I’m a big advocate of salads & soups, especially in summertime when it’s warm (sometimes too warm!), you’re lethargic & just craving something fresh, cooling & light. Sometimes though, soup needs a partner, salad becomes a side, hunger prevails & something more substantial is required to banish the pangs.
It’s no small secret that I undeniably favour all things dough, so naturally my solution when it comes to expanding meals is to add a slice, a crusty roll, a wedge of sourdough. However, this is not exactly the most convenient of options at times. Lacking clairvoyant skills, it can be difficult to predict the hunger pangs & set aside 3 hours to rise, prove & bake your own bread. The solution? A quick bread.
Whenever I think of quick bread, my mind immediately goes to banana bread or soda bread, both excellent choices but not quite what I’m after as a light summer side dish. Enter cornbread! I’ve never really been all that fussed on cornbread… particularly seeing as different shops & restaurants have different takes on what they call cornbread.
It wasn’t until I clocked some very delicious, yellow wedges years ago from a vendor at St Nicholas Market in Bristol that I really begun to appreciate it. It was simple, yes but it was also moist, flavourful & oh so moreish. I was converted! As with most eats from my travels & wanders, I obviously wanted to recreate this deliciousness whilst putting my own spin on it. Many attempts later, I think I landed on my perfect version.
Like much of the amazing dishes that we all know & love today, this one was born out of pure accident. I quite literally had a crop of chillies from the garden that I had no idea what to do with… naturally I chucked them in a bread, it just so happens that this bread was a cornbread. Thus a legend was born, well, a recipe that I return to every summer at least. Chillies add a fresh, lively flavour to an otherwise simple dough, each bite packing its own little chilli kick.
- 280g polenta
- 85g plain flour
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 large egg
- 150ml whole milk
- 425ml yogurt
- 2-3 meduim chillies (or 1 tbsp dried chilli flakes, alternatively try a handful of chopped spring onions if you’re not a fan of heat)
- Grease & line a 23cm square baking tin with baking parchment
- Finely chop the chillies, removing the seeds if you prefer
- In a large bowl combine the polenta, flour & bicarbonate of soda
- In a jug, whisk together the egg, milk & yogurt until thoroughly combined
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients & pour the milk mixture into it
- Lightly fold the two together (try not to over mix) until there are no more pockets of dry flour
- Add the chopped chillies to the bowl & fold these through
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin & bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown on top & the bread springs back when gently prodded
- Leave the bread to cool in its tin for 10 minutes before removing & placing on a cooling rack until cold
- Once cooled, use a sharp knife to cut into bitesized squares or wedges