Aubergine & Courgette stacks and lemon chicken brochettes

My darling mum made ratatouille most Sundays as an accompaniment to the roast. Sunday dinners were always large affairs, our big family and any friends, boyfriends or girlfriends who happened to be around were always welcome at her table.  This recipe came a bit from Dublin Cookery School and a bit from memories of my mum although she  always made it in a casserole dish I have stacked it using a stainless steel ring – it makes a more dramatic plate but is still really easy. An optional topping of goats cheese and crumbs make it more substantial – serve with a green salad for lunch only or with the chicken brochette for a great dinner. Full of the taste of the med and the goodness of these great vegetables. Full of memories for me..

Chicken Brochettes
4 chicken breasts cut into 2” cubes
Juice of a lemon
2 cloves of garlic chopped and mashed
100ml olive oil
1 tbsp of herbs de province (or your own mix of dried thyme oregano sage and parsley)
Combine the marinade ingredients in a non metal bowl
Add the chicken and toss to coat – leave for a few hours to soften and marinate
Thread alternating pieces of chicken and cherry tomatoes onto metal skewers, season and cook on the barbie or in the oven until cooked through and serve with the stacks.

Ratatouille Vegetable stacks with goats cheese and crumb topping
Serves 4
2 large aubergines
1 large courgette
1 shallot
1 red pepper
2 cloves garlic mashed and crushed
1 tbsp tomato puree
Half a tin of tomatoes chopped or 200mls passata
2 tbsp olive oil
For topping
6oz breadcrumbs ( I routinely use gluten free bread)
4 tbsp toasted pinenuts
4 tbsp of olive oil
2oz goats cheese or if you don’t like it you can use mozzarella, feta or other of choice

Slice 1 of the aubergines lengthwise into slices 1/4″ thick
Slice the other one into circles 1/4 thick – you will need 2 per stack
Finely dice the shallots and the remaining courgette and aubergine
Core and deseed the peppers and cut into dice
Heat olive oil and add the shallots and garlic
Cook until softened then add the courgettes and aubergine
Cook for a few minutes and add the pepper
Add the tomato puree and stir to incorporate and season with salt and pepper
Add the chopped tomatoes or passata and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce the sauce – you don’t want it too wet
Set aside to cool
Cook off the aubergine and courgette rounds and lengths on a griddle pan – brush with olive oil first and then season and place on a very hot griddle and cook until golden and tender on both sides
To assemble
Mix the breadcrumbs with the pine nuts, olive oil and season well
Place rings on parchment paper on a baking tray and place a circle of aubergine into the base of the ring
Line the inside with a length of aubergine – don’t worry if it does not go the whole way round – add some more into the gap
Fill with the ratatouille mix and place a further circle on top and press down firmly
Place goats cheese on top and press the crumbs into the cheese
Into the oven for about 15 minutes at 160C – With a fish slice place on your serving plate, remove the rings and serve with the chicken or on its own with a green salad for a delicious lunch

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