Author Niamh Shields obviously rates bacon highly, so highly she has written a book about it. And a jolly good book it is too. In fact, every time I look at the cover, let alone explore the recipes, I smile and can ‘smell’ bacon cooking!
Is there, I pondered, a more evocative smell and sound than that of bacon as it cooks and sizzles? Who cares whether it is eaten at breakfast, in a bacon butty (sandwich), bacon and egg for supper or lunch, whatever time of day – bacon adds extra flavour and appeal to so many dishes? It must be one of the most adaptable and versatile of ingredients – an all-time comfort food.
A jam or a chutney?
Niamh tells us that her passion actually started with bacon jam – a treat I have not experienced yet, jam for me has always been sweet – but she explains that bacon jam is more of a chutney than a jam – so now it makes more sense to me.
And having read Niamh’s recipe with its basis of bacon, onion, sugar and vinegar, bacon jam makes perfect sense and her suggestion of serving it with cheesy potato skins has me salivating.
And the salivation continues at the prospect of Bacon, mac and cheese; Bacon and cabbage dumplings; the Cheesy, bacon French toastie; Bacon sausage bread; Roast bacon loin with cider and fennel cream cabbage; Parmesan gnocchi with bacon and cabbage; and especially Roast bacon-wrapped hake with white beans, preserved lemon and rosemary.
In fact, I was so taken by the bacon wrapped hake recipe that I promptly ordered hake when compiling my supermarket home delivery order, only to be thwarted by the supermarket not having any hake.
Niamh has inspired me with lots of her other tasty and straight forward recipes – including Bacon-wrapped scallop skewers with maple-cider vinegar glaze. I can well believe all the ingredients would work deliciously together. By the way this recipe actually appears in the ‘how to BBQ bacon’ section of the book.
And some sweet ones too
But apart from liking the delicate sweetness of maple syrup I really don’t have a sweet tooth so I am struggling with Nimah’s recipes for desserts, and other sweet treats, that include bacon. I can understand that bacon goes well with some sweet things – but not sure if it is for me.
However, I am going to try making the Maple candied bacon – maple candied bacon features in several other recipes – her lollipops look fun and unusual. And I suspect that the candied bacon could add an interesting dimension to the chocolate chip cookies; the Bacon and salted caramel popcorn and indeed the Candied bacon flapjacks.
For anybody wishing to cure their own bacon Niamh has also included a very comprehensive section on how to do that. And one day I might just do it! A fascinating book.
Bacon: The Cookbook. Niamh Shields.
ISBN: 978-1-8383155-0-4. RRP £25