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The Bacon Bible

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Chili-Marinated Bacon Burger
Creating the perfect bacon burger is no small task, and I suspect it will take me several years to do so - if ever I do. That said, the testing isn't exactly torture, so I don't mind. For this first proper stab at it, I decided to go for a properly meaty burger - which I reckon is important - in the form of a Westin Gourmet 6oz burger, which is a dense little thing packed with delicious beef; it also has a near-perfect texture, being both juicy and tender. I decided to tone down the use of sauces (limiting myself to a drizzle of American mustard and about 1tbsp of ketchup - normally I'd use a bbq sauce) and relying instead on the bacon to provide the more part of the flavour. Since I still wanted a bit of kick in my burger, I opted for Chili, Garlic & Ginger marinated smoked bacon

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Bacon Vodka Frozen in the Jar
A couple of months ago I posted a recipe for Bacon Vodka, and that was the first time I'd actually made it myself. Too impatient to wait the 6 weeks needed for the vodka to mature before I shared the recipe, I decided to divide the article into two parts, and this second part will be a little taste review. Having strained the vodka through a clean tea towel (I didn't have a cheese cloth at hand, which would otherwise be ideal) and thus gotten rid of the majority of the fat floating about in it, the bacon vodka actually looked quite appetising.
The smell wasn't as bacony as I had hoped, however, and still retained a lot of that cheap-vodka undertone, but it does get better as you learn to ignore the vodka and pick up more and more of the bacon smell. I'm sad to say that the taste was utterly disappointing - packed with charcoal! Why oh why did I decide to barbecue my bacon instead of frying it?! I could tell it would have been much nicer with normal fried bacon, but the bacon taste was almost completely covered up by a veil of not very pleasant smoke in my case. Ah well, I'm still convinced that the idea and recipe is sound so long as you steer clear of the barbecue - I will return at some future date with a new review of a fried bacon vodka, fingers crossed it will be a far more bacony experience.
Bacon Vodka - BottlingBacon Vodka - Served

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Chocolate Bacon Balls
Today, the 11th of May, is the unofficial 'Chocolate Ball Day' in Sweden (well, technically its the unofficial "negerboll" day, which basically means "negro ball". However, the name 'negerboll' has, for obvious reasons, fallen out of fashion, though it is still in fairly common use as a lot of 'traditionalist' Swedes argue that it is not intended as a racial referenence, rather a descriptive term reflecting the dark colour of the ball, with neger being a derivative of the latin word for the colour black). As such, I thought I'd devise a bacon version, replacing the the traditional desiccated coconut coating with crunchy bacon! 

The result? Well, I have to admit that the first bite was a bit odd. I think that's partially down to my having eaten hundreds of chocolate balls (they were my favourite treat as a kid, partly because they're delicious and partly because you can whip a batch up in about 5 minutes), though. The second ball was much tastier - though I think I should have used slightly stronger coffee, and replaced the caster sugar with light brown. Ah well, there's always next year! 

Crispy BaconCrispy Bacon - Chop it!

 

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Juicy Lucy Bacon Burger
One of my favourite food blogs at the moment is all about burgers - unfortunately it's in Swedish, but thanks to the wonderful piece of technology that is google translate, that's not longer quite as big an issue as it once would have been. Either way, the blog in question is called Hamburgare(.org), which (as you may have guessed), means hamburger in Swedish. The reason I like Hamburgare so much is simple: Stefan, the guy behind it, shows more passion for perfecting his art than most people I've come across. He goes into great detail in reseaching and perfecting everything from condiments to the meat he uses, and it pays.

Anyway, you may be wondering why I'm going on about Hamburgare and virtually kissing Stefan's behind, the answer is this: it's where I found out about Juicy Lucy, which is a burger filled with cheese which melts as you cook the burger. Love-ly stuff, I assure you. The original recipe doesn't use bacon though, which in my view is a rather severe shortcoming, so I felt it was my obligation to rectify the situation by creating the Juicy Lucy Bacon Burger, complete with the crispiest bacon you'll ever devour.

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Crispy Fried Bacon
Crispy bacon is perfect for a burger, dunking in an egg, snacking on or as a source of protein after a hard session in the gym. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to struggle a bit when it comes to getting their bacon properly crispy (I'm talking crumble with your fingers crispy) without burning it. The reason for that is simple: most people tend to think that the recipe for crispier bacon is higher heat and more time, and there is some truth to that, but there is one final ingredient that a lot of people don't seem to know about: kitchen roll!

So, to get properly crispy bacon what you need to do is fry it in butter until it gets a lovely golden brown colour (see above) and starts to look crispy, then remove the bacon from the pan - at this point some of it should be crispy but it will still seem a bit limp when you pick it up. Finally, place it on a sheet of kitchen roll, then cover with a second sheet and press down very lightly to soak up excess fat. Excess fat on the bacon can stop it from crisping up properly, and leaving it to cool slightly will also help it go nice and crunchy.

So in summary, the secret is kitchen roll, not more heat or time.

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Classic BLT Sandwich
For the first time for ages, I ended up having a good couple of pints last night, and there's nothing that gets you craving bacon more than a mild beer hangover. Is there a better feeling than sinking your teeth into a chunky BLT the day after a night out? I doubt it. Anyway, that's the excuse I used to justify a pretty obscenely large sandwich - I don't think the picture actually does it justice, it was easily the size of my face.

For this particular bacon sandwich I decided to use a freshly baked Grand Mange Blanc (purchased from Waitrose) which is a pretty soft, slightly chewy white bread with a nice crumbly crust, and for the L I decided to go with Romaine lettuce which doesn't have too much flavour, but does have a lovely crunchy texture. Based on today's experiment, Romaine lettuce is definitely my current favourite to go in a BLT. The bread also performed nicely, and certainly looked good, I'd probably give it an 8/10. The sandwich as a whole gets the same score, I think marinating all or some of the bacon would have improved it, but it was definitely an improvement on my Not-so-classic BLT.

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Bacon Vodka in Jar As you do, I searched from my own website name on google the other day, and found that someone else had had a quite similar idea to mine, and they'd invented something that sounded truly brilliant: Bacon Vodka! The blog I found it on is called Spoonsie's Blog and has a sub-section called The Bacon Bible, which is where I found the recipe.
Since bacon vodka sounds like just about the best drink ever (second only to bacon beer.. which I need to try make at some point) and ridiculously easy to make, I went right ahead and did it.

The only problem is that you need to leave it for a whole 3 weeks before it's ready, which means that I won't be able to tell you if it's as good as it sounds for another couple of weeks. If you don't much care what I think and want to try making some of your own, here's the recipe.

Edit: I've now posted the results on Bacon Vodka - Part 2.

Method:

  1. Cook 3 rashers bacon (I bbq'ed mine DON'T make the same mistake! Fry or oven-grill it!).
  2. Once cooked, place in an air-tight jar and fill up with about 35cl of Vodka, seal.
  3. Leave in a dark cupboard for at least 3 weeks.
  4. After 3 weeks, put your jar in the freezer until the fats solidify, then strain through a coffee filter.
  5. Decant into a bottle of your choice, and enjoy.

Bacon in Jarbacon on Bbq

 

 

 

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Chilli Marinated BaconUpdate: I've just had a wee taste, and you can find my verdict at the bottom of this post. On to the original:

Okay, so the other day I thought to myself "why is it that you never get marinated bacon?", and after pondering the question for a while I couldn't think of a good answer. So, I sat down and tried to think of a few marinades that might work, and one of them was this mix of chillies, fresh ginger, and garlic. As I was putting this together I kept think of things I'd like to add; some lime zest, lemon juice, a pinch of muscovado.. But in the end I decided it best to start with a simple, straight-forward marinade and see how that works.

The bacon is in the fridge at the moment, where I intend to leave it until lunch tomorrow, and I made enough to allow for a BLT with a twist as well as a slice to taste on its own. In other words, I'll be back tomorrow with an update on how it worked.

If you'd like to try this out for yourself, here's the recipe:


You'll need:

  • 100 grams of Smoked Bacon, raw
  • 2-3 tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 or about 1 tbsp coarsely chopped Red Chilli
  • 1 Garlic Clove, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh Ginger, grated

Method:

No need for a list here, really! Just prepare your ingredients as stated in the recipe and combine before massaging into the meat, leave in a sealed container in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

Verdict:

So, I've just had a wee taste of this, both on it's own and as a part of a BLT (which I've got a separate post for, above). On its own, the ginger was the first taste to come through, followed by a more pronounced garlic. The chilli didn't have much to say, unfortunately, but I think that's down to the poor quality of the chillies I bought.

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Mini Bacon Scones - Done!Today's mission was simple: make mini Bacon & Rosemary Scones. Sounds easy enough, and it should've been, but I managed to forget putting the bacon in (and had to do it after the dough was finished which, as it turns out, actually works just fine). Once I'd cut about half of the s:cones out I realised that I still hadn't put the rosemary in, so I ended up making pure-bacon scones.. I guess I'll just have to give it another go, some other time. Luckily they still turned out delicious. When I make them again, though, I'll try to increase the bacon flavour by incorporating the bacon fat from the frying pan. Not quite sure how I'd best go around that yet, hmm..

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Bacon Granola Bars
This is quite possibly the healthiest recipe you'll find in the Bacon Bible, at least in the cakes and cookies section. Granola bars have become quite popular lately, and it's easy to see why. Considering their relative healthiness as compared to cookies, they're an awesome snack when you're feeling peckish. Now, the normal variety comes with oats, seeds, nuts and fruit.. While they're very tasty, they definitely benefit from having the fruit replaced with bacon. Oh, nearly forgot, people commonly toast the seeds, nuts and oats in the oven (15min at 160c) before adding them to the sugar and butter mixture. I tend not to, partly because I'm lazy and partly because I don't think it makes them tastier.

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Quick jump: Standard Caramelised Bacon  -  "Light" Caramelised Bacon

Caramelised bacon is a core ingredient in many of the recipes you will find in The Bacon Bible, as it's a great way of adapting bacon for sweeter recipes. In fact, caramelising bacon is how my obsession with bacon started. a friend of mine introduced me to bacon ice cream, which is the first time I came across caramelised bacon, and life hasn't been the same since.

There are a few variations on how to caramelise the bacon depending on what you'll be using it for. That said, you can generally use any of the mehods listed for most of the recipes that call for it, the main difference between the recipes is how sweet and/or crispy the bacon turns out.