Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Daring Cooks August 2012: Cornmeal

Rachael of pizzarossa was our August 2012 Daring Cook hostess and she challenged us to broaden our knowledge of cornmeal! Rachael provided us with some amazing recipes and encouraged us to hunt down other cornmeal recipes that we’d never tried before – opening our eyes to literally 100s of cuisines and 1000s of new-to-us recipes!

So apparently the only kind of cornmeal you can find a in a Supermarket in east London is polenta, and even that wasn't easy to find! But this challenge, challenged me to use it in a new way. My new way was as a batter for the fish in fish and chips. I know you were all expecting Polenta Chips but no, I made batter! Now as we all know I am losing weight, and it appears that polenta, so long as you don't add tonnes of milk and butter is fairly healthy and makes a healthy fish and chips! It worked, it actually made a really nice batter, I mean it's not exactly a delicious crispy beer batter but it's not bad!

I also made a more standard cheesy polenta mash to accompany steak.

Polenta Fish and Chips (from www.weightwatchers.co.uk)
(Serves 4)
(8 WW ProPoints per serving)

cooking spray
200g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 in wedges
salt and pepper
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
100g polenta, plus 2 tbsp
120ml milk, skimmed
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
600g cod or haddock fillets

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6/200ºC/400ºF. Coat two large baking trays with cooking spray.

Place potatoes in a large bowl and add vinegar, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange them on one prepared baking tray. Transfer to oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine 100g polenta, beaten egg, milk, zest, herbs and a little more salt and pepper; mix well to make a thick batter. Dust fish with additional 2 tbsp polenta; add fish to batter and turn to coat both sides. Place fish on second prepared baking tray and spoon over any remaining batter, patting over fish to make an even coating.

Transfer to oven to bake with potatoes for a further 18-20 minutes, until potatoes and fish are fork tender and polenta batter just starts to crack.

The second recipe I made was Goat's Cheese Polenta Mash. I actually didn't like this. I'm not sure if I just put in too much goat's cheese or if goat's cheese just doesn't go with polenta but it was way too cheesy and old sock tasting!

Fillet Steak with Goat's Cheese Polenta Mash
(Serves 2)
(12 WW ProPoints per serving)

2 lean beef fillet steaks
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
cooking spray
400ml veg stock
100g dried polenta, quick cook
40g goat's cheese
salt and pepper

On a clean board between two sheets of greaseproof paper, bash each steak with a rolling pin until it is about 1 cm thick. Put the steaks in a shallow bowl and toss with the garlic, oregano and seasoning.

Heat a griddle pan or a non stick frying pan. Spray the steaks with the cooking spray and then cook in the griddle pan for about 1-2 mins on each side or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the heat and then leave to rest, covered, for 5 mins.

Meanwhile, put the stock in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the polenta and stir continuously for 1 min until thickened and cooked. Add in the goat's cheese and stir to combine. Divide the polenta between two plates and top with a steak. Serve.


  1. great job! Everything looks so tasty

  2. Nice job of the fish, and I am really surprised that the polenta with goat cheese did not turn out well. I think that would have been my favorite. I too am a WW I will be watching to see what you do with each of the Daring Challenges... Looking forward to seeing more!

  3. I love that description. My husband would probably use it for goat cheese too. A little bit goes a long way with some thing.

  4. The batter looks amazing, but I did have to LOL at the old socks :D