Friday, 12 February 2016


“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” - Marcus Tullius Cicero

One of the prime joys of our back garden is the great variety of flowers that we have growing. Many annuals, flowering perennials, many rose bushes, Spring bulbs, summer tubers, etc. To have fresh blossoms for one’s vase, to wander in amongst the greenery and inhale the fragrance is wonderful. There is also a secondary joy, which is the inclusion of seasonal vegetables in amongst the flowers. Now in the summer garden, we have a couple of zucchini vines, some patio tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, capsicums and of course herbs.

It is so good to be able to pick garden fresh, organic produce from one’s own garden and make lunch or dinner! We made such a dish a couple of days ago, with our very own produce. Here is the recipe. If you do not have a garden, you are allowed to buy the vegetables at the greengrocer…


2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. dried, chopped herbes de Provence (tarragon, savory, sage, thyme, marjoram)
6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 large yellow onions, quartered
1 bay leaf
2 medium zucchini (about 500 g), cut into 5 cm pieces
1 medium eggplant (about 400 g.), cut into 5 cm pieces
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
10 whole peeled ripe tomatoes (or use canned tomatoes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 200˚C.
Heat oil in a 6-Litre Dutch oven over medium heat. Add herbes de Provence, garlic, onions, and bay leaf; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Increase heat to high; stir in the zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Uncover pot, transfer to the oven, and bake, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 1 and 1⁄2 hours.
Stir in basil and parsley, transfer ratatouille to a serving bowl, and serve warm or at room temperature.
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