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Harvest time marks the end of summer’s abundance. Like the final large rockets at the end of a fire work display, late August and early September crops provide a final burst of colour and ripeness. Make the most of your garden or special offers from your local market and have a go at jamming and preserving. Fill the freezer with batches of tomato sauce, based on the inexpensive glut of late summer tomatoes or make a large portion of the French classic vegetable ragout Ratatouille.

This recipe makes a generous portion for 8, but it can just as well be doubled to make enough to freeze. Ratatouille is great with roast or grilled meat, poultry and fish or as a rustic pasta sauce

1. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C.

2. Halve the peppers; remove the white membrane and seeds. Cut the peppers, courgettes, aubergine and fennel into equal size pieces.

3. Arrange the vegetables in a large roasting tray and drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil.

4. Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Turn once.

5. Meanwhile, halve and peel the onion, chop roughly. Peel and slice the garlic cloves. Halve the chilli, scrape out the seeds with the tip of a small knife; slice thinly.

6. Chop the tomatoes roughly.

7. Heat the light olive oil in a very large, heavy pan. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and cook on a medium heat until it starts to take on a little colour.

8. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and some of the water. The amount of water needed will depend on how juicy the tomatoes are.

9. Add half of the chopped herbs; give it all a good stir and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.

10. Add the roasted vegetables and remaining herbs. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.

Topping it with crumbled Feta breaks with tradition, but the salty cheese goes very well with the deep, rich vegetable ragout.

Recipe provided by


2 courgettes

1 large aubergine

1 large fennel bulb

3 peppers, mixed colours

Maldon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 small red chilli

1 onion

4 fat garlic cloves

2 large tablespoons tomato purée

8 large, ripe tomatoes

1 large teaspoon of caster sugar
100-150ml water

A large handful of mixed chopped, fresh herbs

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons light olive oil

1 pack Feta cheese (optional)

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