Oscar’s Ratatouille

Photographer: Adam
Serves 6

I think that Oscar may have a more sophisticated palette at 6 than I had at 26. For his last birthday he requested sushi, he is partial to a little escargot, and he really does much prefer dark Swiss chocolate to any overly sweet Kiwi-made stuff. Oscar’s mum is an engineer here at work. She is Swiss-French and it was from her that Oscar learnt to make Ratatouille, and then I was lucky enough to be taught by him. He particularly likes the soup that forms from the slow-cooked seasonal vegetables – perfect for soaking up with chewy, crusty bread.

I’ve found the best way of getting good, nutritious food into little ones is to involve them in the cooking process. (Even more fun is to grow the veggies and then go out and pick, wash and cook them up together.) The great thing about ratatouille is you can chop everything up really fine and it will cook faster and perhaps be more easily accepted by small children who can no longer pick out individual vegetables to dislike (I think we all know how that goes), or you can chop things quite roughly – great if the kids are lending a hand with the knife skills – and simply cook for longer.


6 tbsp olive oil
1 each red, yellow and orange peppers, diced
1 large red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 medium-sized eggplant, peeled and diced
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
4 medium-sized courgette, diced
1 kg tomatoes, skinned, cored and diced
1 bay leaf
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock (best quality you can get)
2 tbsp red wine (optional)
Salt and pepper to taster


1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-based pan or casserole dish.
2. Fry the peppers until soft, then add onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until onion is translucent.
3. Add eggplant and sprinkle over herbs, cook for a further 5 minutes.
4. Add courgette and cook for 5 minutes.
5. Add tomatoes, bay leaf and stock. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour or until all vegetables are tender.
6. Add red wine, salt and pepper to taste and cook for further 10 minutes.
7. Remove bay leaf and serve hot in bowls with crusty bread to soak up the soup.