Sweet Corn & Tomato Relish with Cornbread
I am not entirely sure what distinguishes a relish from a chutney. There is probably a formal definition to be found somewhere... It is my vague feeling though that a relish should be more tangy, and maybe a little more crunchy too. So, for crunch, this relish includes celery and red capsicum, and for tang, the tart cherry tomatoes, as well of course, as a good splash of vinegar.
(Makes two of the 150ml-sized jars pictured)
- 25g butter
- 1 red onion – finely sliced
- 1 stick of celery – finely chopped
- 1 red chilli – de-seeded and finely chopped
- ½ a red small pepper (capsicum) – de-seeded and finely chopped
- 60g raw sugar
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 150g cherry tomatoes – diced
- 1 cob of corn
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 100ml white wine vinegar
To prepare the corn, place this into a saucepan of boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes, before draining. When cool enough to handle, strip the kernels from the cob using a sharp knife. Run the knife over the pile of kernels a couple of times, just to break the individual kernels apart from one another a little and create a varied texture.
Heat the butter in a small saucepan over a medium-low heat. Once melted, add the sliced onions and cook very slowly, stirring these around occasionally. By cooking slowly, we are attempting to caramelise the onions in their own sugar, so after around 15 minutes, they should have begun to colour, and have softened significantly. Now add the celery, and continue to cook slowly. Ten minutes or so later, add the chilli and the chopped red pepper (capsicum), cooking everything together for a further 5 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally to ensure that nothing is beginning to stick or burn.
When everything is looking soft and well-caramelised, add the sugar, and stir this through. Then add the turmeric, diced cherry tomatoes, corn kernels, salt, and the vinegar. Sir everything together, and simmer for 20-30minutes until you have a sweet sticky relish.
Sterilise your glass jars by placing these, along with their lids, in a large pot of cold water and bringing to the boil. The water, which should cover the jars, needs to be brought to a rolling boil. After 10 minutes boiling the jars will be sterilised and can be handled carefully using metal tongs or an oven glove.
Fill the jars to as high as possible with the relish before sealing tightly. The jars can be stored at room temperature, but once opened need to be refrigerated. Un-opened jars should last for up to three months, but once opened, consume the relish within 3 days.
Cornbread makes a great picnic food as it keeps very well, and should taste fresh for up to three days, (if you still have leftovers after this time, a boost in the microwave does wonders).
(Makes one medium-sized loaf)
- 350g self-raising flour
- 200g cornmeal
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 25g caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 100g butter, plus some extra for greasing
- 400ml milk
- 170g tinned corn (drained weight), so a 200g tin
Put the oven on to pre-heat to 200˚C, then prepare a loaf tin by greasing the sides rather generously with butter.
In a small saucepan, melt 100g of butter over a low heat, and then set aside to cool slightly.
Now set up two bowls – a really big one, and a slightly less big one. In the really big bowl, combine the dry ingredients – so, the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, caster sugar, and salt. Give these a quick stir to combine.
In the second bowl, prepare the wet ingredients. First, crack in the eggs, beating these together briefly with a whisk. Then, add in the honey, and the cooled melted butter.
Using a food processor, give the drained corn kernels a quick blitz – you don’t want to completely pulverize them, just partially, so that there are no whole kernels left, but the mixture is still a bit chunky. Depending on your food processor, this should take around 10-15 seconds. Once blitzed, add to the wet ingredients bowl, along with the milk. Give everything a good stir together.
Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix to combine. Be gentle at this point, as over-mixing is not good for the texture of the cornbread. Make sure to get right down to the bottom of the bowl though, as it’s always a danger with a batter like this that the top is well mixed, while the bottom is still floury. Once everything is combined, the batter should have a sponge cake-like consistency – thick, but soft and pourable. If your particular mix is feeling dry, add a little more milk to loosen.
Just before you are ready to bake, pop the loaf tin in the oven to heat. After about 5 minutes heating, remove this from the oven and quickly pour in the batter while the melted butter is still very hot. Expect a satisfying little sizzle at this point. Place the tin back in the oven and cook for 35 minutes, rotating the tin at the timing mid-point if your oven tends to heat unevenly. The bread is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack before turning out on to a tray. The crumbly cake-like texture of this bread is what is nice about it, but it also means you may need to take a little extra care in cutting. I would suggest using a serrated knife carefully in the usual sawing fashion until you are through the crust, but then cutting slowly straight down, to stop the loaf breaking.
Serve hot or at room temperature, with the relish. (For a yummy next-day lunch, try grilling a slice until almost toasted, then covering with some butter and a few slices of cheese, and popping back under the grill. Cornbread Rarebit!