Feb 15, 2014

A glossy cookbook is always a safe bet if you need a present to buy me, and Ceviche‘s cookbook, which was gifted to me recently, is no exception. I’ve only eaten at the restaurant once, sitting at the tiny but cosy bar where we nibbled on slivered beef heart skewers and sipped neat pisco, which reminded me of the tsipouro which is served at all hours of the day in island cafes in Greece. Tsipouro is my drink of choice on idle summer mornings on the islands, where you’re served a tiny bottle with a bowl of ice and a few bits of cheese and olives. For less than 2 euros you’ve got enough entertainment for a couple hours at least.


Tsipouro is a classic pre-lunch tipple at Greek island cafes

The book has lots of vibrant photography and intriguing suggestions (e.g.- if you can’t get a hold of any guinea pig for your stew, rabbit makes a good substitute). I particularly like chef Martin Morales’ personal perspective on what each dish means to him and the process of introducing Peruvian cooking to Londoners through his quirky hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Soho.

This corn cake is an excellent larder dish and is also, surprisingly, gluten-free. Whenever I see whisking egg whites to stiff peaks in a recipe I tend to turn the page immediately but apart from a couple minutes of rigorous dominant-hand exercise, it was a ridiculously easy dish to put together.

The corn cake cooks low-and-slow, so you have to think about making this 3 hours before you want to eat it. I got impatient and took it out after 2.5 hrs and it was a bit wet and crumbly, but was demolished in minutes anyhow. We ate it with a carrot and mint puree and white cabbage and caraway seed salad but it would also go well with a stew or guacamole.

Peruvian corn cake adapted from Ceviche by Martin Morales

  1. Preheat oven to 120C. If using tinned sweetcorn drain and rinse thoroughly. If frozen defrost.

  2. Separate the eggs and put the yolks into a food processor or blender with the sweetcorn. I use a hand-held whizzer which works just fine.

  3. Transfer the sweetcorn eggy mix to a large bowl and add the cornflour, butter, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Mix until thoroughly combined and set aside.

  4. In another bowl whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold into the sweetcorn batter just until combined.

  5. Grease a shallow casserole dish or square baking tin (20x20cm) with olive oil and then pour your batter in. (I used my cast iron skillet which worked great.)

  6. Press the bits of cheese into the batter until totally submerged. My feta was quite crumbly so the best way I found was to scatter it evenly on top and then use my hands to press down into the batter in a circular motion.

  7. Place in the pre-heated oven for 2 hours.

  8. After 2 hours, turn the heat up to 150C and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until very golden brown on top.

  9. Optional- Morales instructs you to take the cake out of the tin and put it on a flat baking sheet for this last step. I don’t think this is really necessary but would perhaps lead to a crispier finish, depending on what kind of baking receptacle you use -the cast iron gave it an even, crisp crust though.

Serves: 1

Cooking/Prep time: 2


  • 500g sweetcorn, tinned or frozen works fine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tbsp baking powder
  • 100g queso fresco, feta or similar white crumbly cheese
  • olive oil for greasing


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