Thursday, 24 November 2011

Bacon Jam

The team behind our local Walthamstow grocer, bakery, pizzeria, bar and restaurant, known collectively as Eat 17, are a pretty industrious and ambitious bunch. Brand experts and manufacturer secured, they are branching out into own-brand foodstuffs, starting with this rather clever bacon jam.

I've not always been keen on Eat 17. Admittedly, Walthamstow has benefited from its looming presence and smart facade, but with no competition breathing down its neck, it started to get a bit full of itself. Last year, we boycotted it after a series of visits were ruined by snooty staff, shoddy service, and overpriced mediocre food. Custom was taken for granted, tolerated even. But since noticing their involvement in the local E17 Art Trail, and being impressed by the baked goods, we're prepared to give them another chance.

Infinitely superior to standard savoury relishes, their bacon jam it is a complex sweet-smokey savoury spread. Eat 17 restaurant has been serving it for a while on their burgers and, apparently, it was the enthusiastic clamour from regular customers that urged them to start selling it. It has a dense consistency and resembles the sweet richness of fig jam, but 'with bits in'. Bacon-y bits. Ingredients include smoked bacon (award-winning Denhay's Dry Cured bacon), red onion, maple syrup, bourbon, garlic, coffee, rosemary, and chilli.

I was going to say it's innovative, but research and a Twitter exchange with Eat like a Girl - who has come up with two recipes; one she's blogged, the other she's saving for her next book - informs me otherwise. It's big in the US (Skillet are the main manufacturer, bloggers love it), and is made of roughly the same ingredients.

I used it in much the same way as fig jam or onion marmalade. The label suggests spreading it on toast, serving it with cheese, adding it to a burger, or a pasta sauce, and here are some other ideas:
  • Smear it over butternut squash before roasting
  • Spread it on corn on the cob before wrapping in tin foil and grilling
  • Pop a bit on top of grilled/baked peach or apricot, with a crumbling of goat's cheese
  • Dot over a tomato-based pizza before adding cheese, baking, and garnishing with basil or rocket
  • Smother an oatcake with it before crumbling liberally with blue cheese or aged gruyere
  • Spread it over a toasted muffin before plopping a poached egg on top
  • Use it to pimp up a BLT, roast chicken, or a simple mustardy dressing
You can buy it online (£3.60 for 110g), or purchase it from the Spar shop on Orford Road, Walthamstow, though I hear rumour that it will be available in outlets across the capital in the next few months. It's a great stocking gift for food lovers.

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