In July, for my birthday, I was given 'Piri piri starfish' by Tessa Kiros. As with all of Tessa's books the writing and photography are beautiful and, even better, the book panders to one of my aesthetic weaknesses, a good ribbon, in this case a wide blue and white (if you're wondering what my definition of a good ribbon is then it includes colours that work with the book, material not likely to fray too easily, and preferably more than one in a cookery book. The winners so far are the triple colour co-ordinated ribbons in Skye Gyngell's books but this Portuguese flag ribbon comes in close behind).
Despite having the book since July and mentally marking more than a few recipes I only got around to do anything about it earlier this week when I picked out a dish of peas with chorizo and on a whim decided to make chorizo cake to go with it. The book uses the Portuguese 'chourico' throughout but I'm guessing that, unless you are fortunate enough to live near any Portuguese shops, you will be using chorizo as I did.
For the peas you just need to caramelise a finely chopped onion in two tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan, then add a whole garlic clove, a tablespoon of chopped parsley, and about 50g of chopped chorizo. Leave it for a minute or two and add 400g of fresh or defrosted frozen peas, give it a good stir and season then pour in a cup of hot water. It needs to simmer for about ten minutes until the peas are cooked and most of the water has disappeared. Fish out the garlic clove and make two (we had three eggs left in the house so I made three) gaps in the peas and crack an egg in each gap, leave to fry until the white is set and the yellow still soft and serve.
While I was preparing this the cake was cooling. We cut a few slices to have with the peas and it was delicious but almost too much, too cakey, too rich, really the peas don't need anything. We wrapped it up and the next day I took a slice to work and, as sometimes happens, the next day it was so much better. Delicious eaten on its own with no other competing flavours, less dense than the evening before when it had still been warm, just a great desk bound snack. We decided to finish it off alongside some small pots of home made soup that had been living in the freezer, fab.
CHORIZO CAKE from 'Piri piri starfish ---Portugal Found---' by Tessa Kiros
100g of melted and cooled butter
5 tablespoons of olive oil
185ml of milk
310g of plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
100g of presunto, prosciutto or similar ham, in one thickish slice (I could find none of these so bought some pancetta, fried it and used this instead)
100g of chorizo sausage
Heat the oven to 200˚ C (400˚ F/Gas 6). Butter and flour a large ring tin (the sort you'd make a creme caramel in) or a loaf tin (which is what I used).
Beat the eggs with electric beaters until very fluffy and creamy. Add the butter and oil, whisking in well. Add the milk and flour in alternate batches, mixing the baking powder and salt into the flour. Whisk until you get a smooth batter.
Chop up the ham and chorizo, crumbling it through your fingers to separate any pieces that are stuck together, and stir into the mixture. Scrape into the tin and bake for 35 minutes or so until puffed and golden (if you're using a loaf tin, cook it for 5 minutes longer). Cool a little, remove from the tin and then slice into thick chunks to serve.