Monday, November 28, 2011

The Start of The Holiday Season: Holiday Recipe #1: Festive Cornbread

As usual, we celebrated Thanksgiving a little late this year. It isn't a national holiday in the Netherlands and no one has the day off, so it's always better to postpone it a day or two and celebrate it either on Friday or Saturday. This year it was celebrated on Friday. I didn't make it into a big affair and instead kept it very simple. Just my family, my best friend and my daughter's friend. We had the usual dinner which included one of the best turkeys I've ever had, thanks to Kingsalmarkt and plenty of butter. After all these years, I finally learned that the secret to an excellent turkey is butter, lots and lots of it, smeared over every inch and even stuffed up its cavity. 
The food was great and for us, it was certainly the start of the holiday season. There was Christmas music and after dinner we all snuggled up on the couch to watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
Since then, I have been very much inspired and my head is just bursting with all sorts of easy and delicious holiday recipes, which of course, I will be sharing with you during the coming weeks. There's nothing quite like this time of year to bring out the chefs in all of us. 
The first recipe I will be sharing with you is my festive cornbread. You'll love the sweet touch provided by a little mandarin zest and juice, while the cranberries add a burst of taste and color. Enjoy it for breakfast with a pat of butter or serve it as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea - or why not?- some mulled wine!

Festive Cornbread
makes 10-12 slices
100g all-purpose flour
150g polenta flour
1 tbsp baking powder

pinch of salt
1 large mandarin, rind and juice (you’ll need 50ml)
100g dried cranberries
100 ml full-fat yogurt
80ml full fat-milk
2 eggs
75g sugar
150 g melted butter, cooled

Preheat the oven to 200C and line a rectangular cake tin with baking paper. Combine the flour, polenta, baking powder and pinch of salt in a large bowl. Stir in the mandarin rind and the cranberries. In a jug, whisk the mandarin juice (if one mandarin isn’t enough, use another one), yogurt, milk, eggs, sugar and melted butter. Carefully stir the wet ingredients through the dry. Pour the batter in the prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin, on a wire rack, before cutting.

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