|This bit of genius is by Natalie Dee|
OK, the bacon thing has possibly gone a bit far. I never wanted to live in a world that produces bacon-flavoured toothpaste, personal lubricant or jellybeans. But as I discovered at Christmas, bacon jam is really delicious, so who am I to judge?
Niamh Shields, the originator of the whiskey bacon jam recipe I made at Christmas, has been running bacon masterclasses in London for a few months now, sharing some of her more off-the-wall bacon ideas. Given how good the bacon jam was, I decided to trust her and book in. Then discovered that the cooking classes were being held a 10 minute walk from my office, so it was terribly convenient, as well as intriguing.
|Denhay streaky smoked bacon|
We started off making bacon jam - not the whiskey version I'd made before. There were only 6 of us (she'd had a couple of cancellations) so we got plenty of personal attention. I really appreciated being told that it wasn't ready now but now it is - often when I am following recipes I'm not quite sure if I'm at the right stage or if it is looking and feeling as it should.
|Bacon jam beginning its slow cook to unctuousness|
|The beginning of candied bacon|
|Maple, tamarind, chipotle candied bacon|
We were discussing what you'd do with candied bacon - other than eat it by the handful - and I think my favourite suggestion was to crumble it over a Caesar salad. But I also think it'd be good on jacket potatoes with a little sour cream and chives, or on some home-made baked beans. Or in a really epic sandwich, on soft white buttered bread.
|Fudge - really good to know how it is supposed to look|
At the end we beat some of the bacon jam into the fudge, creating an unexpectedly delicious confectionery. At least, I thought it was unexpectedly delicious; a few of the people who have tasted it have been less enthusiastic. I probably won't make bacon jam fudge again, but I will definitely make fudge again. It had the perfect ever-so-slightly crumbly texture that you look for in real dairy fudge. I'm looking forward to testing some different flavours. So that's Christmas presents sorted out!
|Bacon jam, fudge and candied bacon. Only missing the bacon vodka|
|Bacon jam, egg and tomato brunch sandwich|