September means Sweetcorn


I have had a love affair with sweetcorn for a long long time. At the age of 7 if asked, I would answer that my favourite food was chicken and sweetcorn soup, but  I think it was probably the sweetcorn part that made the difference.

 One of my first cookbooks was Real Good Food:Nigel Slater and I remember reading again and again his description of how he barbecued sweetcorn on a BBQ made from an old flowerpot filled with pebbles and charcoal and then served with lashings of chilli butter…I longed to  have my own house and garden so that I could do this too…20 years on and I have had BBQ sweetcorn on many occasions but from much more unromantic “disposable grills”…but still as September comes round my stomach starts to rumble as I see the “Sweetcorn for sale” signs on the farm gates around Warwickshire…

 It is also one of the few vegetables that I can get Spider to eat without fuss which is why if a couple of cobs of sweetcorn appear in the weekly veg box, they usually end up heading his way instead of mine…but, because Husband, doesn’t eat it, it is not something that I generally end up buying…not even tinned.

 I have accidentally scored a tin of sweetcorn this week. Due to Spider absent mindedly leaving his bag in Husband’s car on Thursday night, the tin my Mum had put in his bag for the Harvest Festival on Friday (because  it’s a safe bet I would have forgotten) is now mine, Spider having taken a tin of mushroom soup  (schools prefer tinned food these days apparently – gone are the days of taking one of your Dad’s supersized marrows in)…

 Much as I adore the flavour of a freshly cooked sweetcorn…it is admittedly at it’s best just as you have picked it  (does anyone remember the bit in M*A*S*H where Sherman Potter is explaining how he will take a cooker and a pot of water out into the field and bend the stalk of corn over until the cob (still attached to the plant) meets the water)…and the chances of getting sweetcorn that fresh is slim… Almost as soon as it is picked the sugar starts turning to starch…

 Nutritionally Speaking

Sugar ? Starch ? Yes, that’s right Sweetcorn is a carbohydrate…as are most vegetables…however Sweetcorn does have quite a lot of good things going for it…for a start it is supposed to be high in anti oxidants and be good for eyesight… compared to an apple it has more vitamin C, more protein, slightly more carbohydrates (6% as compared to 4%) and slightly higher in dietary fibre. Also surprisingly, in that you can cook with corn oil, sweetcorn is relatively low in fat (1%, compared with an apple’s 0%) and those fats being mainly mono or poly unsaturated…

 The problem with sweetcorn tends to be what people do with it…slathering it with chilli butter is probably off the menu for me…but most of the other recipes I’ve looked at for inspiration are high in fats, oil or cream too…probably because the taste of sweetcorn is very delicate (most of its attraction being the crunch texture and the hit of sugar) so most people add flavours (and fat) to it…

So for the time being, as after all this is a tin of sweetcorn, I don’t HAVE to eat it now, I’ve parked it until I can think of something better to do with it than eating it raw in a salad…

photo to follow – still having camera issues


An orange coloured day…eventually

Despite my comments earlier in the week about how much I love the Autumn, I must confess to being a little down, or rather a lot down, it was an indigo day in fact. I am suffering from a lot of stress and tension related to our financial situation. Because, although having returned to full time employment as of the 1st October our human resources department still has not completed the paperwork. Furthermore unless they do it by the beginning of November then the chances are that I’m not going to feel the benefit of the extra days pay until the middle of December.

In order to meet bills we are having to watch our finances very carefully. I am running out of places I can save money, other than food that is and we’ve never really wasted that. Anyway, today I feel the hole we are in, I feel it in my whole body. I feel blocked, I feel constrained and I feel it in my gut, in my belly, in my intestines and my bowels. It is a taut string running from the top to the bottom and it cripples me, I can’t think and therefore I can’t work.

Food in the house the last few weeks has been very much comfort food. Husband has been serving up big bowls of pasta, tomatoes and cheese or sausage and mash. A bag of pudding rice has appeared. The Atkins diet has no place in this household, its carbohydrates all the way.

Tonight I need something simpler though, something my gut can deal with, that will cheer me up and comfort at the same time, something that looks happy in the bowl. Coincidently my kitchen has been dominated by the presence of a very large pumpkin, hoping to end its days as something more than a lantern on the 31st… I also have some cream that needs using, as do most of my spices which spent 6 months in storage during the house works.

I follow vaguely a Nigel Slater recipe for pumpkin soup, which can be found here but is also in Real Good Food which is a book compiled from early articles from Nigel’s Observer columns. This incidently is one of my earliest cookbooks. The soup recipe was possibly one of the reasons I bought the book (that and his description of BBQing sweetcorn). Hopefully, the remains of it will do for lunch for what’s left of this week…when my mind needs soothing I cook cake, when its my body that is in crisis I need more than sugars.

postscript The lovely Mrs Zee with whom I work has found a human in the cyber department our human resources has become and has persuaded them to press the right buttons on the computer so that I get paid the right amounts in November, even if the paperwork follows later.