Kipper has become obsessed with doing stickers. I’m pretty sure she would be stickering from the moment she woke up, till the time came to go to bed, if we gave her half a chance. DH recently brought her a massive sticker book back from a business trip to the USA, so she has been indulging her sticker addiction in quite an extreme way the last few days.
We returned from a playdate at a friend’s house, and she immediately made a bee-line for the stickers. I’d hoped she might help me make the dinner, but no, stickers were a far more alluring option. Hey ho. So, I made this lovely mushroom and polenta bake alone (sigh), and she sat at the kitchen table, stickering.
Once the dish was in the oven, I asked if she’d like to play with me, maybe do something on the computer? But even this tempting offer (usually a sure fire way to drag her away from something else) couldn’t compete with the stickers. So I left her to it.
But then, time to actually eat the dinner. Could the delicious saucy polenta bake, its aroma wafting temptingly through the kitchen, persuade her to finally leave the stickers? Could it? In a word, no.
“I don’t want any dinner! I want to do stickers!”
Cue full on meltdown. I took her outside for some fresh air and a cuddle while DH cleared the stickery wreckage from the kitchen table and put out the knives and forks. He counted up. She’d done nearly 20 pages of stickers. Crikey.
Fortunately, once she’d come to terms with having a temporary break from stickering, she changed her mind about the dinner, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy her portion of the polenta bake. Phew.
This was a delicious way to use up the remains of a packet of polenta before Pesach. I had thought it would firm up a little more during baking, but in fact it remained soft and creamy, just firm enough to serve, but a lovely spoonable consistency on the plate. The tomato and mushroom sauce is yummy on other things too – pasta, jacket potato, rice…
This quantity was enough for two adults and a small person, with a portion left over for my lunch. Lovely.
- Butter, to grease the baking dish
- 135g fine cornmeal (polenta)
- 650ml cold water
- 2 tsp vegetable stock powder
- 1 medium onion
- 300g mushrooms
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 0.5 tsp ground black pepper
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 50g grated cheese
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter a baking dish and set aside.
- Put the polenta, water and stock powder into a heavy-based saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat and cook for 5-8 minutes until thickened.
- Pour the polenta into a greased baking dish and set aside.
- Peel the onion and chop finely. Cut the mushrooms into chunky pieces.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onions and mushrooms. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and browning. Stir in the thyme, pepper and chopped tomatoes.
- Cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 8-12 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked and most of the water has evaporated.
- Spread the mushroom sauce over the polenta. Sprinkle over the grated cheese. Bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden, and the dish is piping hot throughout.