March 17th, 2022


I write a lot of recipes, about 120+ a year at my current rate. As you can imagine that equates to a lot of experimentation – including some fails – throughout the year. My train of (food) thought is heavily influenced by what I am harvesting from my own garden and sourcing from local growers. I have been cooking this way for a long time – some 20 years. I start with fresh produce and build a meal around it, not the other way around. It makes sense, and I think even more so these days as many households lean towards more vegetable-focussed cooking.

I think of this way of cooking as very creative. Instead of being driven by a regular list of produce purchased week on and week out, produce is prepared when at its best and seasonally abundant. Generally speaking, seasonal produce should be of a reasonable price simply because there is a lot more of it in circulation. Of course, this is not always the case, and certain ‘trendy’ or difficult to grow/transport produce will carry a higher price tag. A high price can also be a result of rough weather, if we get a lot of rain (like we did last month) this is going to have a knock-on effect of slower vegetable growth, and if flooding was involved produce may be a complete write-off. This will affect availability and price down the track.

I think of shopping for produce in a similar way to gardening, when there is a lot in the garden, I will cook a lot of the same thing (currently beans and zucchini). And when produce is a good price I buy it more often and that is what we eat more regularly. At the moment we are at the crossroads of fresh summer produce coming to an end and flavourful autumn produce filling our plates. Late-season sweetcorn is still good value although it is beginning to lose its fresh juiciness – when it is best eaten simply boiled – and is now better used in cooking with other ingredients to complement.

Circling back to those 120+ recipes I write each year there are some which get the BIG thumbs up from my family, recipes that I think about for weeks after and make again and again. This is one of them, introducing Grilled Smoky Creamed Corn. Enjoy!

Grilled Smoky Creamed Corn

This is not your typical creamed corn, this is #nextlevel creamed corn. The addition of grilled red capsicum (pepper) and paprika add a smokiness to match the sweetness of the corn. Topped with grated cheese and flashed under the grill to finish, this is a comforting, decadent dish. It can be served for brunch “classic-style” on toast with a side of scrambled eggs. Or as a side to a main meal such as roasted autumn vegetables or slow-cooked pork, with a crisp green salad or slaw to cut through the richness of the creamed corn.
Servings 4
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes


  • 1 red capsicum, stalk and seeds removed, and cut into quarters
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 2 tbsp (30g) butter
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 2 sweetcorn cobs, husks removed (or use 2 cups frozen sweetcorn*)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • Salt and cracked pepper
  • 1 heaped tbsp flour - can use gluten-free
  • ¾ cup (185ml) milk
  • ½ cup (125ml) cream
  • 1 cup (100g) grated cheese
  • Chopped chives or parsley to serve


  • Brush the capsicum wedges with olive oil. Chargrill, skin side down in a hot frying pan until the skin is nicely charred and flesh softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove to a small bowl and cover with a plate. Set aside for 10 minutes for the capsicum to sweat and loosen the skin so it is easier to remove. Alternatively, use the equivalent quantity of store-bought roasted red capsicums.
  • In the same frying pan melt the butter over a moderate heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
  • Meanwhile, hold a corn cob in a bowl and use a small knife to cut the sweetcorn kernels from the cob. Rather than cutting whole kernels aim to cut smaller pieces to release the starchy liquid. Repeat with the second cob. *If using frozen sweetcorn you will get a creamier dish if you first thaw then blitz briefly in a food processor to coarsely chop - don’t puree.
  • Add the sweetcorn, along with the garlic, paprika and chilli (if using) to the onions. Season with a generous pinch of salt and twist of cracked pepper. Saute for 2 minutes then add the flour and stir over the heat until combined.
  • Slowly pour in the milk then cream, stirring constantly as the sauce thickens.
  • Peel the skin from the grilled capsicum and finely chop. Add to the corn and stir to combine.
  • Cook for 6-8 minutes until the creamed corn has thickened and the corn kernels are tender. Add half of the grated cheese and stir through until melted.
  • Pour the creamed corn into a 20cm baking dish (or leave in the frying pan if it is oven-proof). Scatter with the remaining cheeses and flash under a searing hot oven grill until the cheese is melted and bubbly. About 5 minutes.
  • Scatter with chopped herbs and serve - on toast with scrambled eggs on the side, or as a side to dinner.

Join the Conversation

  1. michelle dodunski says:

    That looks sooo good!

    1. Thanks, and enjoy!

  2. Nikki McLennan says:

    Oh wow!! This is sooo yum. I was short of milk so added half white wine half milk.🤭Absolutely going to be a regular in our house! Thanks so much. Love your recipes.

    1. Hi Nikki, I am glad you enjoyed it. And what a great idea to use white wine to replace some of the milk, I can imagine it would have added another dimension to the recipe. Happy cooking 🙂

  3. We made this tonight and it’s absolutely delicious!!

    1. Hi Kate, how fabulous, I am glad you enjoyed it. A perfect use for end of season corn 😉

  4. Hi Nicola wondering if this could be made the day before and reheated ok? Have a few people round for a meal this weekend and just thinking ahead…. Thanks-

    1. Hi Donna, yes it can. I have done this before. You could make the corn mix and chill. Then add the extra grated cheese for topping just before reheating. Enjoy!

  5. Hi Nicola, is it possible to make this 100% plant based? If so, which subs would you recommend?

    1. To be honest I haven’t tried so I really don’t know how it would turn out. This is definitely a decadent recipe that I make very occasionally, and it is the dairy products that give it richness. You could try using oat milk (or another dairy-free milk) for the milk and plant-based cheeses to replace the cheese. Keep in mind they can be quite different in texture and it would end up tasting quite different. It might be worth looking for a recipe that has been tested using plant-based ingredients if that is what you are after 🙂

  6. Christine Mary Macfarlane says:

    Hi Nicola
    A couple of weeks ago there was a recipe in the Press weekender which from memory was a salad with butter beans, tomatoes and I think cougettes…. it had a nice dressing. Sadly I didnt keep it. I have your most recent cookbook and it is not in there . Is there a web site where I can find it. I used to subscribe to “Life and leisure ” and in a moment of madness wrote to Kate the editor telling her she needed to get with the times and hire you to do the food page instead of Ruth Pretty !!!

    1. Hi Christine, thanks for checking, I will check back on my recent recipes and see if I can work out which one you are referring too and email you with the link. You can always find my recipes from the Press on the Stuff website. It can be a little difficult to find recipes if you don’t have the full recipe name but if you search my name and the key ingredients it will hopefully come up.
      Ha, that may explain why ThisNZLife has recently contracted me to write a fortnightly recipe blog on their website. Let’s see what comes next!
      Thanks for the support 🙂

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