Mexican spicy polenta and corn cakes

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I think there is a perception that Mexican food is on the whole quite humble and not refined. This is a delicate, elegant dish that could make a small starter or larger main. This is another one inspired by The Gate Restaurant – a trip to a good veggie restaurant always fires up my imagination. These polenta and corn cakes are really flavourful, crispy and went fabulously with my black bean salsa, chipotle infused sweet potatoes and shallots, and a good dose of avocado and coriander mayonnaise.

We also found the left over corn cakes made wonderful crispy polenta fries that we served with a salad the next day.

Mexican Polenta Corn Cakes (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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serves 4

  • 100g quick cook polenta
  • 400ml water
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tin of sweetcorn
  • 1/2-1 red chilli, finely sliced (I left it out of the children’s half as our chillies were hot hot HOT)
  • Salt

– Bring the water to the boil
– Pour in the polenta in a fine stream, then whisk over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until the polenta has thickened and no longer sticks to the side of the pan but forms a large ball around the whisk
– Stir in the sweetcorn and thyme and salt to taste. As its essentially very bland you may need to add more than you’d think
– Pour onto a flat baking tray that has been lined with cling film
– Cover the top with more cling film and form into an even square or rectangle
– Place in the fridge to firm up, at least 30 mins
– Cut into desired shapes – squares, circles or fries work well
– Pan fry til golden, then transfer to a medium oven for 10 minutes to completely warm through
– Serve with the black bean salsa, roasted sweet potatoes and this wonderful avocado mayonnaise for a veritable mexican feast

Avocado and Coriander Mayonnaise (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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  • 1 avocado
  • Juice of 1 lime (use less for a non-Mexican mayonnaise)
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsps sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 small handful coriander, chopped

– Whiz together the avocado, lime and vinegar in a food processor.

– Season.

– Add the other ingredients and whiz until smooth.

– Taste and adjust the seasoning.

– Add a little more sunflower oil if too thick.

– Keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days