Welcome to the Cooking Scribble, the vegetarian adventures of, well, a cooking Scribble. About three months ago I opted to take the 'flexitarian' approach to eating, cutting down my meat consumption to pretty much zilch. At this point, I reckon I eat just enough animal bits to avoid angering the tummy gods when meat is ingested either purposefully as my family is ridiculously carnivorous or accidentally because meat tends to sneak into all sorts of things from stocks to stews. Anyway, as an independent animator and illustrator, I thought I'd kick off with the dish a little Pixar rodent made famous - a variation of ratatouille by Chef Thomas Keller called Confit Byaldi.
The vegetables I used were primarily sourced locally via Somerset Local Food Direct's fabulous farm shop. I've been using their delivery service for the past month, and the quality has been consistently good. Not only are the produce included in my weekly veg-box varied and delicious, the people running the company are friendly and very helpful. Based in the Somerset area, Somerset Local Food Direct not only provides veg-boxes starting as low as £3.59, but a whole range of yumminess. Select a variety of fruits and vegetables or perhaps some scrummy, local cheese is more to your liking. Either way, I've found them delightful to order from - a fabulous product for a reasonable price with the added benefit of home delivery if you're car-less like me and unable to get to local farmers' markets easily. As an added bonus, first time buyers with a purchase £30 or more can choose from a number of charities to which SLFD will donate £10. How neat is that? Help the environment. Help local producers. Help a good cause. And get yummy, delicious, no-nonsense food delivered to your door.
As for the recipe - I made a few variations to fit the contents of my weekly vegetable allotment. Instead of the long, thin Japanese eggplant, I used a standard, fat eggplant cut in half than sliced. I also lacked yellow squash and substituted Kosher salt with sea salt from Trader Joe's (it came back to England in my suitcase). Little changes.
The end result - not the prettiest thing in the world, but still absolutely delicious. Taste bud heaven! And not just because I was hungry and the recipe happens to take a relatively long time to put together especially if you're cutting all of your vegetables by hand.