Many cooks won't attempt to make a gougère, which is a choux pastry ring, because they think it's too difficult. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. Choux pastry is very simple to make, and it can be prepared ahead – shape the gougère and bake just before serving. The filling, too, can be made in advance.
Unlike many other foods, there are minimal losses of nutrients when cheese is cooked. * Roasting vegetables brings out their full flavour and is a very low-fat method of cooking. * Garlic is a source of the phytochemical allicin, believed to have both anti-fungal and antibiotic properties. Allicin is created when garlic is cut or smashed, and allicin produces the characteristic smell and taste. The more you chop garlic, the more pungent it will be.
Make 4 large choux buns instead of a ring. Spoon the choux pastry into mounds on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Split open and fill with the roasted ratatouille mixture. * Replace the Gruyère with Emmenthal or fontina cheese, and the cayenne pepper with 4 thinly sliced spring onions and 2 tbsp chopped parsley. * For leek and mushroom gougère, soften 1 thinly sliced leek in 1 tbsp sunflower oil, then add 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) thickly sliced chestnut mushrooms and 1 crushed garlic clove. Cook for a further 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and have exuded their juices. Stir in 3 tbsp chopped parsley, 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme and 1 can black-eyed beans, about 410 g, drained and rinsed. Season to taste. Heat through gently, then use to fill the freshly baked gougère.
A, C * B1, B6, B12, E, folate, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc * B2, niacin, copper, selenium