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I'm a London-based food writer, stylist and author. Click here to see more about me and my work

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Corn field serendipity

I kind of feel sick right now because I’ve just eaten 6 leftover corn cakes for lunch. Don’t get me wrong, they were delicious but I could not stop eating them. Yesterday was my children’s last day of freedom before school starts  and we decided to have a day out at Garsons, which is a pick-your-own farm in Esher. The sun was shining and after collecting five containers of raspberries we discovered the corn.  We cracked them right off the tall stalks and took them home to shuck. The problem with going to these places is that you get over-excited and pick too much. By the time I got home, I had now gone off the idea of making raspberry jam and had 23 ears of corn to deal with. Luckily we had an epiphany and spontaneously produced a gigantic batch of corn cakes. The kernels were sawed off with a knife, blanched, tossed into a chili and spring onion batter and pan-fried up. Our serendipitous foray into the corn field paid off as we all sat down to an al fresco lunch and gorged on our end-of-summer meal.

For years I have been dabbling with corn cake recipes . My friend Victoria Blashford-Snell and I wrote a book called ‘Diva Cooking’ about 10 years ago and used it as a canape. I’ve deep-fried them as a Thai rendition (Small bites) and more recently in ‘Meals in heals,’ I simplified them completely using self-raising flour, eggs a milk.  If you don’t use fresh corn, tinned is still very good so they can be made year round.  This particular recipe uses an avocado, tomato and basil salsa but you can and should do some of the following:

Home-made sweet chili dipping sauce (Prawn cake recipe for details), diced cucumber and fresh coriander
Tomatoes, mozzarella, rocket, red onion and balsamic dressing
a base for any fish or steak and sauce of your choosing
Mexican style with avocados, tomatoes, chipotle tabasco, and creme fraiche


corn cakes with chilli and spring onion
preparation time 10 minutes
cooking time 15 minutes
makes 12

NOTE: You can use fresh, frozen or drained tinned corn. If using fresh corn, slice the kernels off the cob and blanch in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water. You’ll need about 4–5 ears of corn for 400 g kernels.

400 g/14 oz/2 cups corn kernels
120 g/1 cup self-raising (self-rising) flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
5 tbsp milk
4 spring onions (shallots), finely chopped
1/2 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
60 ml/1/4 cup vegetable oil (for frying)

1 avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
10 cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
half small red onion diced
juice of half lemon
small handful basil leaves ripped

Place the corn, flour, egg, spring onion, chilli, coriander and milk in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook scant ¼ cupfuls of mixture, in batches, for 2–3 minutes each side or until crisp. Place on a baking tray lined with kitchen paper and keep warm in the oven or serve them at room temperature. Mix the salsa ingredients together and season. Serve with the cakes.



  1. Jolie Smith says:

    Jen, I’m having a bbq tomorrow and I am making these fabulous corn cakes!! Thanks so much!
    I am so sorry that I haven’t written back but life has been crazy. I will soon! I am so glad we’ve reconnected again!!

    Jolie (Rolie Polie) Thanks, Leo. :-)

  2. mealsinheels says:

    Jolie Rolie Polie, I can’t wait to tell my dad I’ve heard from you. Leo always asks after you!

  3. Liz Grundvig says:

    In today’s mail, my very first donna hay magazine arrived (purchased from ebay). I saw your book advertised and loved the title. Glad to find your blog. :)

  4. mealsinheels says:

    Hi Lizzy, have to say I’m very thrilled to be mentioned in Donna Hay. I haven’t seen that issue yet. Sign up to be a subscriber, and you will get to see many of the recipes from the book photographed. Thanks for your lovely message.


  5. catty says:

    Haha 23 ears of corn? I see what you mean by you end up taking too much :) your corn cakes look great! I’ve never tried making them before but I usually love Lantana’s version (corn fritters). Might give them a go one day soon :)

  6. mealsinheels says:

    I wish I lived around the corner from Lantana. Their baked polenta with aubergine and goats cheese is my favorite.

  7. Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs much more consideration. I’ll probably be again to learn much more, thanks for that info.

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