If you love Cheese Scones, then you’ll love this Cheesy Red Onion Pepper Cornbread. Like Scones and Irish Soda Bread, Cornbread is a fast bread that’s quick and easy to make since it doesn’t rely on yeast to rise over time. So it’s handy to have up your woolly sleeve when you’re snowed in, or just for a nourishing, homemade snack or supper at little notice.
You may remember seeing photos of the snow hitting Paris recently. As Antoine luckily avoided it being abroad on business and the girls and I were magically snowed in with no school, us mice turned to more British-style lunches with hot, nourishing bowls of soup (such as pumpkin & leek, sweetcorn & pepper, rocket soups) and something rather special to go with it.
I quickly discovered that a walk to our local boulangerie was pretty precarious; with the streets un-gritted and discovering my boots were needing new soles with proper grips, it was preferable to stay in slippers.
So, rather than slip about like some mad woman in the search of a good French baguette, I turned to my roots and made a few batches of my favourite recipe for cheese scones with spring onion & rosemary – even cheating (why does the snow make me lazy?)! I made just one big ball, flattened it slightly and gently criss-crossed it with a knife before putting it in the oven. It didn’t look perfect but the result was fabulous!
Cheesy Red Onion Pepper Cornbread
After trying a delicious Cheesy Jalapeno Soda Bread from Camilla at FabFood4All (I love how she uses beer instead of buttermilk), and with cornmeal about to reach its sell-by-date in the pantry, I was inspired to turn to a more savoury version of cornbread, adding cheese, onions and red peppers.
For traditional American cornbread lovers, please don’t be offended that I have omitted any sugar or honey from the recipe. After experimenting and playing around with various versions, the girls have given the thumbs up to this final savoury version – it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s healthy, delicious – and colourful too. Moreover, as I don’t have a traditional skillet to cook it in, I just used a cake pan and it slipped out so easily.
The additions of salt (or fleur de sel) and fresh rosemary or thyme (I saved from the garden!) when serving, just add that extra delicious touch. For the cheese, you could use a good, mature cheddar or French Comté – but here I grated in matured Mimoulette cheese, which has much less fat and just as sharp on the taste.
If you love things a little spicy, then sprinkle on some smoked paprika to the vegetables before baking.
- 150 g (5.5oz) cornmeal
- 100 g (3.5oz) plain flour all-purpose
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp salt fleur de sel
- 1 tbsp rosemary or thyme finely chopped
- 100 g (3.5oz) comté, mimoulette or cheddar cheese grated
- 1 egg organic
- 340 ml (12oz) buttermilk* (or milk with 2 tbsp lemon juice) SEE NOTES
- 1 red onion finely sliced
- 1 red pepper roughly chopped
- 1 cob fresh corn kernels (or small tin sweetcorn)
- 1 tsp salt (fleur de sel) for sprinkling before serving
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika optional
Prepare the topping: fry the red onion and pepper in one tablespoon of the olive oil for about 10 minutes over a medium heat until translucent (not browned). Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6.
Prepare the batter: in a large mixing bowl sift in the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, grated cheese and rosemary. Using a large spoon, mix in the egg and buttermilk until smooth.
Oil a 24cm cake tin with the other tablespoon of olive oil and pour in the batter. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove from the oven, top with the onion and pepper mix, sweetcorn and (if using) the smoked paprika and return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.
Leave to cool slightly in the tin then remove and enjoy while still warm.
* If you don't have buttermilk, use full fat normal milk, add 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice and leave to rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes then use as buttermilk.
Nutritional Information: Per 170g serving (serves 6): 262 Calories, 11g protein, 8g lipids, 37g glucides.
Delicious served with sweetcorn and red pepper soup.
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