I love anything made with cornmeal.


Polenta in any shape or form –  fried, grilled, topped with Bolognese sauce,  smothered in parmesan cheese,  smothered in butter.  Polenta is a lovely, lovely comfort food.



Then there’s nursery food.  Johnny cake oozing Lyles Golden Syrup.  Lyles is the oldest syrup in the world.  This was a dessert treat my Mother made us in the winter.  I still occasionally buy Lyle’s syrup just for old times sake.

Today I made cornmeal muffins to accompany tonight’s dinner of smoking hot chili.  It’s that kind of day here in the lower mainland.  The wind has been roaring across the delta, the skies are gray and I felt the need to punch it up a little.  The best part about this easy recipe is that not only is it delicious, moist and tender, but it freezes beautifully.  It compliments the one-dish chili and turns supper into an occasion.


1 3/4 cups cornmeal

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cups buttermilk at room temperature

2 large eggs at room temperature

1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 425°F(230°C) .  Lightly great your muffin tins with a couple of drops of canola oil in each cup.  Be sure you cover all the surface.   You could also line the muffin cups with paper muffin cups but you wont get that wonderful brown crumb on your muffins.

In a large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and red pepper flakes.

In an another bowl whisk eggs then whisk in buttermilk and vegetable oil.  Mix well.

Make a well in the center of your flour mixture and pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture.  Stir just until blended.  Do not over-mix.


Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Fill the cups right up to the top.

Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Let the muffins sit for a few minutes before removing.  This few minutes of letting the muffins steam in their own heat facilitates their removal.


Serve while still piping hot with big bowlfuls of chili.

Virginia’s suggestions:

Leave the red pepper flakes out of this recipe.  Bake and serve with slathers of butter and home-made ruby-red strawberry preserves for breakfast.





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