Sweetcorn was something I would have eaten every day of my life when i was a child if i’d had any kind of power or control over my own decisions as a 6 year old. However, leaving my life in the much more capable hands of my mother (and father, but hmm not so much where food was involved - my mum still doesn’t know about our detours ‘thru’ Mcdonalds when it was his turn to pick me up from gymnastics on a saturday morning), I had a positively varied diet and am obviously grateful that i wasn’t forced to live off of tinned vegetables until i learned to cook.
When i did learn to cook, and when i started my blog, sweet corn was absent. I swayed away from tinned foods and also those higher in sugars, and didn’t respect sweetcorn for its nutritional values as much as some other vegetables - like dark, leafy greens and sweet potatoes. However, this summer changed everything. I found myself in a dark bus station, transferring from one chicken bus to another, somewhere along the Guatemalan border, tired, hot, and hangry. When you’ve been on a bus designed to accommodate a quarter of the amount of people crammed onto it, gloria gaynor blasting throughout (who am i kidding, that bit was great), with only a mint from the driver to munch on (cute, but not quite sufficient), let me tell you the first thing you need after finding space to breath is a corn on the cob. i didnt know it at the time. But standing there waiting, as if she knew i was on that bus you know, on a torn apart pavement was a woman, with a smile, and a corn cart. (These things exist). Damn, that woman was serving all kinds of corn - sprinkled with lime or lemon or chilli salt or pepper, hot sauce or mayonnaise (ok maybe not). But it was everything. My friend and I abandoned our belongings - gigantic backpacks containing most of our lives - as if nothing else in that moment mattered other than getting us some of that corn. well. we got it. and damn did we love it. life was sweet, and in this moment, crouched atop our luggage eating juicy boiled corn with our hands, i knew these golden kernels of goodness were back in my life for good.
When i returned home i kept up my sweetcorn obsession, adding it to my lunch bowls, broths and other meals, as well as using it as a base for dips and soups. But since the winter is a coming, and my body is craving food not just for its energy but also its warmth, i needed to work it into a more comforting dish i could cuddle up with. this recipe is deeply warming and genuinely soothing. i love that food can do that to you. it hits every spot in the body that needs hitting. Now that we’re well into the season of making no plans to socialise whatsoever, spending time in the kitchen should become less of a chore and more a way to pass time between new series/christmas movies and online gift shopping, and to warm you up if the heatings not cutting the chill.
Serves 2 as a main meal, 4 as a side.
400g Cooked Sweetcorn
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1/2 Cup Almond Milk + 1 Tablespoon to make Bean Paste
5 Tablespoons Solid Coconut Milk Fat / Cream
1/4 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
2 Tablespoons Tahini
8 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Coconut Oil (can also use ghee or butter if not vegan/dairy-free)
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/3 Tin Cooked Cannellini Beans (any soft white beans)
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast - optional
1 Teaspoon Reishi or Shilajit Mushroom powder - optional
Start by making the bean paste/puree. Take your white beans and strain and rinse them in a sieve. Tip them into your blender or food processor and then add 6 tablespoons of your oil (save the other 2 for cooking), 1 tablespoon of your almond milk and 1 tablespoon of tahini. Blend on a medium - high speed for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. It should be runny, relatively thick, but not lumpy.
Next, cook your corn. If it is on the cob, boil the whole cobs for around 10-12 minutes and then use a sharp knife to cut away the kernels. If you are using frozen, boil for 8-10 minutes until it is juicy and soft. If you are using pre-cooked tinned corn, follow the instructions below.
In a separate saucepan to your corn, combine the remaining oil (or butter), the remaining almond milk, the coconut milk, salt, nutritional yeast and reishi or shilajit, if using, and mix with a wooden spoon. Stir over a medium - low heat and gradually add the cannellini bean mixture, stirring constantly. Once the sweetcorn is cooked, drain the water and add the corn to the milk mixture. Stir constantly and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the mustard, to taste, starting with a little amount and building up the flavour as you desire. Simmer for a further 10-12 minutes, to allow the mixture to thicken.
Serve hot with cooked quinoa, cubed avocado, shredded spinach and alfalfa sprouts, or other green vegetables - raw, boiled or sautéed. Add a source of protein such as chicken breast or salmon fillet. Also enjoy cold stirred through a salad, cold quinoa or other pseudo grains, or served as a side to any savoury meal. It is delicious added to mashed avocado on gluten free toast, served with eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast, stirred through soups or served as a cold side, I imagine, at a barbecue or picnic.