Sycamore Smyth X BAM Bacon (Part 2)

In which I cook more bacon, deliver Christmas and pay the Ferryman...

Today I bring you the second part of my culinary collaboration with the good people at BAM Food. They were kind enough to send me some of their dry-cured, hot-smoked bacon and I've been playing around with recipes to show it off. Last week I made some sweet potato pancakes to highlight the chilli version and this time round it's the turn of garlic-flavoured rashers.

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It's been quite cold outside. You might have noticed. Or had the fact mentioned in every single conversation you've participated in for the last fortnight. Anyway. I responded to the quite-coldness by making soup. Both the weather and the garlic bacon called for something creamy and comforting, soothing but substantial. This cauliflower and white bean number is incredibly simple to make, keeps out the cold like a cashmere blanket and makes a nice subtle backdrop for crispy bits of garlicky bacon. 

It's all finished off with the lactic sharpness of sour cream and some chopped chives to echo the allium of the bacon. Don't forget some crusty bread for dipping. 

Cauliflower & Cannellini Bean Soup with BAM Garlic Bacon (Serves 4-6)

  • Knob of butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 400g tin cannellini beans, drained
  • 1ltr chicken stock
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

To serve

  • 4 rashers BAM garlic bacon
  • Sour cream
  • Chives
  • Crusty bread

If Ifs And Ands Were Pots And Pans

  • Any other white bean would work instead of cannellini. They probbaly give the smoothest finish but use whatever's in the cupboard. 
  • Roasting the cauliflower first would give a more robust, nutty flavour. 
  • You don't really need any dairy in the soup as the beans alone give it quite a velvety texture but a dash of cream wouldn't go amiss if you wanted to make it richer, perhaps to serve in small quantities as a starter?

Melt a little butter in a large saucepan. Chop the onion and cook until thoroughly softened and beginning to brown a little round the edges. Add the cauliflower along with the chicken stock and simmer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile chop the bacon into matchsticks. Put them in a small frying pan and cook until golden brown and beginning to crisp. Use a gentle heat so the fat renders properly. When the cauliflower is soft, pour the contents of the slarge pan into a blender, add the drained beans and whizz until super smooth. Reheat and season with salt, pepper and a little lemon juice. Serve with a swirl of sour cream, the bacon and a sprinkling on finely chopped chives.

Thanks again to BAM Foods. They're doing an exciting-looking Christmas Bacon Box which is definitely worth checking out. 

So what else is going on? It's been a busy week with lots of Christmassy jobs. I dropped off a fully-prepped three course Christmas meal for a client on Saturday and was delighted to get a text the next day proclaiming it  the "BEST ever!!!"

So it's been hard work but worth it. Yet what's the point of being your own boss if you don't take advantage of the flexible hours? I shuffled stuff around on Wednesday in order to make it to a matinee of The Ferryman. Which was excellent. It's had a lot of "play of the year" hype but deservedly so (I think my personal play of the year was Rotterdam but this was a close second). I still get goosebumps thinking about the end to Jerusalem, Jez Butterworth's last play and had an equally physical reaction to the closing moments here.

It's set during the Troubles on a farm in County Armagh and there's a lovely scene in the second act where the whole extended family sit down to a Harvest Feast. There was a goose along with much laughter and dancing. Is it wrong that, even throughout my enjoyment of the play with it's subtle evocation of family dynamics, inescapable threat of the IRA etc, I was wondering what side dishes there were? 


Current Kitchen Listening: The West Wing Weekly

If you're a fan of the West Wing and haven't started listening to this yet then I urge you to do so. The premise is simple: each week Hrishikesh Hirway (who also makes the excellent Song Exploder podcast) and Joshua Malina (who played Will Bailey on the show), discuss an episode. They talk to cast and crew members about their time on the show as well as political lobbyists, speech writers etc. to get an idea about the issues being explored. It's all interesting but the real joy is the chemistry between Hrishi and Joshy. They're super smart and super funny providing both insight and in-jokes.

It's probably my podcast highlight of the week but this is a double edged sword as I'm always a little sad once I've finished listening and I'm deprived of their company for another seven days. I have tickets to see them when they come to London for a live episode next year and am nearly as excited about it as I am about seeing Hamilton. What's Next?

Clare HealComment