The first time I had polenta was when a chef that was working with my uncle made an amazing goats cheese polenta cake. Since then I've tried to make polenta myself but it usually fails! There was the time I tried to re-create the polenta cake at Christmas and it fell apart and the time I forced Simone to eat griddled polenta that tasted of nothing. So this week I decided to try some new things that might finally work!
Polenta Pizza Topped with Caramelised Onion, Leek, Pepper and Blue Cheese
I'm not going to lie, this recipe is a bit weird, but you can top it with anything you like and make it your own so it's worth a try. I adapted it from a old cook book my nan got from a charity shop.
1 red onion chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
50 ml water
1 leek chopped
50g self raising flour
1 tbsp mixed herbs (I use the herb and roasted garlic grinder from Asda)
pinch of salt
1/2 red pepper
50-100g vegetarian blue cheese
Start by making the caramelised onions, fry the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes and then add the sugar to caramelise. Then add the balsamic vinegar, water and leek and let it reduce. While it's reducing make the polenta batter by mixing the flour, polenta, salt and herbs then adding the egg and milk and whisking until smooth. Heat some oil in a large pan and add the polenta batter, spread around the pan to make the pizza base and cook for a few minutes until the polenta is set.
Then flip the base over (use a plate to slide it on to otherwise it might go horribly wrong!) then top with the onion and leek mixture, red pepper and crumbled blue cheese. Pop it under a hot grill until the cheese has melted and serve.
Spicy Griddled Polenta with Sweet Potato Wedges and Guacamole
The last time I made griddled polenta it was really bland. I thought it would benefit from some spice and extra flavour, so this recipe uses spicy cheese and sweet corn. I used the Avacado Lime Salsa from the Apres Mojo recpie in the Terre a Terre cook book again because it was so easy and tasty.
100g chili cheese (I used vegetarian chili gouda, but something like mexicana would be good)
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 large can of sweet corn
pinch of salt
2 large sweet potatoes chopped in to wedges
spicy seasoning (I used chili and garlic salt)
Start by boiling the water and stirring in the polenta, cook on a low heat for around 10 minutes stirring occasionally (be careful it can be explosive). Then add the cheese, sweet chili sauce, salt and sweet corn to the polenta and mix in well. Cover a rectangular tin with cling film and pour the polenta in, packing it tight. Cover the top with cling film, put a heavy weight like a book on top to flatten it and put in the fridge for an hour to set. Then heat the oven to 200 degrees and make guacamole (if making) and the sweet potato wedges by spraying with oil and covering with seasoning. Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes. When the polenta is ready spray the griddle pan with oil and griddled the polenta until it has nice char marks. Serve it up with the guacamole and wedges and enjoy!
Strawberry Polenta Cakes
This was my favourite out of all the recipes I tried, probably because it's cake. It had a really nice texture as well as being light a fluffy. The strawberry and lemon flavour is perfect for summer and can be found here on the BBC Good Food website.