Comforting Carbs

Cook this: Sweet Cornmeal Porridge.

We’ve tried to hide it, shoving carbs aside for cauliflower rice and courgetti, but we’re not fooling anyone. Carbs are what we want – what we really, really want (especially at this time of year). We love them because they make every meal better; food writer Laura Goodman couldn’t agree more. Her book, Carbs, out this month (Quadrille, £15), puts carbs in all their guises firmly back on the table.

To whet your appetite, we asked her to share one of her favourite recipes, and it’s perfect for these colder, darker mornings.

“There are a lot of Jamaican things to love, but you might not expect one of them to be porridge. Why would you want the sludgy sort of breakfast you eat at home on a tropical island equipped with its own mango trees? Well, here’s why. This cornmeal porridge is sweet and warmly spiced, and it’s an incredible friend to a cup of coffee. It’s right on the edge of what you might consider pudding, so it transfers very smoothly to a dark, pre-9am kitchen, keen for comfort.

Making it won’t transport you to the Caribbean (it’s not rum punch), but it’s pretty uplifting watching the gold of the cornmeal move around the pan with the silvery milk and spice. It’ll swirl happily for a while, until it comes together – the sunniest sludge you ever did see.”

Serves: 2 people

– 75g (½ cup) fine cornmeal
– 225ml (scant 1 cup) milk
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– ½ tsp ground cinnamon
– ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
– 4 tbsp condensed milk, plus extra to serve fruit, to serve

1. Put everything except the condensed milk and fruit in a large saucepan with 400ml (1¾ cups) water and bring it to the boil, stirring all the time. Once bubbles appear, turn the heat down to a simmer. Keep stirring.

2. Start to add the condensed milk after about 8 minutes. Add a tablespoon at a time so you can get it totally Goldilocks. Keep cooking until it’s thick and creamy (10–12 minutes in total).

3. Serve with fruit, an extra drizzle of condensed milk and a cup of coffee.

Photography © Louise Hagger