Posts tagged polenta

Orange Polenta Cake (free-from)


ollowing on from chapter 1 – “Hoisin, Soy and Ginger Meatballs” (previous post) you’ll know that a heavy weekend of exercise required some calorie replacement. Cue dessert. I’m not a big cake eater but any cake that’s doused in syrup is one that I can get on board with.

I’ve made a few drizzle cakes and polenta loaves in the past but the use of whole oranges in this recipe really makes a difference and bumps this one up the leader board! It doesn’t require a huge amount more effort but means this cake is moist and packed with orange flavour. It also make an excellent dessert unlike a Victoria sponge style cake as you can serve it warm with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.


nintentionally this recipe is also dairy and gluten free! Which I think leads smoothly onto the news that I have now officially left the wine industry which has served me well for the past 4 years in London! But I’m more than excited to be entering a fresher, more creative and healthier career with Deliciously Ella. So next week starts the second chapter of my London life. Who knows what it has to hold and what recipes these blog posts might contain in the near future.

Adapated from a recipe by ‘John Torode’


  • 2 large oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 4 eggs
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 150g polenta
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 10g baking powder

Sticky Syrup

  • 3 oranges, juice (150ml juice)
  • 75g caster sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 23cm cake tin (springform recommended or loose bottomed)
  2. Place 1 orange and 1 lemon in a saucepan of water so they are completely submerged and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, remove the fruit from the pan and cut in half. Remove any unwanted seeds.
  4. Place in the bowl of a food processor and add the juice only of the other orange and lemon. Blend into a thick smooth paste.
  5. Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt until foaming. Add the sugar and beat again.
  6. Next add the orange paste, almonds, oil and combine well.
  7. Add the polenta to the baking powder then fold these dry ingredients into the wet.
  8. Pour into your lined baking tin and bake for about 50 minutes.
  9. While cooking, make the syrup. Heat the sugar and juice on a medium heat until beginning to bubble and turn glossy. Keep warm.
  10. When the cake is ready pour over the syrup liberally whilst still in the tin. I like to pierce the whole cake with a cocktail stick (especially at the edges and middle) to allow the syrup to seep into the cake better. This prevents it running off the top and collecting round the edges.
  11. Once the syrup has soaked in thoroughly, remove from the tin and turn out onto a serving plate

Serve warm with ice cream or at room temperature. The cake will keep well for about a week if stored well and become more moist!


Ultimate Cornbread


his recipe comes directly from Brad McDonald’s book ‘Deep South‘. After being lucky enough to dine in his awesome restaurant ‘The Lockhart’ before he packed up to open ‘Shotgun BBQ‘ I experienced the jaw dropping sights and tastes of his signature cornbread. Basted in thick honeyed butter bubbling at the sides in its case iron dish it was brought to the table disguised as a lemon drizzle!? And boy did it taste good. Its a bit simpler in flavour (and perhaps authenticity?) than my own signature version which you can find here which is full of sweetcorn for texture, chilli for spice and a bit of cheeky cheddar for tang. Whilst both have their own style, the winner here is the buttery honeyed topping. Slatered warm with salted butter this makes the perfect accompaniment to a hot bowl of soured cream drizzled chilli or simply a bucket of homemade fresh guacamole as I did here.

Having not yet tried Shotgun BBQ it will be my next fit spot…



I used a mini retro loaf tin to create these cute mini loaves perfect for individual portions. However I would also recommend using small loaf tin, one large one, or failing that a muffin tin! This recipe would make about 8 small muffins I think. But feel free to use any tin available – the depth will just mean the cooking tin will vary but if you stick to 25 minutes or so first starters and a knife inserted into the centre is clean then voila!


  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g polenta/cornmeal
  • 25g soft light brown sugar
  • 4g baking powder
  • Large pinch salt
  • 225ml milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 20g butter, melted
  • 30g lard
  • 50g unsalted butter & 50g runny honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and place a small knob of lard in each tin
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl
  3. Add the wet and mix well to combine
  4. Spoon into the muffin tins/loaf tin (allowing room for rise)
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden. A knife inserted into the middle should come out clean
  6. While they are baking, combine the honey and butter for the topping in a saucepan and melt to combine
  7. When the loaves are ready baste in the hot honey butter and then return to the oven for a few minutes
  8. After this time, remove from the oven and serve immediately, hot and buttery!

I served mine with guacamole  – see here but a chilli would also go down a treat.



Urfa Chilli Salmon, Polenta Chips, Smashed Avocado


ts been a long and draining week at work and with Saturday looming and the pressure to make the most of it I could think of nothing better than a casual blogging session in the kitchen to calm the stresses from the week and allow my mind to wonder onto the creative and less challenging. The biggest decision in this recipe was how big to cut the chips!? I went for big naturally.

On reflection, this dish is essentially Mexican fish and chips!? And its for the chilli lovers as its a spicy one so make sure you have a nice cooling beer to hand or at least some soured cream. My inspiration for this one was the cheeky jar of Ottolenghi’s ‘Urfa chilli flakes’ (see here) I received as a gift. What the ‘urfa’ are those you might ask!? Well they are a Turkish medium heat chilli with a smoky flavour. A lovely deep and purposeful taste great for barbecued meats, oily fish, roasted vegetables or chilli con carne. I used them here to coat some moist and succulent salmon fillets. Accompanied with some spicy crisp polenta chips and some smashed green avocado I felt like I bought a bit of Mexico to London. Hopefully one day I can bring a bit of London to Mexico!?

Serves 2

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 2 tsp urfa chilli flakes
  • 1 large avocado
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • Large bunch coriander, chopped
  • Large bunch basil, chopped
  • 1/2 green chilli, finely chopped
  • Juice 1/2 – 1 lime
  • 100g fast cook polenta
  • 500ml chicken stock or water
  • 1 heaped tsp chilli flakes
  • Knob butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sunflower oil

Jess - Urfa Salmon 3Jess - Polenta Chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Oil a bowl/small baking tray or something appropriate to hold your polenta in and allow it to set before cutting into chips.
  2. Start with the polenta. Bring the stock or water to the boil in a saucepan. Mix the polenta, chilli flakes and some salt and pepper in a bowl. In a gentle stream add this polenta to the stock in the saucepan, whisking all the time and turn the heat down to a medium low instantly. Whisk continuously for about 5-7 minutes until the polenta thickens and bubbles. Add the butter and mix in well.
  3. Pour the mixture into the oil lined tray spreading it out into an even layer of about 2inch thickness. Quickly chill by placing in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and then in the fridge and cooling completely until set.
  4. Meanwhile mix the urfa chilli flakes and some salt and pepper with a tablespoon of oil. Rub this on the salmon fillets and leave to marinade at room temperature.
  5. Next, cut the avocado into chunks and use a fork to mash into a chunky paste. Season and then add the spring onion, herbs, lime juice and combine into a chunky paste. Check the taste and add more lime if needed.
  6. When the polenta has set, turn it out onto a chopping board dusted with lots of excess polenta. Chop the set polenta (which should be the texture of halloumi!?) into chip sized chunks and roll in the excess polenta.
  7. Heat a frying pan on a medium high heat and fry the chips in a few tablespoons of sunflower oil until golden brown all over making sure they don’t stick to the pan or catch. Once crispy remove from the pan, scatter with flaky sea salt and set aside to keep warm.
  8. In the same pan cook the salmon on a high heat skin side down for about 1 minutes to crisp the skin. Turn to char the flesh side for about another minute or so before placing in the oven skin side down to finish cooking for no more than 5 minutes to ensure it remains succulent and just pink.
  9. To serve, top the chips with the salmon and spoon on a generous quenelle of avocado. Scatter with extra coriander and chilli flakes if you like

Have some beer or soured cream to hand…

Jess - Urfa Salmon 2


BBQ Chicken, Lime Slaw, Cheesy Polenta Chips



I love American food but it can be pretty big and diabetes inducing at times. But it can be done in a more refined way. Who doesn’t love the taste of spicy, sticky BBQ sauce lathered chicken. And as if not enough, a cooling, creamy and sharp tangy lime slaw is as welcome here as an ice cream in the Sahara.Tempted by spicy sweet potato chips I went for an alternative (like my demeanour) and a more health conscious unbeatable crunchy cheesy polenta chip. They were awesome. Girls, this is not date food mind (well first date food) I think there was more sauce on my face, hands, table and elbows (yes elbows…!) than on the chicken. Made to be devoured in the most unclassy fashion with a beer on a windy rainy October.

NOTE: This BBQ sauce recipe is very much like this one here. Use either!

Serves 2


  • 2 chicken legs, jointed into thigh and drumstick is you like
  • ½ tsp cumin seed
  • ½ tsp fennel seed
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • Zest and juice of ½ orange
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 75ml ketchup
  • Sprig of thyme and rosemary
  1. Crush the cumin and fennel together in a pestle and morta with the rosemary and thyme.
  2. Add to a bowl with the rest of the marinade ingredients and add the chicken.
  3. Leave in the fridge to marinade for about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the chicken in a dish and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. After this time, turn the heat up and remove the foil. Cook for about 10 more minutes until the skin and topping is crispy and the chicken is cook through. I popped mine under the grill at this point too to get a really sticky crispy coating.


Slaw (pretty much open to any crunchy raw vegetables. I used a mix of the below)

  • 1 red pepper, sliced thinly
  • Handful of sugar snap peas, sliced thinly
  • ½ small cabbage
  • 1 small carrot, sliced thinly, grated or julienned
  • Bunch mint, chopped
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper
  • Zest of 1 lime, juice of half
  1. Mix the vegetable together in a bowl
  2. Add the herbs and the lime zest
  3. Add the mayo, yoghurt some good seasoning and the lime juice together in a mug and stir well.
  4. Use as much as necessary to coat the vegetables.


Polenta Chips

  • 100g fast cook polenta, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 400ml (half water half milk)
  • ½ small chilli, chopped
  • Handful coriander, chopped
  • Large handful grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Oil/line a shallow soup bowl or baking tray that will hold the polenta and create about 2cm thickness.
  2. Heat the milk and water in a saucepan until it just comes to the simmer.
  3. Season the polenta well and add to the hot liquid in a thin stress stirring all the time. Keep stirring and it should begin to thicken very quickly and bubble. Keep stirring for a few minutes before adding the cheese, coriander and chilli. Keep stirring until it is thick like custard or porridge. Remove from the heat.
  4. Pour into the greased bowl.tray and smooth out to the thickness of 2cm. Chill quickly and leave to set for about 20 minutes.
  5. When cooled and set, turn onto a chopping board and cut into chip sized chunks. Dust with excess polenta
  6. Fry in a hot pan in a little oil until golden brown and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with flaky maldon salt.



Black pudding, Minted Pea Puree, Apple

I completely understand that black pudding is not for everyone’s palate or psychological well being. However I loose my reluctant understanding for the folk that have never sampled this fine delicacy but screw up their faces with such sincere disapproval as if instead I had announced my chosen career path as a stripper! (Case #1, my sister. And we’ll soon know if she’s actually been reading my blog if I hear her wining tones at this comment). If you’ve never tried black pudding then who knows- you could have wasted years rejecting something delicious so this recipe is a fine way to start.

I usually default away from making cliche recipes in my desperate need to experiment at any occasion that calls for food but sometimes I must admit you can’t beat the satisfaction and comfort of a classic. And, lets face it, they exist for a reason and black pudding and pea really is a classic example of two deliciously matched soul partners of the food world. Peas are sweet and fresh which is the perfect harmony for the fatty and rich black pudding. What could be more unfussy and simple than a pile of minted pea puree with a crispy fried slice of black pudding resting lazily on top….

  • A bowl of peas (a good handful per person)
  • Small bunch of mint, leaves picked
  • Knob of butter
  • Black pudding slices (1-2 slices per person)
  • 1 apple (serves 2 people)
  • Lemon juice
  1. Boil the peas for a few minutes and then drain.
  2. Place in a food processor with some generous seasoning the knob of butter and the mint leaves and blend to a puree adding a little warm stock or boiling water to loosen to the desired consistency. Alternatively, without a processor you could eat this as a coarse pea mash which would be equally as delicious.
  3. Cut your apple into matchsticks with a sharp knife and set aside in a bowl with a little squeeze of lemon juice to prevent it turning brown and a little seasoning.
  4. Heat a frying pan until hot and add a tiny drop of oil if you wish. Fry the black pudding for a few minutes on each side until crispy and cooked through.
  5. Serve on top of your warm pea puree and top with a handful of the crunchy apple matchsticks.
  6. Drizzle with a little oil and a scattering of mint leaves and serve.


If you’ve been converted to black pudding then here are a few more of my favourite delicious ingredients that go well with it:

  • Butternut squash
  • Blue cheese
  • Pear, apple
  • Roast pork, belly is good
  • Cauliflower
  • Fennel
  • Mushrooms
  • Thyme, rosemary
  • Prunes
  • Eggs (especially little fried quails eggs)
  • Chicken, rabbit, monkfish (stuffed with black pudding)
  • Oh and of course, a fry up…..


Black pudding stuffed chicken in a mushroom and red wine sauce, wet polenta and garlic kale (Serves 4)

  • 4 free range chicken thighs, skin on, bone removed
  • 4 chicken drumsticks.
  • 2-3 large thick slices of black pudding
  • A few rosemary sticks, leaves picked and chopped
  • Thyme, leave picked
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 large glass red wine
  • Stock – beef for a rich sauce, chicken for a lighter one
  • 1 handful of dried wild mushrooms
  • 150g quick cook polenta
  • 400ml milk
  • Knob of butter
  • 20g grated parmesan
  • Kale
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. To start, heat the milk and the same amount of water in a sauce pan and add a few peppercorns and a bay leaf. Just before it comes to the simmer remove from the heat and leave to infuse to use in the polenta later.
  2. Crumble the black pudding into a bowl and add the thyme. Mash until paste-like. Open up the chicken thighs and stuff a spoonful of the black pudding inside and roll up. You can secure these with the rosemary sticks if you wish. Season the skin well. Stuff this black pudding mix under the skin of the drumsticks too and season.
  3. Fry the red onion in a little oil until soft and then add the rosemary leaves. Add the red wine and simmer briefly before adding the mushrooms which will soften in the liquid and remove from the heat
  4. Place in a casserole dish and add the chicken pieces so they fit tightly. Add enough stock to come most of the way up the sides of the chicken so that the chicken can poach and roast gently as it cooks being careful not to pour it over the skin or you won’t get a crispy skin (we can’t have that!)
  5. Place in the oven and cook for about 30-40 minutes until the chicken is golden, cooked through and the sauce is bubbling away nicely.
  6. Meanwhile, tip the kale into boiling water for a matter of 30 seconds to wilt but drain it quickly while still bright green, soft and full or nutrients. Leave to drain the excess moisture. Heat a little oil in your frying pan from before and gently fry your garlic over a very low heat being careful not to burn it. Add the kale and a knob of butter and stir to combine. Set aside to keep warm.
  7. I suggest leaving the polenta until last minute as it won’t wait so see to the kale first and then the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked remove from the sauce and leave to rest in a warm place. The sauces thickness with vary depending on how much stock you added but to thicken (which is what I needed to do) mix a tbsp of butter and flour in a mug until you have a paste. Whisk this paste into the red wine sauce until smooth and the sauce will begin to thicken without being lumpy. Set aside to keep warm.
  8. Before you cook the polenta, make sure you’re ready to go -plates warming, guests hungry, wine open and aerating!
  9. Drain the milk from earlier and bring to the simmer. Whisk the polenta in a steady stream into the milk and stir continuously as it will thicken immediately. Let it bubble for a minute until smooth and creamy. Stir in the butter and cheese and some generous seasoning (it will need salt) and taste.
  10. Spoon into bowls immediately and top with a chicken thigh and drumstick each and a generous spoonful of the mushroom sauce.
  11. Sit aside some warm garlicky kale and serve on a wild and windy evening with a bold punchy glass of red.

WINE RECOMMENDATION: This weekend I tried Waitrose’s Vina Valdivieso Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from the Maipo Valley. It was bold and had lovely dark berry and fruit flavours and some menthol notes to it. Delicious with the rich black pudding.


Waitrose £9.99

Chilli and Cornbread




This is one of those rare suppers that is all the more appreciated when eaten in front of the TV on a chilly winters evening warming your lap- served in a warm bowl topped with cooling soured cream, freshly made guacamole and a hearty door-stop-wedge of cornbread smothered in butter or extra cheese- it hits the sport every time!

If you prefer, serve with rice instead of cornbread. I also highly advise you to make your own guacamole- I promise it is one of the easiest things to knock up and once you’ve made it, you’ll never buy a plastic pot of the gloppy stuff again. Regardless of taste- its quicker to make too!

Chilli (Serves 3-4)

  • 450g beef mince
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp each- ground cumin, coriander, chilli powder, chilli flakes
  • 300ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 heaped tsp marmite
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • To serve- soured cream, guacamole, cornbread or rice
  1. Heat a heavy based saucepan on the hob and add a splash of olive oil and soften the onion and red pepper for 10 minutes or so. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
  2. Add the mince, break up and brown well. Add the spices and cook out for a few minutes.
  3. Turn up the heat and add the wine, Worcestershire sauce and marmite and brink to a simmer.
  4. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine.
  5. Either simmer gently with a lid on, on the hob for 20 minutes or in an oven preheated to 180°C
  6. After this time, add the kidney beans and stir well. Remove the lid and cook for a further 30 minutes until the liquid has reduced and thickened. This can cook away slowly for as long as you like, in a low oven. If it gets dry, add a splash of water.


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 small red chilli, chopped finely
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • Small bunch coriander, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Mash up the avocado flesh with a fork in a small bowl,
  2. Stir in the chopped chilli, lime juice and zest and coriander and season. Serve at room temperature.

CornbreadSee here



Chocolate Orange Polenta Tarts



So I’m not going to lie, this was an experiment that I’ve been meaning to try since I wrote it down on my ‘to cook’ dissertation-style list/essay. It was successful but only after much cursing, trial and error and some kitchen instinct. So…tackle as you may but be prepared to get cross. I essentially used an orange polenta cookie recipe (see here) that I have previously made which is crumbly and delicious, as the ‘tart case’ instead of pastry. Sounds simple, you’re right. then fill with chocolate orange ganache….! I lined some mini greased tart tins with the mixture and baked. However, there was a tendency for it to melt into a big pool….I used the bottom of a ramekin to push the mixture down but baking beans and parchment may have been a good shout. The mixture type does have the tendency to crisp up and harden when it cools so keep hope.

 Makes 9 mini tarts.

  • 85g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 130g polenta
  • 50g plain flour
  • Zest 1 orange
  • 1 egg
  • 150ml cream
  • 150g Green & Blacks orange chocolate


    Firstly, read above for technical details before starting. Preheat the oven to 190°C and grease about 9 small tart cases

  2. Rub the butter into the polenta, flour and sugar until combined. Add the orange zest.
  3. Mix in the egg thoroughly and chill for 1 hour, covered, in the fridge.
  4. Now, use handfuls or the mixture to press and line the well-greased tart tins to form a nice case up the sides and over the base. The mixture is fairly greasy too so it shouldn’t stick on baking. I didn’t, but line with parchment and baking beans and bake from anywhere between 20-30 minutes (helpful, sorry)- the mixture may melt down the sides but press it up to create a case. Remove the beans once the edges have begun to turn light gold and crisp and bake for a few more minutes until the cases are set.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack until really cold.
  6. While cooling, make the ganache. Simply bring the cream to near boil in a pan and then stir in the chopped chocolate and mix until melted.
  7. Leave to cool a little before spooning generously into the tart cases. Cover and chill for about 4 hours until set.
  8. Enjoy with a large dollop of cleansing creme fraiche and a grimace if this was a pain to make. Like I said it was an experiment!

NOTE: If the polenta casing was not for you, feel free to use a normal shortcrust pastry, spiked with orange zest or add a little polenta for crispness. You can also add marmalade or an orange curd to the base before pouring over the ganache which would be interesting…!?


Quadruple Tapas

I know the concept behind tapas is to eat each dish as it is ready- picking at little morsels of delicious oily, salty and punchy delights to give all your taste buds a go on the flavour dodgems. A long evening should be spent savouring tapas with no where to be and sipping delicious wine in the summer sun. However, I decided to make a selection for dinner and couldn’t find the relaxing side of constantly running back and forth to the kitchen to fry a croquetas or bake some fresh bread or turn off one of 100 timers. So I made a selection all to be eaten and enjoyed together with some delicious wine. I won’t lie, my way took a strong organisation and a large accommodating hob but I managed it. In addition, I have a new found respect for tapas bars….the amount of work that goes into the prep to bring together all the aspects and flavours of just one small dish is huge,-all requiring those little details to make them perfect. I won’t be opening a tapas bar in the near future but what can be gained from this experiment is that 1) I LOVE tapas but will leave it to the experts and 2) I won’t be so horrified at the staggering prices of a few small tapas dish from now on as I venture out to dine thinking that ‘tapas is just a cheap meal right?’.



Croquetas (Makes about 9 large croquetas)

I first saw a recipe for these in a Jamie Oliver book which this recipe is based on but they are a common little tapas dish and various flavours and recipe derivatives can be found elsewhere. They are essentially a cheesy flavoured bechamel sauce that is cooled and set and rolled in breadcrumbs and fried so that the inside in a hot molten cheesy mixture hugged lovingly in a crispy coat. You can actually use anything to add flavour to the sauce such as different cheeses, smoked fish, anchovies, different herbs or spices. Go wild!

  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 75g plain flour ( and extra for coating)
  • 300ml milk
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 50g hard cheese- Cheddar/Manchego, grated finely
  • 3 slices of cooked smoked bacon/parma ham, chopped finely
  • Handful of chives, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  1. Melt the butter and the oil in a pan over a low heat until liquid. Spoon by spoon, incorporate the flour and stir in until you have a thick paste.
  2. Add the milk, splash by splash stirring in vigourously until smooth and lump free. Once all the milk is added, keep on the heat and keep mixing to prevent lumps but to really thicken the sauce.
  3. Once thick, remove from the heat and stir in the nutmeg, lots of seasoning, the bacon, cheese and finally the chives.
  4. Place into a chilled bowl and pop int he fridge until set. (NOTE: Mine was a little loose for moulding into croquetas so I popped it in the freezer about 30 mins before using to make it easier to handle)
  5. Get 3 plates and add the beaten egg, flour and breadcrumbs to each.
  6. Use a spoon to scoop and roll croquetas of your cooled mixture. Coat in first the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Continue you have done all and then cover and chill.
  7. Heat some oil in a pan, or use a deep fryer. When hot enough, fry the croquetas until golden and crisp on the outside. Make sure it is not too hot or the outside will colour before the inside is warm.
  8. Drain on kitchen paper and scatter with flaky salt and serve immediately.


Morcilla Broad Beans

This recipe is open to quantities so as long as there is a nice balance it will taste great. Don’t skimp on the morcilla however as it adds bags of flavour and depth and feel free to use black pudding which works just as well.

  • Morcilla, sliced
  • Broad beans, boiled and podded
  • Peas
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and gently fry the red onion until soft
  2. Add the morcilla/black pudding slices and fry until cooked on each side.
  3. Tip in the broad beans and peas and stir to combine, breaking up the morcilla as you stir to distribute evenly. Season and then serve.


Crisp Cod and Smoky Aioli

  • 2 cod fillets or any other firm fish
  • Plateful of polenta (seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Flour for coating
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 garlic clove, grated finely
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ lemon, zest
  • 1tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • About 250ml sunflower oil
  • Flat leaf parsley for garnish
  1. Begin with the polenta coated cod which benefits from some time resting once coated. Skin the fish fillets and cut the fillets into chunky strips cutting with the ‘grain’/flakes.
  2. Get 3 plates and place the beaten egg, flour and seasoned polenta onto each.
  3. Coat the fish fillets in the flour, egg and then a good coating of polenta and then place the fillets on a polenta coated plate while you do the rest. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours once done to allow the polenta to swell a bit and form a good crust.
  4. For the aioli, place the egg yolks, lemon and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and turn it on to blend together. With the motor running slowly and constantly add the oil in a thin stream to allow the yolks and oil to emulsify.
  5. As it starts to thicken, add the paprika and some good seasoning and have a taste. Continue to add as much oil as you like to obtain a thin/thicker texture.
  6. When ready to serve, fry the fillets in a little hot oil with a knob of butter for a few minutes on each side until cooked with a golden crust. Serve immediately garnished with parsley and dipped indulgently into the aioli.


This is now my new favourite way to enjoy chorizo, partly due to this sweet tangy glaze that coats it here. The sauce is wonderful when used a dipping sauce for the olive pittas or some qwilling bread to mop up the juices like an edible sponge.

  • 150g chorizo- raw or cooked
  • 1 ½ tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • Large sprig of rosemary
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  1. Cut the chorizo into chunky horizontal slices and fry in a hot pan (you can add a tiny drop of oil to get it going is needed).
  2. Peel and crush the garlic cloves coarsely with the back of a knife. If using cooking (raw) chorizo, make sure it is nearly cooked but if using cured chorizo, as it starts to colour and crisp add the garlic to the pan in the oily juices and fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add the picked rosemary leaves and fry for a few more minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the sherry vinegar and the honey and stir to coat the chorizo.
  5. Return to the heat and very gently simmer the sauce until a little more syrupy and thick but not too reduced. Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm while you do the rest of your dishes as this one will keep.
  6. Serve with the olive pittas or some fluffy bread dipped into the beautiful oily juices


Olive Pitta

  • See here for pittas recipe– Don’t add the nigella seeds but instead, add a good pinch of sweet smoked paprika.
  • Once the dough has risen, add in a small handful of both chopped black olives and sun dried tomatoes.


Amaretto Cake with Roasted Figs



This should really be called ‘booze cake with roasted fruits’ as really it is open to any of your favourite tipples and topped with any complementing fruit. In my recent craving to make a polenta cake and my mum’s imminent birthday, I ended up combining these two irresistible forces and making this amaretto soaked ‘pudding cake’. Courtesy of ‘Vogue Entertaining and Travel’ who’s magazines offer not only fantastic food porn photography but some great original recipes, I replaced masarala for amaretto and it was a huge success! There was also added relief as if you notice, it is in fact egg-less……but yes it sets and eats like a dream! Who’d have thought!?

Makes one large cake (Adapted from ‘Vogue Entertaining and Travel’)

  • 300g self raising flour
  • 110g polenta
  • 60g ground almonds
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125g butter, chopped
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 300g soured cream
  • 250ml amaretto (or masala or another booze)
  • 4 large figs
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease and line a 26cm spring form cake tin.
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the polenta, bicarb and almonds with a pinch of salt.
  3. Beat butter and caster sugar until fluffy and then stir in the soured cream by hand until just combined.
  4. Sift in the dry ingredients alteratively with the amaretto into the butter until just combined but don’t over-mix- it will be quick thick.
  5. Spoon into the tin, level and bake for about 50 minutes until cooked and then leave to cool. (Note: you may feel an urge to put your entire face into the cake and eat it-avoid)
  6. Once cool, top with sliced raw or roasted fresh fig halves, scatter with toasted almonds and dust with icing sugar.

Side Effects: Can cause over-consumption especially when eaten with homemade blackcurrant sorbet (see here)


Orange Polenta Biscuits

These will pleasingly fill any anorexic looking biscuit tin. Thanks once again to Jamie Oliver’s help……

  • 85g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 130g polenta
  • 50g plain flour
  • Zest of 1-2 oranges
  • 1 egg
  1. Rub the cubed butter into the flour, polenta and sugar
  2. Stir in the egg and orange zest
  3. Chill in the fridge for about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a baking tray with parchment. Take walnut sized pieces of dough, roll into balls and flatten slightly on the tray.
  5. Bake for about 6-8 minutes until crisp and tinged round the edges. Leave to cool before removing from the tray!