Here I am, back again and no real change in the weather. It being the beginning of July, I had mulled over the notion of calling this post ‘Summer in Dublin’, referencing the hit single by Irish band, Bagatelle. In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to do so, given the fact it’s been raining all night with no indication of stopping anytime soon. Of course, this being Ireland, we grin and bear it, which is what I’m doing too.
David Bowie released his first hit single, ‘Space Oddity’ in June 1969. In it, he introduced us to Major Tom, a fictional astronaut who blasts off into space, only to lose contact after uttering his final words, “Tell my wife I love her very much”. Move forward to 1980 and Major Tom is back on our radars. ‘Ashes to Ashes’ was the first cut from Bowie’s ‘Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)’ and reached number 1 in the UK singles charts [it peaked at number 4 here in Ireland]. Its iconic video featured Bowie in a Pierrot outfit and also featured Blitz Kids such as Visage’s Steve Strange, and at the time, was the most expensive music video ever produced, costing £250,000.00 to make. Our astronaut features in the song’s lyrics, albeit with strange references; “We know Major Tom’s a junkie” and “My mother said, to get things done, you better not mess with Major Tom”. Bowie himself described the song as ‘a 1980s nursery rhyme’, but later added that with ‘Ashes to Ashes’, he was ‘wrapping up the Seventies” for himself. So, now we know.
If somebody asked me what my food find of 2012 was, I’d have absolutely no hesitation in saying the Honest 2 Goodness food market in Glasnevin. It’s become part of our weekend now, and we always find something new and unexpected when we visit. The butcher counter is always busy, with good reason. The beef and lamb we’ve got have been of an excellent quality and great value to boot. Fruit and vegetables look fresh and vibrant – they may be ever so slightly more expensive than in the supermarket, but I’m loath to buy anything in Tesco anymore as the quality is consistently bad. But, there’s one reason in particular I keep going back to Glasnevin on Saturday mornings, and that reason is a gentleman by the name of Peter Whelan. Better known as The Whole Hoggs, I’ve already mentioned Peter in this post, where I sung the praises of his pork chops. He also sells a variety of flavoured sausages, but it’s his rashers that have really sealed the deal for me.
The Sybarette was down in Spain with some of her friends recently and I had the run of the house for the weekend. It had been in my head for quite a while to experiment with making bacon dust, but I’d never quite got around to the practical aspect of it. So, early Saturday morning, I went to visit Peter and acquired some of his finest specimens of the rasher variety.
Back at home, I preheated the oven to 150ºC, placed the rashers on a rack and left them to bake for 35 minutes. If you’re going to try this at home, keep an eye on the oven, as the rind will go from crispy, golden crackling to charred in the blink of an eye. When baked, the rashers should be pretty dry with no moisture present. Give them a pat with some kitchen roll and allow to cool. Next up is the fun part. Once again, if you’re going to try this at home, buy an electric coffee grinder before doing so [I picked one up from Argos for under €25.00]. I’d already tried a hand blender and the Magimix – neither of which gave me a fine enough ground to be considered ‘dusty’ – before inspiration struck and my memory brought me back to grinding nutmeg and other spices using a hand-turned coffee grinder. Break the rashers into pieces and into the grinder with them. A quick zuzz and a rough powder was achieved; another blast reduced this to an acceptable dust-like consistency.
And that’s it, bacon dust in the blink of an eye.
As regards serving suggestions, I’ve tried it on Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream, chargrilled pineapple slices and fried eggs. Bizarrely, it was brilliant on all three [although Peter remains to be convinced about the ice cream], but feel free to experiment with other foodstuffs.