Sugarbird's Sweet Nothings

I am passionate about food. And cooking. And baking. And running. Come and find a new recipe, a funny story, some strong opinions and whatever else I feel like throwing in the mix today.
Published on August 28th, 2011
by Clarabella

Vanilla Brown Sugar Breakfast Polenta

Its been a busy week. I have done a lot and baked a lot and run a lot. All good ūüôā

I have made a load of 21st birthday cupcakes in vanilla, carrot and chocolate flavours

I have made and delivered a Golden Wedding Anniversary Cake

I have made the biggest fruitcake ever. I mean huge. I mean my biggest mixing bowl which is so big I never thought I’d ever use it to capacity, was full beyond capacity. I mean, full. I mean no space for all the mixing. Damn that was hard work. But oh the smell for the 5.5 hours that it was cooking. Fruit cake cooking smells like Christmas. You can get high off that smell.

I also made a diabetic-friendly birthday cake. That was hard. It is nigh impossible to make cake that tastes at all good without using sugar. I am still waiting for a report on how the finished product tasted. If I don’t hear anything I’ll take the hint and never attempt that again.

At the shop this week I made 6 batches of cupcakes in 6 flavours, iced them, made 6 batched of brownies, got brownie mix all over myself, stacked and iced a 12″ lemon cake, ganach-ed a 9″ round cake, watched a Lightening McQueen cake being made (awesome!) and did loads of dishes. Dishes – they never end in a bakery.

So this Sunday morning when my week of baking is over, and there is nothing on the cards for me to bake today, I wanted to make a nice, but not challenging breakfast. Something warm and comforting but not too decadent. And I wanted to try something new. So I settled on Breakfast Polenta.

I have never used polenta very much. I have made cornbread with it and maybe a couple of other random things over the last year, but its not a regular thing. I didn’t grow up with it so its not in my default cooking repertoire. But I had heard of having a sweet version of cooked polenta as like a porridge breakfast, and thats what I decided on today.

The polenta I used is fine grain so it only takes about 10 minutes to cook. The coarser versions take a lot longer from what I understand so check that before attempting this recipe. There is not much cooking involved here really. Heat the milk, add the polenta, leave it to cook. Add brown sugar and vanilla. Serve with more brown sugar and milk. The kind of ease i like on a Sunday morning while I am carving a giant fruitcake into a hexagon shape.

Before I knew it it was done. And in bowls with some brown sugar and milk. Its simple but so smooth and creamy and lovely, you won’t believe it until you try it. I promise.

On a non-polenta-related note, I went running last night. And it was beautiful. When I first arrived up at Alderley Edge it was windy and cold and threatening rain. After hanging around for a bit getting cold and demotivated, I set off at a gentle but determined pace to get warmed up. My icicle blue hands demanded it. I went down a big hill and up a big hill, then I was warm. Another gentle hill later the clouds were blowing over and the sun was peeking through in the last throes of the day. Every time I scaled a stile I had to stop and smile at the sun on my face and how it lit up the rich green of the countryside. The sun kept me smiling so much that even the long, grassy, bumpy ascent of Hare Hill did not dampen my spirits. It was lovely. And I have to do it again today.

The cows were my only companions on this run. I love how they look up at you curiously with their rich brown eyes, interested in your small disturbance in their peaceful green world.



Vanilla Brown Sugar Breakfast Polenta

Slightly Adapted from Joy the Baker

What you will need:

1 cup polenta
1 cup cold water
4 cups skim or semi skimmed milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
sprinkle of cinnamon

What to do:
In a small bowl measure out 1 cup of dried polenta.  Top with 1 cup cold water and stir.  Set aside.  In a medium saucepan add 4 cups milk.  Bring to a low boil.  Add salt and stir.  Slowly add the polenta and water mixture, using a whisk to stir out any possible lumps.

Once all of the polenta is added, turn the flame to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the polenta has thickened.  Once thickened, add sugar and vanilla bean or vanilla extract.  Sprinkle cinnamon in if you life.

Place polenta in bowls and top with milk and a sprinkle of additional brown sugar.