Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Corn Bread, Avocado, Summer Salad

Rolling up the driveway and peering at my garden through the car window after four weeks of absence filled me with apprehension. The black radishes I'd planted just before my departure had sky-rocketed and become a huge, impenetrable hedge. The purple podded peas were leaning precariously to one side, threatening to topple their support and smothering any rainbow chard that got in their way. Giant red mustard seemed desperate to flower, their leaves dotted with dull yellow spots. Beneath it all, dreaded onion weed had popped up everywhere and rambling nasturtiums had taken over once more.
Six weeks and buckets of sweat later, a new bed has been prepared and little Pasilla Bajio chilli seedlings have been planted out. Zebra tomatoes are now waist-high and about to bloom at any moment. Red Aztec corn are sprouting underneath the peach tree which, at this present moment is covered in recycled envelopes and paper bags. The old compost was spread over the garden to provide all the growing plants with extra nutrients and the new compost gets turned diligently with my super sturdy, super awesome Digadoo fork which I bought online after testing out their unbreakable hand trowel at the Gardening Australia Expo earlier in the year.

Along with the pruning and the weeding, the perpetual sowing and expanding, it feels extraordinarily satisfying to create a meal from what most people would see as nothing. An avocado, some maize flour, a few basic pantry items, sharp scissors and an open mind were all the ingredients I needed to make this simple Summer-y dish.

Corn Bread
165 g flour
140 g maize flour
12 g baking powder
5 g sea salt flakes
4 eggs
306 g milk
15 g light agave syrup
100 g unsalted butter, melted
Lightly brush a shallow 8" x 12" (20 x 30 cm) tin with a little melted butter.
Sift flour, maize flour, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, lightly whisk eggs, milk and agave syrup.
Pour over flour and whisk to incorporate.
Add remaining melted butter and whisk.
Pour batter into the greased tin and bake at 180ºC for 25 minutes or until golden.
Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing.

130 g avocado, flesh only
18 g verjuice
Puree the avocado with verjuice.
Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate.

Salad Dressing
7 g garlic
16 g extra virgin olive oil
1 g light agave syrup
17 g verjuice
2 g sea salt flakes
Slice the garlic and let it steep in olive oil for an hour.
Whisk agave syrup, verjuice and salt in a small bowl.
Add olive oil and whisk to combine.
Discard garlic slices.

Summer Salad
5 g parsley, leaves only
4 g chervil, leaves only
2 g mint, leaves only
2 g nasturtium leaves
2 g nasturtium petals
1 g bronze fennel fronds
1 g giant red mustard flowers
20 g walnuts, toasted
Mix all ingredients and salad dressing together with light hands. 


  1. Excellent! I had my first taste of cornbread last month and really loved it but was missing the recipe. Can't wait to try this one. The summer salad sounds lovely.

  2. this was my first attempt at corn bread. i deviated quite a bit from the original recipe but it turned out nicely. i think it's tastier with the agave syrup added.

  3. Hi Cathy! Neat! I clicked on your salad from one of the photo sites, b/c I saw a nasturtium leaf (smile). I just sprouted some nasturtiums in my garden, so I was like 'hey, I know what that is!'. I will remember this salad;)

  4. I love that you've made something so pretty to eat. Personally I find cornbread a little sweet so I'd substitute polenta but love everything else! :D

  5. yum, I've just come across your blog and this looks delicious - your photos are lovely! Can't wait to read more (and bake this cornbread!)


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