Fluffy Bacon Pancakes

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In your food processor, mix 135g SR flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 tablespoons caster sugar, 130ml milk, 1 large egg (beaten), a tablespoon of butter (melted).  Leave to sit while you start grilling the bacon.

Put your frying pan over a medium heat.  When it starts to warm, rub a thin layer of butter over the base.  Use a dessertspoon to dod four smallish spoonfuls of the mixture onto the frying pan.  Turn over as soon as you see bubbles forming.  When both sides of the pancakes are golden, keep them warm in a low oven.  Smear your pan with butter between batches as necessary.

Serve with the bacon and maple syrup.

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Omelette Savoyarde

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Preheat the grill.  Boil 3 large potatoes (diced into 1cm squares) in salted water and drain.  Fry a finely diced onion in some olive oil and butter with six slices of bacon, snipped into small pieces, until the onion is soft and the bacon browning slightly.  Turn up the heat towards the end to crisp up the bacon, then reduce the heat to medium again. Add the drained potatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes.  Add more oil if necessary.

Whisk up 6 large eggs with 3 tablespoons of milk and a good pinch of sea salt.  Stir in a tablespoon of grated gruyère cheese.  Pour the egg mixture into the frying pan, making sure that the potatoes are well distributed.  Cook for about 4 minutes on the stove top, before sprinkling with a lot more gruyère and browning under a hot grill.  Serve with salad and nice bread.

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Bacon

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This is such an easy, delicious and quick mid-week meal.  My only regret is that I used streaky bacon rather than pancetta which would have sounded so much more sophisticated in the title.

Scatter some peeled, diced butternut squash over a baking tin.  Flatten 3 unpeeled garlic cloves with a knife and throw them in too, along with a really good glug of extra-virgin olive oil (about 5 tablespoons).  Roast these in a hot oven (180 – 190 degrees) for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add about 150g mushrooms (quartered), a red pepper (diced), some fresh sage leaves and about 200g streaky bacon, each slice cut into three pieces.  Pop some of the bacon over the top so that it crisps up well.  About 15 minutes in a hot oven should finish this off nicely, but it’s not right until the bacon is frazzled.

When it’s done, and your pasta is cooked, set the crispy bacon to one side while you finish off the rest of it.  Stir through about a dessertspoonful of freshly grated parmesan and plenty of salt and pepper.

It would, of course, be just as delicious and even more colourful if you used chorizo instead of bacon.

Stir all of the vegetables complete with the garlic-infused oil into the pasta and divide between your plates.  Finish with a sprinkling of sage, parsley, parmesan and a couple of bits of artistically arranged bacon.

Flammekueche

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If you roll the dough thinly enough, this amount of dough is enough for the whole family.  Use 2 big baking trays covered with a non-stick sheet.

Perfect served with a rocket salad and either a nice glass of wheat beer or a Riesling.

Stir together 500g strong white flour, a sachet of easy-blend yeast and 2 teaspoons of salt.

Put 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of honey into a measuring jug, and top up the jug with warm (not too hot) water up to the 300ml mark.  Stir.

Don’t be too eager; you probably won’t need all of the liquid.

Pour in about half of the liquid, then use your hand to work in a bit more.  Keep pushing and pulling the dough around the bowl until all of the flour is incorporated, adding a little bit more liquid until it feels right.  Don’t worry if it goes sticky.  It can easily be rescued with a bit more flour.  Knead for at least 10 minutes, until it forms a smooth ball.

Cover the bowl with cling film and leave anywhere not too cold for about 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry about 4 thinly sliced onions in one frying pan and a packet of streaky bacon (finely snipped with scissors) in another.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Divide the dough into four pieces.  Flatten and work each piece with a rolling pin, then put them onto the two baking trays.  Make sure they are really, really thin.

Smear each piece of dough with a few tablespoons of crème fraîche, right up to the edges.  Sprinkle the bacon over the top, finishing with a generous flourish of onion.  You might want to grind some black pepper or nutmeg over the top.

Pop into a hot oven for 15 – 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Of course, you could turn half of the dough into pizzas or garlic bread.  Or save some for your breakfast bread rolls.  All that domesticity with one batch of dough!

Pasta with Bacon, Mushrooms and Tomatoes

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It’s not terribly original, but it’s a Monday night family dinner which takes about thirty minutes from start to finish, and that’s got to be good.  The only essential ingredients are the onion, chilli, bacon, tomatoes and pasta.  Everything else is just a bonus.

1 onion

1 chilli

100g mushrooms

1 small packet good quality lardons

1 tin chopped tomatoes

pasta

4 – 5 leaves swiss chard

a tablespoon pinenuts (quickly dry-fried for a minute)

fresh and dried basil

salt (be careful – the lardons will be salty!) and pepper to taste

Fry the onion and chilli in a tiny bit of oil, adding the lardons after just a minute. Increase the heat just enough to brown the lardons, but keep stirring and turn down again if the onion starts to catch.

When they are cooked, add the mushrooms and continue to stir over a medium heat.

Add the tomatoes and dried basil, plus a third of a tin of water.  Pop the lid on and cook gently.  After about 10 minutes, start cooking your pasta, and at the same time,add the finely chopped chard to your tomato pan.

When the pasta is done, serve it with the tomato sauce, sprinkled with basil leaves and the toasted pinenuts.