Recipes from food stylist Nicolas Ghirlando: Fish fingers to Friday nights.

Corn and bread

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30 days hath September, and each is a waste of time. What is its point? Nothing more than a doorway to pass from summer to autumn. It is a nothing month, back to school, no holidays, no season. A pause before Hallowe’en and bonfire night.

September is not quite autumn, the dregs of summer. Not yet the crisp blue skies and golden-orange leaves. There is the promise of conkers to come, but mainly the ground is a sludgy brown.

So really, the only thing for it is to hole up at home, light some candles and the fire and wait under the duvet until October. That’s how it is in London anyway. I’m sure it’s beautiful in Vermont.

And with that to consider, here is some comforting cornbread to sustain you through the bleakness. I’ve added cherry tomatoes, olives and oregano to this one to give a little hint of Italy. The bread is quite dense and chewy, so is best served with something creamy or saucy. It would be an absolutely perfect match with meatballs in tomato sauce. I had it with slices of ham, soft cheese and some more roasted tomatoes. For the children, I trashily fried slices in butter until the edges were crisp and poured over baked beans and melting cheese. That was a win.

Ingredients
350g fine cornmeal
4g Maldon salt
315ml milk
2 eggs
70g cherry tomatoes, halved
1tsp ground turmeric
1tbsp dried oregano
A pinch of chilli flakes
5 black kalamata olives, torn (you could easily double this if you like)
30ml olive oil
100ml buttermilk (or natural yoghurt)
1tsp baking powder

Method
Heat the oven to 180c.
Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl until you have a smooth batter.
Leave to rest for about five minutes then pour into a cast iron skillet or pan and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until set fairly firm.
Leave to cool for a few minutes and serve.

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