The Tastiest Cornbread

As comfort food goes, this is possibly the best, certainly best return on effort I’ve found in a long, long time.More akin to baking cakes than breadmaking as we understand it, I can usually knock one up in ten minutes or so, and I would usually make two of these loaves at a time just because they go so quickly in my house. It goes for an afternoon snack, straight out of the oven, it goes with ham & eggs for dinner, it goes at breakfast time and in packed lunches. I imagine it would be perfect with a bowl of soup too.

This is my own recipe, but I have taken inspiration from Momma Cherri’s Soul in a Bowl Cookbook, and Jamie’s America

  • 165g cornmeal (polenta)
  • 125ml full fat milk
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 30ml butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • half a large onion, thinly sliced
  • small bunch of spring onions, diced
  • 200g sweetcorn – fresh from the cob is ideal, but it is January – canned or frozen is fine.
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 80g cheddar or similar hard cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper (quite a lot)

Melt your butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the two onions and cook, stirring regularly until they are soft and starting to brown a little. Add your sweet ccorn and cook for a few minutes more. Take off the heat to allow to cool down for a little while.

Preheat your oven to gas 6. In a large bowl addd your eggs (beaten), cornmeal, flour and milk. Stir, until combined. Add your cheese, chilli, thyme and salt and pepper and then add the onions/corn. Put in your baking powder, give a final thorough stir and then pour into a greased and lined 2lb  loaf tin, or deep sandwich tin and put into the oven for 40 mins or so. The cornbread is cooked when you stick a skewer or thin knife in, and it comes out clean.

Sticky Barbecue Ribs & Grilled Sweetcorn – Farmer’s Market Wednesday

It felt a bit strange to me to be buying fresh corn on the cob at the farmer’s market today – it is a vegetable I only associate with the summertime, and this morning was .definitely. definitely. autumn. But never mind, at 40p each and grilled to go alongside some baby ribs, I managed to convince myself for a few minutes. The sauce is tomato based and really easy. Even if you don’t have a food processor like lazy old me you can still do it, just ensure that you crush the tomatoes down well with your hands and mince the onion and garlic as finely as you possibly can. Serves 2. Hugely easily multiplied.

For the ribs:

  • barbecueribs500g ribs, preferably on the rack
  • 2 tsps cajun seasoning
  • 400g can tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 100ml tomato puree
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar (or, in my case, maple syrup) or even honey if you like
  • 1 scant teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp mustard powder

Preheat your oven to gas 2. Cut your rack of ribs in half, and rub a teaspoon of cajun seasoning into each piece. Put them into a heavy casserole with a lid, or if you don’t have one of the right size, a solid roasting tin which you will cover with foil. Put the covered ribs into the oven and leave them to cook slowly for 2 – 2 and a half hours.

In the meantime, put your garlic and onion in the bowl of your food processor and whizz down until chopped extremely finely. Put them in a saucepan with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and a splash of olive oil. Sweat off over a very low heat until soft and translucent. In the same food processor, put all the remaining ingredients and whizz again until smooth and fully combined. Put the sauce into the saucepan with the onion and garlic, stir well and simmer gently for around 20 minutes.

About forty minutes before you are ready to eat, turn the oven right up to gas 6, and put the ribs onto a roasting tin or baking sheet. Cover each side of the ribs with the barbecue sauce, reserving a little, and place into the oven. Cook for 20 minutes and then turn over. Add the remaining barbecue sauce and put back in the oven. They will need just twenty more minutes, but keep checking that the sauce isn’t burning. If it starts to catch, you can take it out.  Turn on your grill.

For the sweetcorn:

  • cornoncob2 corn on the cob
  • 2 tsps of butter

Get two lengths of tin foil about 6 inches long. Remove the corn from the husks, if they’re ready to cook they should come off really easily. Place the corn onto the foil and put about a teaspoon of butter on each. Roll up the foil, tucking in the end until they are wrapped snugly. Put under a hot grill, and turning fairly regularly, cook for 15 minutes, until kernels have softened in the melted butter. Serve with the ribs.

Sweetcorn & Red Pepper Curry

I made this curry as a vegetable  side dish, to go with a meal of honey roasted leg of lamb & coconut rice. For the final result, there are photos on that post. But happily, this would probably serve 3 -4 as a main with rice. Its really easy, and got a lot of compliments from my fellow greedies. I was inspired to make this by some fresh corn cobs in the farmers market, and I’m glad I made it, even though with two other dishes to make that evening it was a bit stressful for about 5 minutes (feel the love, feeeel the lovvvve). This would also go very well on a baked potato, or as a side with some plain chicken. Although these recipes may seem to have a lot of ingredients, once you have bought a stock of spices, its really nothing in pence to put together and freezes well.

To serve up to 6 generously as a side dish, or 3 generously as a main:

  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small onion, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 7-10g fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt & pepper
  • 500g sweetcorn, fresh, tinned or frozen
  • 225ml milk
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

Get your onion, chopped tomatoes, ginger and garlic and put them in a blender. Whizz up.

Heat up your pan, and add the oil. Fry the cumin seeds – you should be able to smell when they’re cooked but in case in you’re not confident or have a bad cold, time between 20 and 30 seconds. Stop before anything smokes.  Add your paste of ginger, onion, garlic & tomato and cook this over a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Again, try and go by the smell. When you think that’s had enough – and its a fairly relaxed process given I can’t see your flame, and luckily the tomatoes protect the other ingredients to an extent – pop in your turmeric, chilli, coriander & salt and cook these for about a minute. Then, put in the pepper and sweetcorn and cook that for about 5 minutes. Then, add the milk and tomato puree, bring it up to the boil and cook that for 15 minutes, or until a lot of the liquid has evaporated. Turn the heat right down and then add your yoghurt and garam masala. Scofffffffffffff.