Lia’s Savoury Vegetable Polenta Cake
Serves: 8 (makes 1 round 23cm cake or 16 muffins)
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 15 mins
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 small-medium courgettes (or 1 aubergine)
225g cherry or mini plum tomatoes
1 small bunch fresh basil, including stems (around 30g)
1 small courgette, coarsely grated (for the dough)
150g grated cheese (Parmesan and cheddar mixed, or whatever you have available)
350g plain flour
250g cornmeal/polenta (coarse or medium)
4 teaspoons baking powder
up to 450ml milk
2 eggs, beaten
100g butter, melted
salt & pepper, to season
Veg Portions / Serving: 1
Recipe donated by Lia's Kitchen for Veg Power. Recipe by Lia Montselou. Food photography by Claire Wright | addsomeveg.com
Who doesn’t love melted cheese and cake! This vegetable polenta cake is a great way to eat your greens and snack whilst on the go fuelling your day. Try making this delightful Moorish dish or snack that introduces vegetables to your table as part of your breakfast or brunch. Slices of this savoury cake are delicious with hearty vegetable or lentil soups. They are the perfect accompaniment for poached, fried or scrambled eggs. Or a quick pick me up during the summer camping and festival season, and for those who love running around all day. You can use any mix of vegetable and herbs available, but make sure they are at least 500g when weighed for this recipe – it’s a great way of using up sadder looking veggies!
Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Prepare your vegetable mixture first to allow enough time to cool: fry the sliced onion in the oil with a pinch of salt, cover and caramelise on low heat for about 5-10 minutes whilst you prepare the rest.
Dice the 2 courgettes (or aubergine) and halve the cherry or plum tomatoes. Add the diced courgette to the pan with a pinch of salt. Fry for a couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes and basil, stir and cover until all ingredients soften, for up to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a cold bowl to cool down.
Coarsely grate the second courgette and cheese of your choice. Mix the flour, cornmeal and baking powder in a deep bowl. Add the milk (start with 200-250ml and add more if the batter looks too dry – see Notes), beaten eggs and cooled melted butter and mix well so that there are no lumps. Add your fried ingredients, raw courgette and cheese and mix well with a wooden spoon.
Pour into a lined baking tin and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. If you are making muffins reduce the cooking time to 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool and serve warm or cold.
- The batter should be moist but not too runny. Add your milk gradually. It is better to add more milk after you have added the cheese and vegetable to make it thinner.
- You can use spinach and other greens such as kale. Feel free to experiment with various herbs and ingredients. Use whatever you have in the fridge.
- You can fry mixed vegetables that are about to go out of date, cool down and place in the freezer to have your different savoury cake flavours ready in advance. Thaw overnight or in the microwave before making the cake.
Kids in the kitchen:
There are so many ways to get the kids to help you with these muffins. Start by asking them to help decide what you put in them. Then get them weighing the ingredients, cracking the eggs, measuring the milk, grating the cheese and mixing everything together.
Jason Leonard OBE
Charlotte Radcliffe RNutr