The Very Best Cornbread*

*according to my friend Harris

Well, I'm a few days late in posting this, but our Anzac Day Thanksgiving was a hit! We had a lovely long afternoon with some friends and a couple of their Littles. Nelle and Sophie entertained themselves together for ages, which meant the adults could relax and enjoy some amazing homebrews by Eric on the deck. Aside from a few mishaps: occasional bumps on the head for toddler bed-jumpers and our dog giving herself a tummyache and our BBQ burning down, all was good. (We do not have good luck with BBQs!)

We set up tables outside in the mottled shade of the tree and ate till we felt like we might explode. And isn't that the measure of a successful Thanksgiving?

Our menu was a mix of traditional American Thanksgiving + vegetarian goodies + Robbie's famous roast lamb with cumin and coriander. I'll try to share as many of the recipes as I can ... beginning with the cornbread, which is hereforth known as "The Very Best Cornbread," and uses our old thrifty favourite, polenta (corn meal).

The Very Best Cornbread

Serves 10 generously
adapted from Mollie Katzen's wonderful Still Life with Menu Cookbook

2 c polenta (corn meal)
1 c unbleached white flour
1 c wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 c raw sugar or honey or agave syrup
2 tsp baking soda
2 c milk + 1 tsp vinegar
(or 2 c milk that's hitting its use-by date and maybe even a little sourish)
2 eggs
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

*try to use organic ingredients - if you're new to organic, start by replacing the cheap ingredients (like polenta) and keep replacing things one by one as you need to buy new of something

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F. Grease 2 baking dishes or line with baking paper. (Mine were metal and square and about 20 cm or 8 in in diameter, but I've also used round glass dishes successfully too)

2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Make a well in the center of the dry mix and add all the wet ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined, making sure you get the egg yolks all mixed in. (Many people, Mollie Katzen included, would mix the wet stuff together first before adding it to the dry stuff, and you can if you want, but I hate washing dishes so the all-in-one-dish way is how I do it). But also try not to over-mix.

3. Pour your batter into the dishes, put them in the oven and bake for 20-30 min. When done the corn bread should be golden on top and a skewer inserted into the center should come out clean. Wait a few minutes before popping the cornbread out of the dishes, to minimise breakage.

4. Serve large squares or triangles with butter and honey (apricot jam or maple syrup are yummy too).

PS You can also make these into muffins, you'll probably get around a dozen from this recipe. Just reduce the cooking time to 15-20 min and keep an eye on them. Nelle loves them.

How much did this cost me?

All of the ingredients I used were organic, and most I had purchased bulk. The polenta and the wholemeal flour cost about $0.60 each, and the white flour cost about $.45. The milk was the most expensive part at $1.30, so if you used milk you were planning to throw out or marked down milk (or even maybe whey from making ricotta) that would save you. Mine was full cost this time. The oil probably cost about $1. The eggs were $0.50 each, and the sugar, baking soda, salt and vinegar were all negligible cost. So this large lot of corn bread cost me about $5, which to be honest is about the cost of one large muffin in this country (!!)

Amanda xx


  1. This is a must try. With such few ingredients this could not be simpler and by the looks of it this is gonna be wonderfully flavorful. Another tasty recipe for my family!


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