The vicar’s polenta cake

Every Tuesday I teach conversational English in a local church hall – it isn’t just me, I’m part of a gang of people who get together with a gang of other people whose first language isn’t English, and we chat. Actually we do a bit more than that; we don’t have formal lessons but we do actually do some teaching, play language games, help with various official forms and documents, make friends and eat cake!

Today was our last day before the summer holiday, and we had a little party with people bringing in a dish which was typical of their country. We had tiramisu, Thai fish cakes with salad and dipping sauce, Thai seafood salad with glass noodles, Hungarian apple cake, Polish sandwiches, strawberries and cream, Chinese egg rolls, jam tarts… oh and lots more! A feast!

Meanwhile, over in the church, some of the men were having a cake-making competition, and being men, their cakes were all gargantuan, so when they had finished the competition, they brought the remains over to us – lemon drizzle cake, sponge cake, another sponge cake, a cake which had strange-looking but very tasty grey icing… and a lemon and rosemary polenta drizzle cake, made by the vicar. He was a little despondent as his cake had come last in the competition.

We put out the cakes with all the other things we had and what a huge array of food! I love anything made with polenta, but I am not very keen on the flavour of rosemary… so I approached the vicar’s cake with slight apprehension, and cut off just a little corner… well, it was delicious!! The rosemary was so subtle and went so well with the lemon, and there was the slightly bitter zest sprinkled over the top – it was yummy!

I don’t go to church, and we have just finished our classes for the summer, but I must send a message to the vicar asking for his recipe!

Here is a recipe for some cornbread I made a little while ago…


  • 1½ cups of cornmeal
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • melted butter (the recipe said bacon fat but I hadn’t got any) I put less than the recipe said as I’m on my diet! I used about 10 grams
  • I added a good pinch of salt and a teaspoon of sugar
  1. sift the dry ingredients together
  2. lightly beat the eggs, milk and melted butter or fat
  3. beat the liquids into the dry ingredients
  4. pour into a well-buttered dish
  5. bake at 425°, gas 7 for about half an hour (my recipe said 20 mins but it wasn’t nearly enough)

I guess I could make lemon and rosemary cornbread, couldn’t I?

Oh… and spellcheck tried to change polenta to tadpole… not sure tadpole cake would be awfully popular!

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