The food of the American South is totally culturally alien to me. I have never tasted collard greens, and I'm not even sure what grits are (are they like porridge?). I hate tea, so I'm thinking iced tea will be even more disgusting. Tex Mex, I can understand - fajitas, chilli, all good - but other than that, it's a mystery to me.
But I do like flicking around the interweb and looking at other people's blogs, and I keep seeing cornbread. With chilli, with butter, sliced, toasted, muffined and stuffinged, I seem to see cornbread everywhere I turn. So I decided it was time to plunge into an experiment. After all, how wrong could it go? I like corn, I like bread - could this really be bad?
I turned to Nigella for the recipe, who is obviously such a fan that she has two recipes in "Feast" alone. The one I chose comes from the Christmas and Thanksgiving chapter, where she recommends making cornbread just to crumble it into stuffing alongside cranberries and melted butter. I tried this out to accompany chilli and it did match brilliantly, sweet and crumbly and perfect for soaking up the spicy sauce. Am I converted to the Deep South yet, though? I'm not sure, y'all. See that lingo? I'm working on it.
From Nigella's Feast
- 175g polenta or cornmeal
- 125g plain flour
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 45g caster sugar
- big pinch of salt
- 250ml milk (she says full fat, I just used our normal semi-skimmed)
- 45g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 200C and butter a tin (she uses 23cm square), although I used a silicon tin so didn't bother buttering it.
Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in a measuring jug. Then stir them together with a wooden spoon until just combined, not fretting about any lumps. Pour into your tin and bake for 15-20 minutes or until it comes away from the sides and is starting to brown on top. Slice and serve warm, spreading with butter if you fancy.