Aunty Elisabeth’s School of Cookery Lesson 2

This evening I had a wee chat with my niece from the other side of the planet, and promised her some more recipes. It’s only been three years since the last one, and she’s starting to feel peckish again.


She has graduated from university in the meantime, and is now living at home with her mum (my sister) again. This means her meals now need to not just be vegetarian, but also cater for some tricky food intolerances. I’m hoping this dish will be suitable for them to both enjoy.

Tomato and Spinach on Polenta
Tomatoes and spinach on polenta



  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 5 cups of cold water
  • 1 teaspoon stock powder
  • a dash or knob of fat (I used a knob of coconut oil)
  • oil for frying


  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can of chopped peeled tomatoes
  • 2 – 3 cups of chopped spinach or silver beet, or the same of baby spinach leaves
  • a dash of chilli powder (go easy on it though)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon oil



I had never made polenta before, so I had to do some googling when I decided I wanted to try it. I liked the instructions I found at Serious Eats  the best.

Pour the water in to a large saucepan. Add the cornmeal and stock powder. Stir regularly for about an hour, adding the knob/dash of fat at the end of this time, stirring it in.
Grease a slice tin, then pour the polenta into it. Cover with clingfilm, then leave to cool. After a bit, put it in the fridge. I left mine overnight.

When you’re ready to make your meal, heat a tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan.

Flip the polenta out on to a chopping board, and chop it into squares. You’ll have enough for four servings, but the sauce is for two, so put half of it back into the fridge for tomorrow.

Pan fry the squares of polenta over a medium-hot element. They’ll kind of go all melt-y like cheese, but this is what you want. After a few minutes, use a fish slice to flip it over. You’ll have a crisp layer, which might move off centre a bit, but don’t worry about that. Leave the other side to cook.


While the polenta is cooking, heat the oil in a sauté pan. Chop your garlic and sauté it for about a minute.

If you are using big spinach or silver beet leaves, put them in a colander and pour boiling water over them, then transfer to the pan. If you are using baby spinach leaves, add them a minute or so before serving.

Start adding the tomatoes. You’ll want to add about 1/3 of a cup at a time to start with, so the tomato flavour is intensified. Once you’ve added about half the can, you can add the rest in one go, and sprinkle in a little chilli powder at this point as well. Cook until the tomato has thickened up a bit. If you’re using baby spinach, now is the time to add the leaves, and let them wilt a bit. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Note: I used fresh tomatoes in the picture above, but I made this same recipe 2 nights ago with canned, so either will work. If you use fresh, just add all the tomatoes at the same time.


Use a fish slice to remove the polenta from the pan, and put three squares on each plate. Spoon over the sauce.  That’s it, nice and simple.




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