I have uncharacteristically poor time management when it comes to airport departures. Every. single. time. The morning of most recent departure for Melbourne was a case in point. I suddenly found myself unpacking everything, swapping bags and packing extra bags (still unsure quite how I accumulated a whole extra suitcase worth of stuff during my summer at home), visiting the bank, getting stuck in traffic attempting to buy sushi (for the trip, you know!), frantically copying down a few recipes to try, bubble wrapping extra plates for the trip back and generally being fairly disorganised. I’m not usually that way. Really, I’m a planner: a monthly plan, a weekly plan, calendars synced up on my phone and computer, an ongoing, ticked off to-do list. It just all repeatedly fails when it comes to packing.
Leaving for Cuba was another scramble. Photographs the previous day of a new pomegranate meringue recipe, decked out with strawberry sorbet and lashings of mascarpone cream, had not worked out. I was mostly packed – the sort where everything is within (or at least in the close vicinity) of your suitcase – so figured there was surely room for another try. Nope. It yielded yet more unsatisfactory photographs, a bit of a mess and a stressed rush around the house collecting chargers. By the time we were in the airport taxi, no one was positive that the bottom door of the house was locked, or certain the freezer had been extra firmly shut when that melty sorbet was abandoned. I mean, I was fairly sure. But when you start questioning it … well, you’d ideally like 100% sure when you’re not back for a month. That kind of doubt eats at you. We had a neighbour pop around in the end.
In future, the aim is to be completely, suitcase shut kind of packed the night before. Anyone have any other solutions?
The aforementioned mascarpone cream was the sort you could easily eat spoonfuls of, and would accompany any kind of dessert or cake. It’s almost like a cross between a tangy cream cheese frosting and whipped cream – making a fitting accompaniment for this not-too-sweet grilled cornbread with maple roast peaches.
I’ve actually never eaten cornbread in any capacity prior to this – corn tortillas, grilled street corn and even sweet corn ice cream was abundant in Mexico, but cornbread seems to be more of a southern US staple. Probably more commonly used in savoury dishes than sweet, but I’m sure some of you know much more about it than me! I’m normally more a sweet breakfast french toast kind of girl (hence the THREE separate french toast recipes on this blog), but this recipe in Nopi looked too golden, syrupy and decadent to pass over. It’s perfectly seasonal, with sweetcorn and juicy local peaches in abundance, and only requires a smidge more effort than regular french toast.
The cornbread itself is studded with toasted fresh sweet corn and finely ground polenta, then lightened with separately beaten egg whites folded through the batter. Cooled slices of bread are fried in a tablespoon of butter until crisp at the edges and the pale yellow slices are transformed with golden swirls. It’s really not like frying cake: the sugar is limited to a tablespoon of honey, and it’s balanced with milk and yogurt. Meanwhile, peaches are roasted for half an hour than broiled for charred edges, the skin wrinkling up and sinking into the maple cooking syrup. A dollop of mascarpone cream and a scatter of blueberries finishes it off. What could be better for a summer weekend brunch?
- You can make the cornbread the night before (maximising your sleep-in!), or the morning of.
- If you had extra cornbread the next day that was a little stale, you could try cooking it like french toast by dipping the slices of bread in a milk-egg mixture to overcome any dryness.
- 80g sweetcorn kernels (fresh or frozen - just over ½ a corn cob)
- 85g plain flour, sifted (2/3 cup)
- 75g instant polenta (1/2 cup)
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 25g unsalted butter, melted
- 70ml full fat milk (
- 70g greek yoghurt
- 3 eggs, yolks and white separated
- 1 tablespoon runny honey, plus extra for serving
- coarse sea salt and black pepper
- Extra maple syrup
- 4-5 large ripe peaches, halved and stoned
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- seeds of 1 vanilla bean or ½ teaspoon vanilla paste
- juice of a lime
- 80g mascarpone
- 130g creme fraiche
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Preheat the oven to 220°C. Grease and line a loaf tin (about 22cm x 9 cm - mine was a little bigger than this but still worked well)
- Place a small frypan over high heat and add the corn kernels. Char for 2 minutes, shaking the pan to prevent burning, until golden-brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together the melted butter, milk, yogurt, egg yolks, honey and roasted corn.
- Sift over the flour, polenta, baking powder and salt and fold in until just combined.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Gently fold a third of the egg whites at a time into the corn mix until just combined.
- Pour into the lined loaf tin and bake for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean and the top is golden. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin to a cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, make the maple roast peaches and mascarpone cream.
- When ready to serve, heat a large fry pan with a tablespoon of butter on medium heat. Slice the cornbread into thick slices. Fry the slices of cornbread until golden brown, flipping halfway through (about 2-3 minutes per side).
- Serve with the blueberries, maple cream and maple roast peaches. Drizzle with the reserved extra peach cooking syrup.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Place the peaches, cut side up, in a single layer in a baking dish.
- In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, vanilla and lemon juice. Pour over the peaches
- Roast peaches for 30 minutes or until very tender. If you wish to get charred edges, turn on your grill or broiler and place the dish on the top shelf of your oven. Watch carefully to ensure they don’t burn! This normally takes a couple of minutes, but depends on your oven.
- Transfer the peaches to a bowl, reserving the syrup separately for serving.
- Place the mascarpone and creme fraiche in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the maple syrup and vanilla and continue to whisk until just combined. Taste to adjust sugar if you wish. Place in the fridge until needed.