Ratatouille is an ideal collaboration of late-summer vegetables, so make the most of them. You can serve this as a vegetarian dish or it is an ideal side dish to accompany barbecued meat. I use a 24cm Le Creuset casserole for this dish. If you do not have a pot that big you may want to use two smaller ones as you need the room to fit the dumplings on top. And make the ratatouille first as the dumplings should be cooked straight away.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
small bunch flat-leafed parsley, chopped
1 large eggplant, cut into 2cm dice
3 red and/or yellow capsicums, seeded and diced 2cm
4 medium zucchini, thickly sliced crosswise
250ml red wine
4 medium tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt freshly ground black pepper
3 cups self-raising flour
½ teaspoon salt
150g cheddar, grated
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary and/or thyme
Heat the olive oil in a large, preferably heavy-based saucepan or casserole over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and parsley, and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add the eggplant, fry for 5 minutes then add the capsicums and zucchini. Fry for a few minutes then add the wine and bring to the boil. Add all the tomatoes and the salt, and bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat and season with fresh black pepper to taste.
Place the dumplings (recipe follows) on top of the mixture a little spaced apart. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes until the dumplings have risen and are golden.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (this can be done in a food processor). Mix in the cheese and herbs. Using a knife, gently mix in the milk to form a dough (add a bit more if the dough doesn't come together easily; if it is a bit sticky, coat your hands in flour to shape).
Turn the dough out on to a floured board and gently pat out until around 3cm thick. Using a 5cm-diameter cutter, cut out dumplings (you should get about 14) and place on a floured tray until needed.