Sticky sausages, cornbread muffins and corn-on-the-cob

Yes, more cornbread. I have been obsessed with cornbread ever since I was taken to a soul food restaurant in Harlem by my brother and his wife many years ago, where we had the most awesome food; yams, fried chicken, ribs, corn-on-the-cob and of course, the most delicious cornbread. It was the first time I’d eaten it and I ate LOADS, it was an amazing discovery for me!

Recently I’ve been wanting to eat more of this kind of food, I suppose in a subconscious effort to stop eating 99% italian food and try and get away from pasta for every meal. I decided to make some cornbread muffins (using a recipe from Nigella Bites) to go with the sausages I had in the fridge at the last minute; mostly because I was too lazy to dig up a root of potatoes, wash them and then do something with them by the time I’d got home. They were amazing though, sweet, dense and with a lovely, slightly grainy texture, all of which went really well with the sticky sausages. Best of all, the whole dinner was really quick and mostly low-effort, and made a nice midweek dinner for a hot day like today. My husband was slightly dubious about the muffins though, and did actually make the comment when I put the plate on the table, “hmmm, sausages and cupcakes”. But he ate them, so they must have been good!

For the sausages I just mixed together some honey, sesame oil (not very southern admittedly, but I can’t make sticky sausages without it, the nuttiness is incredible with sausages) and a squirt of barbecue sauce. If I’d had the time or the willpower I would have also made some barbecue beans with this!

Cornbread muffins

Makes 12 muffins

175g cornmeal (or polenta)

125g plain flour

45g caster sugar

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

250ml milk

1 egg

45g butter, melted & cooled

Sticky sausages

Enough for around 8 thin sausages

2 tablespoons runny honey

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon barbecue sauce



Preheat the oven to 200C.

For the cornbread, mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, then in a jug combine the wet ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry with a wooden spoon until just combined (the less you mix the lighter the muffins!).

Spoon the mixture into muffin cases and put into the oven. Bake for around 20 minutes until golden on top and cooked through.

Put the sausages onto a baking sheet lined with foil (I do not want to be scrubbing burnt honey off a baking tray after so ALWAYS use foil). Mix up the sticky coating and drizzle over the sausages, tossing everything together well so they’re all coated. Put them in the oven until cooked.

Meanwhile, heat the grill and cook the corn on the cob. I like mine really charred, as you can see! Or serve with barbecue beans.

Enjoy! It’s more fattening, but cornbread is really good spread with butter, especially when it’s still slightly warm…

Return of the barbecue beans: cornbread topping

Remember when I made this post about barbecue beans, I said I was going to serve them with a barbecue pork tenderloin and cornbread muffins? Well, I had planned to cook this for our friends who came to stay this weekend.

I couldn’t remember which Nigella book the cornbread muffin recipe was from (I hadn’t made them for literally YEARS), so I took a guess at Feast. I looked in the index for cornbread, and there was no cornbread muffin recipe there, but there WAS a recipe for chilli with a cornbread topping. I thought this sounded much better than the muffins (and would be easier to eat as part of a finished dish) so I made sure I had all the ingredients.

When it came to making it, the recipe specified the amount of ingredients for a ‘very large pan’, as the chilli recipe was to serve around 30 people. I was making the beans in my Le Creuset 20cm casserole, so I decided to half the mixture after thinking that something double the size of my casserole would be pretty large.

So I made the batter and spread it on the top of the beans and grated the cheese on top. When I took it out of the oven it had risen to the top of the pan, which was slightly suspicious as the beans had barely half-filled it. When we cut into it I could instantly see my error – the cornbread was about 5 inches thick, and to top that it had absorbed a lot of the sauce from the beans (obviously this is why they say never try anything you’ve not made before when you have guests!). BUT, despite these setbacks, it was really tasty and the cheesy topping was particularly good. In future I could half the mixture again and probably still have some to spare. I grossly misunderestimated how much the polenta would swell on cooking.

So, below is the recipe as it appears in the book, in the correct quantities for a VERY LARGE pan. You can reduce accordingly.

Cornbread Topping


1 1/2 teaspoons salt

650g cornmeal

4 tablespoons plain flour

6 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

750ml buttermilk

4 eggs

2 teaspoons honey

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

150g Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

The method couldn’t be simpler – you just weigh out the dry ingredients and put them into a bowl. Whisk up the wet ingredients and then combine the two to make a thick batter.

Spoon (or dollop) this over the top of the beans and then grate over the cheese. Put into an oven heated to 220C for about 20-30 minutes until it’s risen and golden on top. Enjoy!