Sunday, May 22, 2011

Comfort-food Cornbread

I'm taking a cooking course. I go weekly, at least, or whenever I possibly can. I experiment, learn as I go and let food – and cravings – be my guide. The curriculum involves inspiration from fellow bloggers and challenges from cookbooks and food magazines, one in particular being Taste Magazine. The visuals in Taste are always beautiful, the products seasonal and luxurious. And, while I regularly feel intimidated by the sheer craftsmanship of the recipes, the results are consistently delicious. And the more I test and challenge myself, the more accomplished I become.

Mariana Esterhuizen, owner of her self-titled restaurant in Stanford, is one of my teachers. Her columns offer reliable, South African comfort food with a story. Her cornbread in a skillet (Jan/Feb issue 2011) went superbly with a spicy tomato soup – great for the upcoming chilly winter. But I can imagine it will be just as good a side with a summer braai.

  • Butter for greasing
  • 1 cup maize meal/polenta
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper (I used yellow)
  • 4 Tsbp chopped coriander (I couldn't find any fresh, so used fresh parsley)
  • 3 large, free-range eggs
  • 1 cup yoghurt/buttermilk (I used yoghurt)
  • 3 Tsbp olive oil
How to make:
Preheat the oven to 180'C. Grease a (large) cast-iron skillet, with an ovenproof handle, very well with the butter. Sift the maize meal/polenta, cake flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the vegetables and coriander and stir into the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs lightly in a jug, then stir in the yoghurt and olive oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl and stir until combined. Pour into the greased skillet and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the top has browned and it feels firm. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing straight from the skillet.


  1. Looks delish. You inspire me to try her recipe. I liked the look of it and saved it from the Taste mag when it came out earlier this year but havent done it yet. Reason is I have never yet baked with polenta. On my bucket list HAHA! I even have the packet of polenta so best I get the corn hey? :) Another foodie, Cindy, has also baked it and said it was superb. Have a great week xx

  2. Thanks, Col. My first time "baking" with maize/polenta too. I think it has the tendency to be bland, so don't skimp on salt. (I was even thinking of adding a little Parmesan, which I sometimes add to savoury tart crusts, to give it that rich tangy-ness.) It's always great to have a simple, reliable starting recipe to work from. Have a great week too x

  3. Thank you! That is excellent advice there. I shall definitely try with the parmesan I think. Sounds awesome! Hugs xx

  4. This is lovely, and SUCH a good reason to finish the polenta languishing in my pantry, thanks amelia!

  5. Glad you found some inspiration, Polka! I look forward to hearing how it turns out!