I love streaky bacon. I don’t particularly love cleaning up the mess on the cooker afterwards though. But there is an easy, mess-free way to do this. Pop your streaky bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet, and you’ll find that this same bacon hardly shoots a drop of fat anywhere. Yes, it will sizzle and it will bubble but it won’t go into fits and spurt all over the place. Here’s how you do it.
Preheat your oven to 200C/400F. Adjust one oven rack to the lower third of your oven. While the oven heats, line a baking sheet with foil so you have minimal clean-up of your pan afterwards.
Place each strip of bacon side-by-side, as close as you wish, but not overlapping. They cook together and stick if they touch.
When the oven comes up to temperature, pop the baking sheet with the bacon on to the rack (in the lower third of the oven) and bake for 15-20 minutes or so. The amount of time depends on how thick your bacon is, so start checking at about 12 minutes … and don’t walk away from it. It turns crispy and golden quite quickly at this point.
When the bacon is cooked to your liking, drain it on kitchen paper. Let the fat on the foil-lined baking sheet cool and solidify, and then toss it out. Or save it for use later.
This week we enjoyed a lovely smoked ham that carried us through 3 meals. And then there’s this small knob of ham leftover sitting sadly in the fridge, staring back and begging for attention.
I made Deviled Ham for sandwiches. Threw the chopped knob of ham into a food processor with half an onion (also chopped) and some fresh parsley. Zip-zip-zip. Tipped it into a bowl, and added white pepper, a spoonful of Dijon mustard, and enough mayonnaise to bind the whole thing together. Lovely. Smoky sweet. Cheap as chips.
Organic is not always pretty. Late summer and organic equals freckled, spotted, worm-holed, wasp-stung, mouldy fruit and veg. That’s when it’s time to cut out the mucky bits of apples and make applesauce. I don’t use fruit that’s rotten or mouldy; we have enough from windfall and those still clinging to branches, so it’s unnecessary. I leave heavily damaged fruit to the wildlife and insects, most of whom seem drunk from the fermentation at this time of year.
Applesauce freezes well, so we have a good supply during the winter, a happy reminder of what summer tastes like. And best of all, applesauce requires NO recipe. If the apples are too starchy, I add water (small amounts at a time, ie., a spoonful) or old dry cider (which I freeze in ice cube trays). I have a foodmill, so I don’t bother peeling the apples. The peel adds a lovely warm colour to the applesauce. I cut out the mucky bits, core them, and then cube the apples into equal-size chunks. Toss the whole thing into a large stock pot (I make it in huge quantities at this time of the year), keep the heat at a low temperature, and stir when I remember to do so. Just don’t let the apples at the bottom of the pot stick and scorch. When the apples are cooked down and mushy, I spin the mass through the food mill, and chuck away the peel and remaining bits.
I sweeten after the apples are ‘milled’, adding as little as possible. I am cooking for a diabetic, so minimal added sugar. I use ‘half-sugar’ substitutes, if needed.
This is not my recipe, so I’ll not take any credit for it. It is however one of the best that I’ve stumbled over, so I thought you’d like to know about it. It’s called Ultimate Scones, and it’s at the BBC Good Food website. And here’s the way they look when you’ve baked them!
I love the challenge of clearing out the fridge of leftovers. Veg that’s seen better days, tomatoes that are ready to go squishy, saffron rice from last night, a handful of frozen prawns, and red chillies. This tossed-together-quicky lunch turned out surprisingly delicious … according to Peder. I can’t disagree.
I oiled up my old steel wok, sautéed the onion, garlic and asparagus, fried off the rice, added some red Thai curry paste, and just before everything was nearly finished, I poured a beaten egg along the inside edge of the wok so it set fast as a blink against the seering heat of the pan. And then folded the egg into the rice. Serve before the egg sets hard if you like it a bit moist, or if you like it a bit more crunchy and crisp let it fry for a few minutes more.
Now if I can only remember how I did this when the fridge is bulging with leftovers again.
How about you: any favourites that you stir-up with leftovers?
This is without doubt the best flavoured butter I’ve *ever* made.
When it comes to steak, I like a knob of garlic butter to melt and spread like high-tide across the charred surface. But sometimes I don’t want garlic. Like last night. So I found a recipe that David Lebovitz claims as his own. In truth, I recall tasting something very similar on a steak in Paris last year, so I don’t think it’s his invention.
There’s not much to it, really. Soften a couple tablespoons of salted or unsalted butter at room temperature for a while, smoosh it a bit with a fork, and then add 2 teaspoons (or so) of dry mustard powder (like Colman’s English mustard powder) with one teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Mix it up well with your fork, and then scrap the yellow jewel on to cling film/plastic wrap. Gently, roll into a log … and then toss it into the fridge to return to a solid, sliceable consistency.
So, for anyone who didn’t want to read the above opinionated blather:
2T butter, softened at room temperature
2 teas mustard powder
1 teas Dijon mustard.
Mix with a fork. Roll into a log. Refrigerate until solid. Slice.
How To Remove Coffee and Tea Stains From China Cups
My lovely Royal Copenhagen mugs are a magnet for tea stains. I refuse to use harsh chemicals (bleach, denture tablets, hydrogen peroxide, etc.) on their delicate surface, so what to do? How to remove coffee and tea stains from the inside of your precious cups?
Yes, indeed. Just plain old table salt.
Rinse out the cup with cool water, and then sprinkle a thin layer of table salt all around the inside of the cup. The moist surface keeps the salt adhered to the cup. Let it sit for a minute. Now put your index finger to work. Well, not work really — just a gentle circular massage of the cup’s surface where the stain is. Within seconds you’ll see the stain absorbed into the salt. The salt turns a mucky colour. Keep massaging the surface until the stain is completely removed. It’s quick. It’s fast. It’s easy and cheap and, trust me, it works.
When I discovered this method of removing stains from fine bone china cups, I shouted at Mr Misk: “ WOW! Come look at this! Come quick!”
He ran. All excited. Thought I’d won the lottery. Obviously, he wasn’t nearly as excited as I was because he thought he’d just become rich rather than just stain-free. But that’s men for you. I get excited about stain removal; he doesn’t.
How do you remove coffee or tea stains from your cups?