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Thick and thin: Fine chorizo uses the right type of paprika. Photo: Jennifer Soo

Richard Cornish

I can't seem to find a fine-grained chorizo. I have eaten it in Spain, but most locally available products have large chunks of fat making it difficult to slice thinly. E. Terrill

In 1515, Albrecht Durer made a woodcut of a rhinoceros from a written description of an Indian rhino that had arrived in Portugal that year. Having never seen a rhino himself he exaggerated the animal's armour and, as a result, it looks like a cross between a giant armadillo and a conquistador in full metal jacket. Chorizos in Australia are a bit the same. Many butchers have heard about them, but few have actually seen or eaten them. There are only a handful of chorizos made in Australia that use good pork, use the right type of paprika and have undergone lactic fermentation. Brands I recommend include La Boqueria (laboqueria.com.au), Casa Iberica (casaibericadeli.com.au) and San Jose (sanjosesmallgoods.com.au). That said, the way chorizo is made changes around Spain from region to region, so to say there is one authentic chorizo would be wrong. Remember to use a sharp knife when slicing chorizo and cut it into slices about two to three millimetres thick.

 

A spicy breakfast treat of baked eggs with chorizo is sure to wake you up. Click for more photos

Ten ways with chorizo

A spicy breakfast treat of baked eggs with chorizo is sure to wake you up. Photo: Marina Oliphant

  • Spice up your cooking with chorizo.
  • Look for squirt bottles of French's yellow mustard to get that streetwise squiggle of vinegary hot mustard on the sizzling sausages <a href="http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/recipe/chorizo-hot-dog-with-red-peppers-and-onions-20121123-29ttj.html"><b>(recipe here).</b></a>
  • Originally, tapas was eaten as a snack between main meals to tide the body over. The term has since evolved to refer to an amazing array of mouthful-size bites, to be enjoyed with a glass of sherry or ice-cold beer. <a href="http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/recipe/chorizo-and-piquillo-pepper-bocadillo-20130128-2dftl.html"><b>(recipe here).</b></a>
  • Adding fewer toppings means it's important to use big flavours like chorizo so the pizza is really tasty. <a href="http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/recipe/chorizo-and-prawn-pizza-20130318-2g9ut.html"><b>(recipe here).</b></a>
  • Croquetas make a great snack and are very handy for using up leftovers. What's not to love? Your favourite flavours crumbled and then deep-fried.  <a href="http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/recipe/chorizo-and-potato-croquetas-20130731-2qy8w.html"><b>(recipe here).</b></a>
  • When you are preparing finger food, remember to keep the portions small - bite-sized is best.  <a href="http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/recipe/skewers-of-chorizo-peppers-and-olives-20121123-29uxo.html"><b>(recipe here).</b></a>
  • Something on a skewer makes great eating when standing at a party
 <a href="http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/recipe/prawn-and-chorizo-sausage-skewers-20121123-29uzt.html"><b>(recipe here).</b></a>
  • Comfort food ... Quesadillas with potato and chorizo  <a href="http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/recipe/quesadillas-with-potato-and-chorizo-20121123-29ums.html"><b>(recipe here).</b></a>
  • These empanadas have a delicious, spicy filling but the best thing about them is the flavour of sherry and olive oil in the pastry <a href="http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/recipe/empanadas-20121123-29uxv.html"><b>(recipe here).</b></a>
  • Flavour packed ... Jill Dupleix's prawn, chorizo and okra gumbo <a href="http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/recipe/prawn-gumbo-20130702-2p8vd.html"><b>(recipe here).</b></a>
  • Chorizo and eggs ... this spicy breakfast treat is sure to wake you up <a href="http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/recipe/baked-eggs-with-tomato-and-chorizo-20121123-29uvl.html"><b>(recipe here).</b></a>

I never deep-fry because I don't know how to dispose of the used oil. What is the best, most environmentally safe method? C. Duncan

I used to live in Edinburgh. Every evening, just before dinner, the city streets were filled with the sound of fire engine sirens. Like moving maniacal vesper bells, they were portent to the dozens of home chip fryer fires that started every night as home cooks forgot to take the fat-filled pot off the stove. To feed the family, into the bubbling oil went chips, sausages, fish fingers, burgers and, for dessert, battered ice cream. The Scots, with their predilection for deep-fried food, have the highest incidence of cancer in Europe. Anyway, remember that oil in high concentrations doesn't break down in the environment quickly, so don't pour it down the sink as it's no good for the bugs that make sewage plants work. Don't pour it down the drain as it will end up in a waterway. Don't pour it on the garden as it will kill plants and render soil infertile. Pour it into a sealed container and dispose of with household rubbish. Local councils provide points where cooking oil can be disposed of. Look at recyclingnearyou.com.au, which lists places to dispose of used cooking oil as well as old tyres and printer cartridges.

On a recent trip to the US, I fell in love with marionberries. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any in Sydney and was hoping you could please help. M. Bishay

Dispose of cooling oil with thought and care.
Dispose of cooling oil with thought and care. Photo: Gary Medlicott

Glad to see you returned from the US after falling in love. Last time I was there I came back with tinea from a cheap hotel shower. Marionberries are cultivars of blackberries and you will see them in good greengrocers and farmers' markets during summer. They were specially bred in the US from blackberries to form long, luscious fruit that clings to the stems growing on canes that are thin and less thorny than wild blackberries. Marionberries don't have the same intense berry aroma as wild blackberries.

In regards to eggs, what is the time interval between the date they are laid and the use-by date? D. Gordon

Dear Mr Gordon, I posed your question to the Australian Egg Corporation. Its response was, "Eggs are sold under a 'Best before' date being six weeks from date of pack." (sic). So, very soon after eggs are laid they are washed, graded and packed with a best-before date of six weeks from that day. Towards the end of this period the albumen begins to break down and the whites get a little watery. For making sponges and meringues choose eggs with a long best-before date.

Letters

On eggs and milk thanks to L. Remy for your questions. No, hens do not need roosters to lay eggs. Roosters are only required for hens to lay fertile eggs. Cows, however, do need to have calved to be able to lactate to produce the milk we drink. To have calved, a cow needs to have been mated with, or been inseminated by, a bull. On knives, thanks to V. Saxon: "Your advice on keeping knives sharp was very informative, however I think mention should also be made of the chopping surfaces used. Knives quickly lose their edge on marble or glass surfaces."

Send your queries to brainfood@richardcornish.com.au