German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

Serves: 4 – 6

I’ve said it before, though nobody can not like potato salad. Right?

And this quite simple, German Potato Salad is no different. No frills, sure, though simple is its key and ‘potato salad’ is its clincher.

With some grilled pork chops and a glass of chilled red, seriously?

You don’t need much more complex than this.

Ingredients

3 cups, peeled, diced potatoes
4 slices bacon
1 small red onion, diced
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
⅛ tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or chives

Method

  1. Boil the potatoes until they are tender and easily pierced with a fork. Drain and allow to cool.
  2. In a pan over a medium heat, cool the bacon until browned and crisp, turning as needed. Remove from the heat, allow to cool a little and crumble.
  3. Add the onion to the pan that had the bacon and cook over medium heat until browned. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper to the pan. Bring to the boil and then add the potatoes and parsley.
  4. Add the crumbled bacon and serve either warm or cold.

Braised Peas and Bacon

Serves: 4

I served this simple Jill Dupleix braise last night with an even simpler Veal Pillard: preheat your grill to hot, brush veal schnitzels in olive oil and season, grill for 1 minute and serve with a dollop of horseradish and juice from a chargrilled lemon half.

What a success!

The flavours married wonderfully, especially for a cold cold night.

Cook this once and this will become a side you do over and over again.

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
3 rashers streaky bacon, diced
2 leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
100ml white wine
150ml chicken stock
200gm frozen baby peas
1 tbsp mint leaves
1 tbsp butter
Sea salt and pepper

Method

  1. In a pan, cook the bacon over a medium heat until crisp. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil over a low heat and add the leeks, spring onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the wine and bring to the boil. Add the stock and peas and simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Return the bacon to the pan with the mint, butter, sea salt and pepper, heat through and serve.

Egg and bacon breakfast muffins

FullSizeRender (12).jpg
HP sauce optional unless your name is Natalie Ashes.

Serves: 2 per person

I think Nat made fun of me when I mentioned I was cooking these.

Though you’ll be the one having the last laugh when you realise you can have bacon and eggs literally every day of the week. Mind blown right!

I used to cook a dish my mother taught me where in a ramekin, you put a pile of cooked bacon lardons, crack two eggs, fill almost to the top with pouring cream, season and bake. And wow this was good, but not every day.

Whereas with these muffins, you’re in luck.

Add spinach, chilli, corn, mushrooms, whatever you want. Or keep them simple like I have and demand apologies the next morning when you are being selective in who receives these breakfast gold nuggets.

Ingredients

6 eggs
6 rashers of shortcut bacon (c’mon, it’s the week; be healthy!)
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180c.
  2. Grease 6 muffin tins.
  3. Somehow, shoehorn the back in there as a cup or whatever.
  4. Crack the egg inside, ensuring that egg white fills the tin and the yolk remains in-tact.
  5. Season and bake in the oven for 15 or so minutes until the egg has set.
  6. Fridge or freezer; eat with a ‘told you so’ smirk as your partner grovels over her Monday morning BACON & EGGS!

My Arrabiata

FullSizeRender (11).jpg
So hot. So good.

Serves: 4 – 6

This dish has real significance for me.

It was the first meal I cooked when I moved out of home, a recipe I adapted from Neil Perry and adapt every time depending on what is in the pantry and the fridge. Try it with torn basil, a pinch of sugar, freshly chopped chilli, whatever you want.

The key is in the length of cooking. The longer you can sweat the onions and the more slowly you can reduce the sauce, the better and better it will be. Forget that stuff from the local pizza shop, add lots of chilli and two hours over the stove and this takes on a new dimension.

Add this recipe to your repertoire and know it like the back of your hand. It will make clear to your lady friend that you can turn a pack of bacon and a few things from the cupboard into an amazing, hot and smoky pasta: it worked for me!

Ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 good pinches chilli flakes
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, halved (half a punnet)
1 can tomatoes
1 tbsp capers, drained
2 tbsp black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
Good handful of ham, roughly chopped
10 rashers of bacon cut into lardons
Salt and pepper
Penne, spaghetti, whatever
Ground parmesan
Chopped Italian parsley

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over a low heat and add the onions, garlic, chilli flakes and good pinch of salt and sweat as slowly as you can without letting stick to the bottom of the pan; around 20 – 30 minutes.
  2. Separately, cook the bacon in a pan until golden. Drain and set aside.
  3. Add the tomatoes, ham, capers and olives, combine with the onion mixture and cook for a minute. Add the bacon and can of tomatoes as well as a can of water.
  4. Bring to the boil and then drop to a low simmer.
  5. Cook for an hour to an hour and a half and longer if you can. The key is to removing as much liquid from the sauce as slowly as you can.
  6. Check the seasoning and chilli and adjust as necessary.
  7. Cook the pasta, drain and combine with the sauce.
  8. Serve with plenty of grated parmesan and parsley.
  9. Enjoy your reward.

Bacon Jam

Yields 2 ¾ cups

I’m on a health kick at the moment, pretty exclusively focused on undoing the impressive, red wine tyres around my tummy and chin.

And whilst, as I get further and further into my regime and more and more committed to it – and cognisant that the calories I am eating are subtracted from the calories I am burning at the park walking the dog – I still have a few vices once in a while. (Including, unfortunately, the culprit whose handiwork got me to where I am now: red wine!).

Another such vice – once a fortnight on a Saturday lunch – is a burger. Starting with Neil Perry’s Burger, I’m slowly making my way through a veritable number of burger recipes and rewarding myself for long walks and cutting back on bread, wine and snacks.

I was up in Newcastle with my good mate Josh and I came across a peanut butter and jelly burger. Aware that this would either be terrible, a none-event or life-changing, I had no choice.

Peanut butter and jelly aren’t the only odd-fellows. The recipe calls for bacon jam, something I hadn’t heard of.

A quick search and Martha Stewart and Nigella are falling over themselves. And so it begins.

To wrap up, the burger itself was a bit of a non-event. I think that if I had added mayonnaise, it might have been interesting, though as it was, it was dry and slightly dull.

But wow, the bacon jam. Rich, sweet, sour. And spicy, What a relish!

In a sterilised jar, given that bacon is already cured, it should be able to sit on the counter like any jam, though my batch is in the fridge. Given my current, fitness trajectory, I can’t say I will be eating much of it, though when the occasion arises, the bacon jam will be the first to know!

This recipe is Martha Stewarts.

Ingredients

750gm bacon, sliced into 1cm pieces
2 c shallots, finely chopped (3 large or 8 small shallots)
4 small garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground mustard
½ c bourbon
¼ c maple syrup
1/3 c sherry vinegar
1/3 c packed light-brown sugar

Method

  1. Spread half the bacon in a single layer in a large frypan and cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned. Around 20 – 25 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Remove fat, repeat with remaining bacon, reserving browned bits and 1 tbsp fat in pan.
  2. Add shallots and garlic to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring until translucent: around 5 minutes.
  3. Add chilli powder, ginger and mustard and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Increase the heat to high and add the bourbon and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits.
  4. Add vinegar and brown sugar and return to the boil.
  5. Add reserved bacon and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces to a thick glaze: around 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until it has the consistency of a chunky jam. Refrigerate in an airtight container at least 1 hour and up to 4 weeks.