Smoked bacon and maple scones

You may have noticed I’ve got a hankering for bacon & syrup at the moment. It’s the heavenly amalgamation of sweet, salty and smokey that does it for me. It sounds so wrong on paper, but seriously all you sceptics should give it a go. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

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For these swirly scones I simply whipped up a batch of basic scone mixture. I happen to like this one by good old Delia Smith. Once the dough is made, set it aside and fry off 150g smoked bacon bits until cooked. I prefer to use a lean cut, but you could use lardons from the belly pork if you like. Once they’re cooked and a little crunchy, turn off the heat and add in 4 tablespoons of maple syrup. I added in half a teaspoon of sea salt flakes as well as I didn’t think my bacon was salty enough to offset the sweetness of the syrup, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether yours needs it. Let the mixture cool as you roll the dough out.

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Roll out the dough into a roughly oblong shape.

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Use a pastry brush to brush the dough with the warm syrup from the bacon bits pan. Sprinkle over a scant amount of dark brown sugar, before scattering over the bacon leaving a gap if about an inch on one of the long sides. Roll it up starting from the opposite side.

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Slice off the scraggy ends and squish them together. This is important. You’ll see why later. Put it on a lined baking tray. Now slice the roll into 6 equal portions and add to the baking tray.

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Bake for around 16 minutes in a 200oC oven, or until golden brown.

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These tasty morsals are a present for a friend who’s celebrating his birthday tomorrow, so I transferred them to a foil container and allowed them to cool whilst I concocted a glaze. I’m afraid I don’t have measurements for this as I made it up as I went along. To icing sugar I added maple syrup, a teaspoon of camp coffee, a glug of double cream and then I loosened it all with a dash of milk. When you’re happy with the taste, spoon it over the scones.

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These are best enjoyed warm, so if you can resist eating them straight away store them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them, then warm them through in the oven for a few mins.

Now, remember I told you to cut the two scraggy ends off the roll, squish them together and bake along with the others? Here’s why…

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Chef’s treat. Enjoy!

Smoked bacon and pancake dippers

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Oftentimes I dream food. I’m sure I can taste in my sleep. Occasionally whatever I was dreaming about cooking tastes so good in the dream I have to make it for real. This was one of those times.

I awoke from my slumber thinking I had come up with the most amazing amalgamation of two world renowned breakfast staples, so was slightly disappointed when I looked online and realised that actually my American brothers and sisters cottoned on to this phenomenon a long time ago!

Crispy smoked bacon encased in fluffy American style pancake batter, sprinkled with icing sugar and dunked in maple syrup. OMGOSH, heaven on a plate. I was trying to wait until our upcoming camping trip before making these, but caved when I decided to make the batter ahead of time and freeze it ready to take with us on our jollies.

Firstly, whip up a batch of your favourite American pancake batter.  My go to recipe is here. If you’re using it right away pop it in a piping bag, or a condiment bottle as it makes it easy to shape when cooking it.

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Grill some smoked streaky bacon until crisp. Then set it aside on some kitchen roll to absorb the excess fat.

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Pipe long oval shapes in a greased frying pan, top with a piece of bacon and then cover the bacon in another thin layer of batter.

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Cook over a low/medium heat until bubbles appear in the batter then flip over and cook the other side.

To serve sprinkle with icing sugar, and dip in warmed maple syrup.

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Divine!

I tripled the recipe on the link, poured the rest into a zip lock bag and will freeze it to take with us. If you lie it flat in the freezer it makes it easier to transport as it will stand up in the cooler and there will be lots of space for other meals too. Also, the bag will double as a piping bag when you come to cooking it.

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Bundt tin meatloaf

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I had a crowd to feed today, and a crowd calls for a lot of food.  For lunch I’d done a chicken and pearl barley broth and a broccoli and cheese soup served with crispy smoked bacon, freshly grated parmesan, savoury scones and ciabatta. For dinner I did pork meatloaf, but baked it in a bundt tin as I didn’t have a loaf tin large enough, plus I didn’t want to free-form it on this occasion.

This meatloaf fed 11 of us with leftovers to boot, so by all means halve the recipe if your crowd is smaller than mine.

First I lined the bundt tin with two packages of smoked streaky bacon.

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Then, using the dough hook on the Kitchen Aid (a large bowl and your hands will of course do the job perfectly), I mixed together 1.5kg pork mince, breadcrumbs made from four slices of bread, two very large eggs, three cloves of minced garlic, a large finely diced onion, a large handful of chopped parsley, a teaspoon of mustard, salt and pepper.

Once it’s well mixed, press it into the bacon lined tin, and flip the excess bacon over the top.

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Cover with foil and place in a deep baking dish. Pour boiling in so it comes about two thirds up the side of the bundt tin. Bake for an hour at 200oC.

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Turn out the meatloaf into an oven proof plate and bake uncovered for a further half hour to crisp the bacon up.

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I served this with a homemade onion sauce, roasted baby potatoes, simple steamed veg and gravy. Enjoy!

Vanilla Scotch Pancakes

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We love a good pancake in our house, be that a crepe, American style or a good old Scotch. These are really quick and easy to whip up and can be adorned with pretty much anything you choose.

You’ll need
300g self raising flour
250ml milk
2 large eggs
80g caster sugar
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste
And of course whatever toppings you choose.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time and drizzle in the milk and vanilla to form a thick batter.

Heat a nonstick frying and pan over a medium heat and swab with a little vegetable oil using a wedge of folded up kitchen roll.

Use a dessert spoon of batter per pancake and when you see bubbles starting to form on the top of the batter they’re ready to flip.

These are really easy to reheat in a toaster so I tend to make the whole lot, use what we want then either freeze the remaining, or put them in a bag to toast the following day.

These are Phoebe’s topped with yoghurt and strawberries and grapes. She loved them!

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Ste and I had ours with butter and maple syrup (wish I’d had some smoked bacon in too!)! Not quite as healthy but I did wash mine down with a green nutribullet smoothie!

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Four ways with Wild Garlic

Over the Easter weekend some friends and I went to a nearby beauty spot for a picnic and a paddle in the river. As the kids were happily splashing about a couple of us snuck off to do a spot of foraging for wild garlic. We certainly weren’t disappointed…

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It was there in abundance. We gathered some up and discussed potential recipes on the way back to the others.

Simple Garlic Butter
Once home I made some garlic butter to keep in the freezer simply by softening 500g salted butter in the Kitchen Aid, and adding in a large amount of finely chopped wild garlic. On greaseproof paper, I moulded it into a loose sausage shape, rolled it up in the paper and froze. That way I can slice off a knob as and when I need it (to make slicing easier dip the knife in boiling water to heat it up). So far I’ve used it in twice baked sweet potatoes, as a base for flatbread pizzas and simply on toast! Delicious!

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Smokey Bacon and wilted Wild garlic
On Sunday, I used some of the remaining garlic as a side dish for our Sunday roast by dry frying some smoked Streaky bacon, then adding in a couple of large handfuls of roughly chopped garlic.  It wilts down the same way spinach does so use more than you think you need. Season with cracked black pepper, but go easy on the salt as the bacon is often seasoning enough. I didn’t manage to get a pic I’m afraid.  Needless to say, the guests loved it, as did I.

Wild Garlic Pesto

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My friend Sam, has a superb recipe for pesto, which is simply delicious on pasta, in gnocchi, on bruschetta, drizzled on salads, pretty much on anything really. Be sure to have a gander at her new blog Me and My Second Self, you won’t be disappointed!

Wild Garlic and Asian Aromatics infused Coconut Oil
As you’ve probably gathered by now, I love Thai, Vietnamese and Asian style food in general and thought it’d be great to have a jar packed full of Asian flavours on my counter, ready to be dipped into any time without the hassle of having to chop everything from scratch.

I buy my coconut oil from Mother Nature’s Goodies on ebay

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I very gently melted in a bain marie until it was pretty much all liquid.

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While it was melting, I gathered the other ingredients: galangal, minced ginger, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, chillis and of course fresh wild garlic.

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Chop all the ingredients except the lime leaves, very finely and place in a sterilised jar.

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Pour over the melted coconut oil, seal and leave to set.

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The flavours will infuse and intensify and it makes a great base for any Asian style recipe.

Enjoy, let me know if you try any of these recipes and be sure to check out Sam’s blog.

Field mice for the bbq

No, not the rodent type; the super easy, three ingredient, creamy, smokey, firey type. Yes, with three simple ingredients it is actually possible to create a taste sensation. All you need is the following:
Cream cheese
Chillis of your choice
Streaky smoked bacon

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Slice the chillis in half and de-seed.

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Stuff with a dollop of cream cheese.

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Wrap in bacon.

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Bbq until the bacon is cooked and the chilli is slightly softened. Watch in amazement how fast they disappear off the plate! My guests were so fast, in fact, that I didn’t manage to get a pic once they were cooked! Apologies. Enjoy!