Tag Archives: polenta

Lemon Polenta Olive Oil Cake

31 Jan

Lemons are everywhere here at the moment. I use lemons a lot in my cooking to brighten up soups, curries, salads and dips. Most of my dishes are finished of with a squeeze of lemon before serving. It just highlights all the other flavours and brings the dish to life.

I saw Nigella make a lemon polenta cake that looked delicious. Hers had quite a bit of butter in it so I thought I’d try to make it with olive oil instead. I have some amazing first press newly harvested local stuff to play with and I’m always looking for excuses to use it in anything.

You should always keep olive oil (or anything really) in glass bottles if you can. Plastic affects the chemical make up of things especially when heated.  Like you should never use cling film when microwaving things. Or drink water out of a plastic bottle that has been in the sun. Microwaves are nasty anyway. Ours broke a few years ago and we have never replaced it. I honestly don’t miss it at all.

Most recipes also use a mixture of polenta, plain flour and ground almonds. I wanted to make a gluten-free, dairy-free version so I tried it without the flour. It works…

Lemon Polenta Olive Oil Cake

Makes a 24cm/9 inch cake, serves 12. Dairy-free, gluten-free.

Adapted from A Meandering Mango

Prep time: 15 mins Cooking time: 45 mins

  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 160 gr (3/4 cup) brown sugar (or raw sugar)
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
  • 2 large lemons, zested & juiced
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 190 gr polenta (cornmeal)
  • 75 gr (1/2 cup) ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 150 C and oil a 24 cm loose bottomed cake tin.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until light and creamy (about 4 mins). Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, continuing to whisk until all the oil is combined. Whisk in the lemon zest and vanilla.

In another bowl, stir together the polenta, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Sieve this mixture over the eggs and sugar in 3 batches, alternating with the lemon juice, folding until just combined.

Pour into the oiled cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack.

Serve with a light dusting of icing sugar. You can also make a lemon syrup to drizzle over if you think it needs it. Heat up some lemon juice and icing sugar in a pan until the sugar dissolves. Use a cocktail stick or piece of dried spaghetti (authentic Italian version) to make holes all over the top of the cake. Pour the syrup slowly over the top of the cake letting the syrup sink in.

Buen Provecho!!

In my next post I will be making an exciting announcement about what I will be getting up to over the next month…

Stay Tuned!!

Zucchini Green Chilli Cornbread

4 Oct

Sorry it has taken me a few days to get around to posting this recipe but I went out for Sunday lunch to Santiago’s with my friend Stacey and it turned into one of those long lunches that last all day, you know the type, very nice it was too. And Monday is The Washer Up’s only day off so no blogging happens on a Monday.

One of the fields I walk past every morning is this large field of sweetcorn. It was ripe and ready to harvest at least a month ago but it has been left to dry out completely. Continue reading

Fried Green Tomatoes with Scotch Bonnet Hot Pepper Sauce

2 Aug

Sometimes things are just meant to be. Like this recipe. It came together because I was looking at all the big green beef tomatoes (tomate ensalada) that are yet to ripen when I was walking the dog.

I started thinking about “Fried Green Tomatoes” the film, which I’ve never seen and the dish, which I’ve never tried. I wasn’t even sure whether it was a special type of tomato that was always green or if it was just an unripe tomato. I googled it when I got home.

It turns out that they are just sliced unripe tomatoes that are breaded with cornmeal (polenta) and fried. They are usually served with a wedge of lemon and some hot pepper sauce. Hot pepper sauce? That is when it started to come together.

We have a huge scotch bonnet chilli pepper bush on our terrace which was given to us last year by our sister-in-law, Marie Elena, before she moved back to England. This year it has come back even stronger than last year and we have just started harvesting the first lot of red-hot round juicy chillis.

There are literally hundreds of them on there and more and more are turning from green to red every day. I’ve been researching Caribbean dishes that use scotch bonnet chillis and am formulating some recipes in my head that I will be trying and posting soon.

The thing is that these recipes only use one, or at the most, two of these chillis and am just about to have loads. I always freeze my chillis, to keep them fresh, and I just take one or two out as required but I needed to make some room in the freezer, it is full of chillis and figs at the moment.

So I decided to make a hot pepper sauce out of my scotch bonnets to go with the fried green tomatoes. That used up about twenty of them anyway. It is a hot, hot pepper sauce but it has a kind of fruitiness to it as well which is unusual but works perfectly with the tomatoes.

Beware, this sauce is addictive. You think it’s too hot but then you keep going back for more. The Washer Up loves it, but he is the biggest chilli head I know. He just put some on a cheese and tomato sandwich.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Scotch Bonnet Hot Pepper Sauce

For the hot pepper sauce:

Makes a bit less than 250 ml bottle. Vegan, gluten-free. From The Chilli King

  • about 20 scotch bonnet chillis (mine are quite small)
  • 100 ml red wine vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 100 ml water

Remove the stalks and any large membranes from the chillis and roughly chop. Blend/process for few seconds until finely chopped. Add this to a small pan with the vinegar and salt & bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5-10 minutes until softened.

When it starts to reduce and thicken slightly add the water and sugar, stir and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile sterilize your glass bottle by boiling it in water then drying out in a warm oven for 5 minutes.

Once cooled blend the sauce again until smooth and pour it through a funnel into the sterilised bottle, seal and leave to cool. Once opened keep sealed in the fridge, it should last for a few months.

For the tomatoes:

Serves 2. Vegetarian, gluten-free. Adapted from Tyler Florence

  • 2 large green (unripe) tomatoes
  • 100 gr (1/2 cup) polenta (cornmeal)
  • 75 gr (1/2 cup) arepa precooked corn flour (or plain flour)
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of paprika
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 75 ml greek yoghurt mixed with 75 ml milk (I used goat’s milk) or 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • salt & black pepper
  • 100 ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
  • lemon wedges, to serve
  • hot pepper sauce (see above)

Mix the polenta, arepa flour (or plain flour), cayenne, paprika and thyme in a bowl and season with salt & pepper. Mix the yoghurt and milk (or put the buttermilk) in a shallow dish and season with salt & pepper.

Cut the top of the core out of the tomatoes and then slice off the top and bottom. Cut each tomato into four 1cm or less slices. Dip the tomatoes in the yoghurt mixture then put them, one by one, in the polenta bowl. Toss the  bowl around to coat the tomatoes completely on both sides.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, fry the tomatoes for 3 -4 minutes per side until golden & crispy. Drain on paper towels and then serve, stacked on a plate with the lemon wedges and hot pepper sauce.

If the film is anywhere near as good as the dish then I need to download it soon. Enjoy!

Things That made Me Smile Today……

Beautiful red berries on a stick in the ground. I don’t know what they are but I bet they’re poisonous!

Pretty red bug probably eating my plants!

Christmas Carbicide and Boxing Day Bubble…

29 Dec

On Christmas Eve we walked up to these rocks….

Then the Washer Up made his amazing vegeatble sushi rolls stuffed with omelette, carrot, spring onion & spinach which we served with sushi ginger, wasabi paste & soy sauce… yum!

Followed by a spicy miso noodle broth with pak choi & shitake mushrooms..

And then we played cards..with the cat!

On Christmas morning we walked up to our favourite hilltop retreat and ate mince pies..

From there we could see this waterfall on the mountain over the other side of the valley and decided to walk there on Boxing day… more of that “adventure” later…!

Our Christmas Dinner was “Potatoes Four Ways” also known as “Christmas Carbicide!”..

This consisted of (clockwise from bottom right) Dauphinoise Potatoes, Potato Fondant, Roasted Garlic & Parmesan Mash & Polenta Encrusted Roast Potatoes. As you can imagine I have only just emerged from my carb induced coma.. The stuffing on top is Sage & Onion. I think my favourite was the Potato Fondant which is a disc of potato cooked slowly in butter & stock.  We served this with roasted shallots, peas & green beans with garlic & ground almonds..

This was all covered with “purple” gravy (don’t ask- it was red onion gravy but I blitzed it so it was purple!) nice…
We had red wine with dinner which was probably not a good idea, the Washer Up is not good on red wine…

So it was with a hangover on Boxing Day morning that we embarked on our trip to the faraway waterfall…. We parked at Barranco Blanco and took some pictures of the lovely waterfall there….

We couldn’t get down to the bottom because of all the water but you can see some more pictures I took there earlier in the year here.

We set off on the path around the valley and looked back at our favourite hilltop, where we walked to on Christmas day..

We passed another small waterfall on the mountain path before we went “off road”….

So, The Washer Up said it would only take us about 20 minutes off the path to reach the waterfall. Needless to say we ended up on a steep incline head height in thorn bushes with no idea how to get out! It was impossible to reach the waterfall through all the spikey bush but we got near enough to take this photo. There were three levels of waterfall..

It was pretty scary trying to find our way back to the path, but we haven’t given up. Next time we are going to go along the river bed at the bottom and see if we can reach it from that direction….

By the time we arrived back at home we had been out for about 3 1/2 hours so we were starving. What was in the fridge? Leftover potatoes and veg from our Christmas dinner. So it had to be Bubble & Squeak with a Fried Egg…

Put all of your leftover potatoes (mash & roasts) in to a bowl with the leftover veg and stuffing and mash with a potato masher. Shape into a ball and place a slice/chunk of goat’s cheese in the middle roll it up again to seal it and shape into patties.
Sprinkle some flour/breadcrumbs/polenta on a plate and lightly coat the patties to give it a nice crust. Fry in hot butter & olive oil over a medium high heat for about 5 minutes on each side (turn them over when browned). When they are nearly cooked crack two egs into the same pan and cook until just set.
Serve the Bubble & Squeak straight away topped with the fried egg (and some HP sauce!). The addition of the goat’s cheese is a Nigel Slater idea. I’ve never tried it before. It’s lovely when you cut into the Bubble & Squeak and the cheese oozes out. With that and the soft egg yolk …..heaven!!
Hope you enjoyed your Christmas too xx

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