since then we have barely had a sunny day. And this is after a few months of way above average rainfall. It has hasn’t hit 30 degrees Celsius for weeks, now. All we have is mild temperatures, humidity and rain.

Now, the vegie garden is a jungle, but it isn’t fruiting. My theory: lots of rain = no bees = no pollination = no vegies. Eggplant, capsicum, zucchini, cucumbers, pumpkin, corn - all are a dead loss. Where there is some fruit, it’s taking it’s time to ripen. And of course, as I’ve explained in a previous post, the rain has encouraged those damn fruit fly. Bummer all round.

So this week, as I made a batch of oven-roasted ratatouille, I mused on how last year every ingredient would have come out of the garden. This year, everything except the tomatoes was bought at the market. Such is life.

Oven roasted ratatouille

3 medium eggplant, diced
1 red capsicum, sliced
3 zucchini, diced
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 red onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 400g tin chickpeas
Salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 200◦C . Place all the ingredients except the chickpeas in a large roasting tin. Roast for about 30 minutes, then add the chickpeas after giving the vegetables a stir. Roast for another 10-15 minutes.

Delicious hot, at room temperature or cold.

© growgirl 2008

No comments: