End of the sunshine

September is one of my favourite months, and not just because it’s my birthday month!  The end of the summer berries, tomatoes and salad leaves segues into the first crisp apples, plump plums and sweet early roots. The salad spinner goes towards the back of the drawer, and the cast iron casserole move forward.

But while the sun is still shining late into the afternoon, I wanted to make the last of the summer veg into something a bit more substantial and warming on one of the first evenings I’ve reached for a hoody and dug out some woolly socks.
Two ears of sweetcorn were nestled in the veg hamper, and on my cycle home I remembered one of the recipes I really enjoyed in Nigella’s Christmas.  Who says a Christmas cookbook is just for Christmas?  Her spoonbread recipe called for some ingredients I didn’t have, and in true Nigella style, would feed an army, so I scaled down and replaced some ingredients to make an easy corn pudding.
Quick corn pudding
2 ears of corn
1 small onion
100g polenta
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 egg
300ml milk
60g cheddar, grated or broken into wee chunks if you can’t be bothered with even more washing up
Grated parmesan if you want even more cheese
Have a small well-buttered oven-proof dish by your side and preheat the oven to 200°C.
Finely slice the onion and get it frying in a saucepan. Remove the husks from the corn and slice off the kernels, trying not to send them flying across your kitchen….add them to the onion and toss around the pan for a few minutes.  Break the egg into the measuring jug of milk and fork through.  Add some salt and pepper, plus a pinch of chill flakes. Stir into the corn and onion, and tip in the polenta.  Drop in the cheesy chunks of cheddar or grated cheese, if you have more energy than I did tonight.  Tip the whole lot into the buttered dish and get it into the oven.  
While your pudding is baking, get on with whatever else you’re having it with.  
Check the dish after about 20 minutes by prodding the middle with a  spoon – I cooked mine for 30 minutes and it was probably a little bit too long as it was completely set.  I’d aim for a more wobbly centre as it will keep on cooking while it cools.  That said, every time I’ve walked past the cold dish on the kitchen counter this evening, I’ve snaffled another spoonful, so it’s not like it being more firmly set tastes bad!
I fancied more cheese so grated some parmesan on top and popped it under the grill for a couple of minutes to brown, but you can put the extra cheese on before it goes in the oven and save a bit of hassle.
With a couple of pork and leek sausages and some steamed cabbage, it was a warming Friday night supper, perfect for munching on the sofa while I caught up with Australian Masterchef.
Donna’s dinner, done.

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