What to do with a lurking packet of polenta

Hello and welcome to all about food. Time for cake I think…

Hello and welcome to all about food. Time for cake I think…

Ask gingergirl

Hello gingergirl,

I have a pack of polenta lurking at the back of my larder and I don’t know what to do with it! I’m all for trying something new so I was wondering if you had any recipe suggestions.

Best Regards,

Maura, Ballylanders.

Hello Maura,

I’m forever picking up unusual ingredients to play about with; in fact I cannot pass any specialised food shops or deli without nipping in for a quick look around.

Polenta (also known as fine cornmeal) is an Italian staple ingredient associated with Northern Italy. It is made by grinding corn to make a flour, is usually a rich yellow colour and has a slightly sweet flavour. Over the last ten years polenta has acquired a fashionable status, popping up on menus everywhere.

Polenta can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes; soft, creamy polenta is often served with butter or cheese and used instead of pasta, rice or potatoes. Polenta can be left to set then layered with parmesan and grilled or baked or it can be used in baking. This orange polenta cake is a firm favourite, for an added treat serve warm with good vanilla ice cream.

Orange Polenta Cake

250g of butter

250g of caster sugar

4 large eggs

140g of polenta

200g of plain flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

The zest and juice of 2 oranges (less 100ml juice for the glaze)

For the orange glaze:

100ml of orange juice

100g of caster sugar

Pre heat your oven to 160Cºc. Line the base and sides of a round 23cm cake tin with baking parchment. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly. Once the mixture is combined, add all the dry ingredients and the zest and juice, keeping aside 100ml for the glaze.

Pour the mix into the tin and spread evenly, bake for approximately 45 minutes or until baked through – to test, put a skewer into the centre of the cake until it comes out clean. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

To make the glaze, put the juice and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for five minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Drizzle the orange glaze over the top of the warm cake.

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email: helen@gingergirl.ie

Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

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