Letter from America and Cornbread Muffins

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Last week I received, well not a letter, but an e-mail from America. It came from my friend Lily who writes the eclectic Lily’s Blog. I first met Lily through her blog, and what I love about it  is that very eclecticism – you never know what you will read there, but you are sure to come away having learned something new.

At present Lily is in Minneapolis on an extended stay as her son undergoes surgery. It has been terrific to read her observations of her new life in the US. I particularly relished her story of a roadtrip she took earlier this month and the stunning images of autumn beauty she took along the way (check them out  and also her images of the local downtown market are well worth looking at too).

Lily and I have had many interesting discussions over the past year on what makes a good blog  and I’ve always found great inspiration in her posts.  A combination of things have meant that I’ve fallen out of the habit of blogging here (and it is a habit – if you want to be a good blogger, you have to blog consistently).  Lily reminded me that I’ve been neglecting my blog and so it’s time I did something about it.

Inspired by Lily’s American sojourn, I want to write today about cornbread. Native Americans were using ground corn for cooking long before European explorers arrived in the New World. Cornbread is a popular item in “soul food” enjoyed for its texture and scent. Last year when I was visiting the States, I fell in love with Whole Foods blueberry cornbread and brought back a packet of their cornmeal to try making it myself. 

I’ve tried out many cornbread recipes and the one below is my healthiest yet – free of fat or sugar. This is the most basic recipe, which I tweak each time according to what I have in my cupboard or fridge. Blueberries are my favourite addition,  but I’ve also  experimented with grated sweet potato (deliciously sweet), lemon and orange rind. You can also make savoury cornbread muffins, which is next on my to-do list. 

Cornbread Muffins

Ingredients

This recipe makes 12 muffins

1 C. cornmeal
1 C. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
3/4 C. lowfat buttermilk
1/4 C. clover honey or agave syrup
2 Tbsp. olive or sunflower oil

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 C and lightly grease a muffin pan.

2. Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to mix evenly, then create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.

3. Add the eggs, buttermilk, honey or syrup and olive or sunflower oil to the middle of the mixing bowl. Whisk to combine, then incorporate the dry ingredients from the sides of the bowl, whisking just until evenly mixed.

4. Place the batter in the muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.

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