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EpicureanPiranha | June 7th, 2010 - 20:00

I love using cornmeal in baking for its flavour, texture and beautiful colour. And I love poppy seeds for the added texture and flavour ~ besides which I find they look pretty in baked goods.

Poppy seed and cormeal loaf

I love the pretty golden colour from the cornmeal, and the speckled appearance from the poppyseeds.

You’re probably aware of the fact that poppy seeds have been widely used in drugs and food for many centuries, but did you know that these tiny seeds have numerous health benefits? They’re a valuable source of minerals, vitamins [particularly vitamin E], fatty acids [especially the omega-3], and carbohydrates. They are also know to help facilitate digestion, and because of their high linoleic acid content, are helpful in protecting the body from heart disorders.

“The tiny kidney-shaped seeds have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years. For instance, the Egyptian papyrus scroll named Ebers Papyrus, written ca. 1550 BC, lists poppy seed as a sedative. The seeds are used, whole or ground, as an ingredient in many foods, and they are pressed to yield poppyseed oil.”

“In Indian traditional medicine (Ayurveda), soaked poppy seeds are ground into a fine paste with milk and applied on the skin as a moisturizer. Poppy seeds are pressed to form poppyseed oil, a valuable commercial oil that has multiple culinary, industrial, and medicinal uses.”

[source: www.wikipedia.com]

This recipe is quick and delicious! It’s from a French cookbook called “best-of-cakes !”, one of the numerous volumes of the maraboutchef series of cookbooks. They use metric measurements and some French terms and ingredients which may be unfamiliar to North Americans, so I’ve translated it, added volume measurements for those of you unfamiliar with metric, and substituted North-American ingredients where suitable.

Cornmeal and poppy seed cake

This flavourful cake is nutritious and so quick to make! You can also serve it in many different ways.

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200 g corn flour
100 g plain flour
45 ml (3 Tbs) poppy seeds
7.5 ml (1 ½ tsp) baking powder
1.5 ml (1/4 tsp) baking soda
1.5 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
————————————-♥  Combine above ingredients in a small bowl & mix well with a fork.
3 eggs
25 cl (1 c) buttermilk
7 cl (1/4 c) vegetable oil

  • Preheat the oven to 180C (375F).
  • Lightly butter a loaf tin*, line the tin with parchment paper and lightly butter the paper.
  • In a med-sized bowl, lightly beat the eggs, buttermilk and oil.
  • Add combined dry ingredients, and mix very lightly using large circular motions until just combined.
  • Turn into prepared loaf tin and bake about 50 minutes.
  • Before unmolding, allow to cool lightly on rack. Unmold and cool completely on rack.

Notes :

  • * I like making small loaves, then I can either freeze some or give some away to friends. I made this in small loaf tins or you can use a standard loaf pan.  If using three x [14,8 x 7.9 x 5.5 cm] (5 ¾ x 3 1/8 x 2 1/8 inches)  baking tins, bake for 20 to 22 min.

A few serving ideas:

  • With butter when warm
  • With olives, dried sausages like chorizo, and a little glass of chilled, dry jerez as an aperitif
  • With cream cheese and grilled red pepper or sun-dried tomatoes and perhaps some grilled meats
  • To make small finger sandwiches:  make a mustardy mayonnaise, add some rocket and roast chicken
  • With a bowl of soup


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