Good morning and happy Monday! How was your weekend? Here in London, we dusted off the sunglasses and spent the Saturday walking around Trafalgar Square. As always, that part of town was packed with tourists, but the protestors scattered around also reminded me that Sunday was International Women’s Day.
In the spirit of celebrating achievements made by women, I am sharing a Cheddar Cornbread with Chile Jam recipe today inspired by Shelagh Ryan, a successful female entrepreneur who owns one of the tastiest cafes in London. Shelagh is originally from Australia, but she moved to London seven years ago to open Lantana Cafe.
Lantana Cafe has won many awards since opening, including TimeOut Best Cafe, TimeOut Best Breakfast and Brunch, Gourmet Traveller London’s Best Restaurants. I’m lucky enough to live about a five minute walk from one of their branches too, so from first hand experience – it’s delicious!
I was a bit skeptical about this Cheddar Cornbread with Chile Jam initially because I can’t handle the heat very well. The recipe calls for chiles in both the cornbread and the jam. But last summer, my chile plants took off, producing a bumper crop of chiles. To date, I still have about a hundred chiles frozen in my freezer. I’m banking on my chile plants coming out of hibernation soon, so it’s become a priority to finish off last year’s supply. If you have any recipes to help me use up the stashed chiles, please share :)
Until then, I’ll leave you with this recipe for Cheddar Cornbread with Chile Jam. If you’re interested in learning more about the Lantana Cafe cookbook, I wrote a cookbook review when it first published. The cookbook is filled with recipes that highlight interesting flavor combinations, such as this recipe for Cheddar Cornbread with Chile Jam.
Cheddar Cornbread with Chile Jam
Chile Jam (this makes more than enough, so you can scale down and make half of this recipe)
- 3 1/3 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 6 garlic cloves - finely chopped
- 6 red chiles - finely chopped (deseed the chiles for a less spicy jam)
- 1 2/3 cups white wine vinegar
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter - melted
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1 medium egg - lightly beaten
- 1 1/3 cups cornmeal or quick cook polenta
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 cups grated Cheddar cheese
- 3 chiles - finely chopped (deseed the chiles for a less spicy cornbread)
- butter - to serve
Tomato Chile Jam
Peel the tomatoes. To do so, cut a cross in the base of each tomato and place them in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water and set aside for 5 minutes. Drain the water, and peel off the skin. The skin should come off easily, and if not, soak in boiling water for another 5 minutes.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and place in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the remaining ingredients into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, and while still hot, spoon the jam into sterilized glass jars. Seal the jars and let cool.
Line a 2-lb (9 inch x 5 inch) loaf pan with parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C.
In a large bowl, mix together the melted butter, buttermilk, milk, egg and cornmeal. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, in a separate medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.
When the cornmeal mixture is done resting, add the Cheddar cheese and chiles into the cornmeal mixture and mix until just combined.
Add in the flour mixture and gently mix until just combined. It will form a thick dough, and you may need your hands to finish mixing in the flour.
Transfer the dough into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Slice the cornbread loaf into 8 thick slices, and lightly grill each slice on a grill pan or skillet until golden brown.
Serve with the Chile Jam.
Both the Chile Jam and the Cheddar Cornbread can be made in advance. The Chile Jam can be canned and stored unopened in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months or in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Once opened, store in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks. The Cheddar Cornbread can be baked one day in advance, and sliced and grilled only when it is ready to be served.
Recipe adapted from Cafe Kitchen by Shelagh Ryan