Homemade Cornbread.

So as I mentioned in my post yesterday as seen here I made and ate cornbread for the first time and it was actually really good. I’ve often seen people on American films and sitcoms eat this with their meals and have always been a bit curious as to what it actually is and what it tastes like too. To be honest if you were like me and hadn’t tried it before it’s like a dense cake is the best way to describe it I reckon. Eating this made me live out my dream of being a old woman from one of the southern states of America, I pictured myself sitting on a rocking chair on a porch in Alabama, spitting into a bucket and stroking one of my many wild pet cats. We’ve all got dreams right?!

Anyway aside from that mad tangeant, I would really recommend giving this a go. It’s a bit different and something I, and none of my family members had really tried before, it’s also a really conversation starter if you serve this up over the dinner table with a big feast of tex mex food.

cornbread

As you can see from the above image, which looks like its a screengrab from a crap documentary series filmed off of a potato, it’s a proper dense little side dish. It looks like a cake, smells like cake but has that faint polenta/sweetcorn aroma to it and went really with the savoury chilli flavours.

If I’ve managed to sell this recipe to you and you fancy giving it a go yourself, it’s so easy to do. You literally just mix wet ingredients into the dry ones. Pop it in a lined tray and bang it in the oven. DONE.

To make this you will need:

  • 125g plain flour.
  • 125g cornmeal or polenta.
  • 140g caster sugar.
  • 1 tsp salt.
  • 3tsp baking powder.
  • 1 large egg.
  • 235ml of milk.
  • 80ml vegetable oil.

HOW TO:

I wish I could ramble on in this gap for ages how technical I found this but I’m not the greatest cook in the world and I found it so easy there’s literally 0 room to go wrong.

I measured out all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and then mixed them all together until they were nicely combined.

Adding in a pinch of salt and the egg, I mixed until it formed a paste like consistency.

In a jug, I measured out the milk and the oil adding that to the dry ingredients until it came together like a smooth cake batter.

I popped it in the oven (which was set and preheating obvs at 200 degrees C) It took about 25 minutes to fully cook through and I left it to cool before serving.

I did see online that some people eat theirs hot or with honey or topped with butter but we had ours plain. Similarly you could add in some cheese, chives, spices like paprika or even some small bacon bits to give it a bit more punch and flavour.

cornbreadd

Once again, I am not impressed with the photo quality of these. I did take them with my phone and usually it works out really well but these look like I took them with a disposable camera on holiday in 1976 or something?! Anyway I was well happy with how these turned out. Considering it was my first attempt and no one was violently ill or thought they tasted gross!? That’s a win in my book!

Also, so sorry these posts are coming out later and later each day, I may have been watching Crime documentaries all evening before I realised I didn’t actually schedule a post for today. One of these days I might be an organised little sausage when it comes to these blogging shenanigans.

Winter Warmer Bean Chilli.

chilli

Chilli con Carne is one of my all time favourite dishes to eat and also to make. It’s so versatile and you can change up the whole meal with different sides, different ingredients and different spices every single time. Also in my opinion it makes it one o the harder dishes to recreate as I’m always adding in different little bits every time I can never go back and make the same bowl of it. Everyone in my household eats meat apart from me but whenever I cook I always like to do something non meaty for them. Hence why I decided to treat them to this fab bean chilli this evening. I should add that I’m not one of those hardcore veg heads that force everyone to eat tofu and quorn (I mean I am trying *very* hard for them to all try a Linda McCartney sausage even just a tiny bite but no such luck so far.)
The great thing about chilli is that there is so much room for personalisation, if you like yours with some spice and a bit of kick then you can add as many chillies and chilli flakes as you like, I’ve heard of some people adding a couple of squares of good quality dark chocolate to make the mixture smoother and creamier or even a dollop of marmite to give it that salty, well marmitey, flavour.. If you can’t face a meal without meat (my sister to a t) then you can add some diced bacon or pancetta. The possibilities are endless.
So I thought I’d impart my wonderful knowledge and wisdom of this with a fab chilli recipe because it is so ridiculously easy to make and is so tasty and warming especially in the coming colder months.This was to die for and literally a one pot dish. I honestly thought they were a myth or clickbait seen on Pinterest.
I’m not one for complicated recipes if I have to flambé anything I’m out, this one pot dish is super duper simple there’s literally no room to go wrong.
 Oh I should also add that these measurements may seem proper huge but this made 12 portions so was perfect for leftovers the following day, lunches or even popping in the freezer cos you never know when you might need an emergency bean chilli??

You will need:
  • 1 large carrot.
  • 1 large celery stalk.
  • 1 medium red onion.
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped. I roasted it as well so it was easier to squish with a back of a knife. I’m getting proper technical here, watch out Gordon Ramsey.
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes.
  • 1 tblsp tomato puree.
  • 1 tsp chilli powder.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 bay leaf.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika.
  • 1 400g tin butter beans.
  • 1 400g tin kidney beans.
  • 1 400g black beans.
  • 1 small tin baked beans (cheating IKR but it works).
  • Handful of chopped coriander leaves.
  • sweetcorn.

HOW TO:

To start off I finely diced a stalk of celery, a carrot and a small red onion and fried it off in the pot with a good glug of olive oil, crushed garlic and a pinch of salt. Once that had cooked through and turned a more translucent colour which took about 10 minutes. After that I poured a tin of chopped tomatoes into the pot. Leaving that to simmer a bit, I actually used my handheld immersion blender and just blended the mixture a handful of times. That was more for my personal preference as I didn’t want big tomatoey lumps. (also what I look like on holiday. A big tomatoey lump..)
From there I added in all of the spices and the bay leaf. I never really thought much about cooking before but you are really building flavours upon flavours. That way you can taste a bit see if you need to add anything else or realise your culinary expertise that you’ve made a pretty banging pot of flavours so far.
To save time and energy I use tinned beans. You can use dried beans but it just takes a bit longer as you have to leave them soaking overnight aaaaaand I couldn’t be bothered for that. Sooooorrry.  So yeah where was I? I added in all my funky tins of beans. Even my baked beans, ok I know the whole of Texas and Southern American states will be wanting to burn my kitchen down for that but in my opinion it really works. I had put a sprinkle too much chilli into this and when I say a sprinkle it was practically like a truck had reversed up and dumped a whole skip full of the stuff. Plus I  really needed something to reduce it’s thickness and flavour.
I throw that in the pot. Not literally that would be messy and not to mention reckless. Pls don’t throw anything on my recommendation. Yeah so add in all the tinned things or the beans you’ve been soaking overnight, if you do that…I just want to say I’m already so proud of you. Leave it to simmer gently over a low heat for like 20 minutes, enough time to peg some washing out. I sound like Bree Van Der Kampf but that is genuinely what I did.
In that time you can come back stir it all through and be delighted with the delicious smokey smells filling your kitchen as we speak. And that is literally your one pot chilli done. I don’t even know if I can call it a chilli? Maybe like a bean stew would be more appropriate.
If you want to make yours a bit thicker, I mix a spoonful of polenta (or flour whatever suits you) with some water until it forms a slurry like that consistency and then combine that with the chilli. If you mix the flour or polenta or whatever thickening agent right into it it can create just lumps and pockets of flour and that is really not ideal.  (I’m using some cracking terminology here aren’t I)
Once made you can either eat it immediately, don’t even bother putting it in a bowl just grab a spoon or ladle, depending on your mood and eat it ALLLL. Or heat it up just before serving, y’know whatever you’d rather.
SO hey presto. You made yourself a delicious, heart warming, good for the soul bowl of food. I’ve served this to the meatiest of all meat eaters and they even went back for seconds. I’m fairly certain lions on the prowl for their next slither of food would rather eat this than their usual prey (once again, do not hold me to these ridic claims)
So sit down with a good book and a big spoon or gather round the dinner table for some wholesome home cooking. You can serve this with rice, cornbread which I made for the first time today and it is absolutely divine. On top of a jacket potato or even batch prepare on a Sunday for a whole week of meal preps If you’re that way inclined. I am forgetful and lazy I don’t think I’ll ever be a meal prepper unless it’s cooking a pizza and separating the leftover. cold slices for work lunch. Jokes there’s never any leftover slices. This is great family food as you can lay the table with guac, salsa, tortilla chips and sour cream and all dig in and have a Texan feast.
MUCH LOVE.