Like a bolt out of the blue the south east of England has found itself with glorious weather. I’ve gone from huddling in my duffle coat to shorts and sandals in what feels like mere moments. The last two days have been spent in the garden trying to get on top of the weeding (why is it that the moment the weather gets better the weeds thrive and the plants I actually try to grow wilt?) and motivate myself to do more than just laze about slathered in factor 25 suncream.
It’s a wake up call, time to up my game on the salad front. I’ve gone from eating all of the beouf I can in Paris to wanting nothing but salad leaves and tomatoes. I have to admit it couldn’t have been timed better as this body is still not quite summer ready and a few weeks of lighter eating won’t do me any harm at all.
However, I’m not quite ready to completely give up on the carbs. It’s as if my brain knows that this freak heat wave can’t last and therefore I must continue to find ways of sneaking covert cheese into my diet. Which is fine by me, especially when you combine it with rosemary and bake it into a summery cornbread.
This is a lighter variation of my winter recipe which uses stilton and caramalised onion. I associate cheddar with the quintessential British summer dish, the Ploughman’s, and so for me it ‘s the perfect cheese to combine with my favourite herb for a cornbread that can be served alongside salad leaves and roasted vegetables.
Cheddar and Rosemary Cornbread – Serves 4.
Do Ahead: Soak the cornmeal with the milk and lemon juice to give a lighter result.
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 9″x9″ pan with foil.
1 Tbsp olive oil
3oz fine cornmeal
juice of half a lemon
4oz plain flour
3/4 Tbsp baking powder
pinch baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled slightly
3oz strong cheddar, grated
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
Place the cornmeal in a bowl and add the milk and lemon juice. Whisk together and leave to stand for at an hour.
When you’re almost ready to start assembling, place the olive oil in the lined tin and put the tin into the preheated oven to warm the oil.
In a small bow, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl whisk the egg with the melted butter, add the cornmeal mixture and whisk to combine, then stir in the cheddar and rosemary. Finally, mix in the dry ingredients, making sure to combine them thoroughly.
Remove the tin from the oven and tilt to coat the foil with the oil, then pour in the batter. Level gently and then bake for 15-20 mins, until the top is just golden, and spring back to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving.
I like the cornbread best slightly warm, however it will bake ahead and last for two days in the fridge (although it rarely sticks around that long in our house!).