Bacon Chops with Garlic Mushrooms

Serves: 4  :  Cals per portion: 252

  • Heat 15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil and 25g (1oz) butter in a frying pan. Add 225g (8oz) quartered mushrooms and two crushed garlic cloves. Fry for 5 mins, then stir in 100g (4oz) trimmed and chopped green beans and fry for a further 5 mins until beans are just tender. Season.
  • Meanwhile, spread a little smooth mustard on each side of four bacon chops and cook in a cast iron pan or under a medium grill for 4 mins on each side until tender and crisp at the edges.
  • Serve the bacon chops with garlic mushrooms, beans and boiled rice.

Bacon, Cheese and Onion Slice

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 1 tblsp cooking oil; 2 onions, finely chopped; 8oz (225g) puff pastry; English or Dijon mustard; 4oz (100g) smoked bacon, chopped; 4oz (100g) cheddar cheese, grated; sesame seeds, to garnish

  • This slice makes great canapés, finger snacks or an accompaniment to soup.
  • Most people buy ready-made puff pastry but if you want to make your own, here’s how. Melt 2oz (50g) butter, cool. Leave 5oz (150g) butter to soften. Sift 7oz (200g) plain flour and pinch of salt into a bowl. Make well in centre, pour in about 4 fl oz (120ml) cold water, a few drops lemon juice and the melt butter. Knead lightly, then leave to rest for 20 mins. On a floured board, roll pastry from 4 sides, leaving a lump in centre – dough should look like a crossroads. Sit remaining butter on the centre lump of the dough and fold over each pastry flap. Pat into a rectangle measuring about 6 x 12in (15 x 30cm), refrigerate for 10-15 mins. Roll pastry lengthways until double in length. Fold both ends into centre, then fold once more. This is called a double turn. Complete process a further 3 times. Always roll with folded edge on left and leave to rest for 20-30 mins in fridge before each turn. Leave pastry in fridge for a further 30 mins before using. This makes roughly 1 lb (450g) of pastry but you can freeze the excess.
  • In a large frying pan, heat oil and fry onions for a few minutes until softened. Make sure onions do not brown. Allow to cool.
  • Roll out puff pastry very thinly into a 12in (30cm) square. Cut square in half and on one half only, spread a little mustard, according to your taste. Then spread with the onions, bacon and cheese and cover with the remaining pastry half. Roll up pastry parcel like a Swiss roll, then leave to rest in fridge for 1-2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas Mark 7. Remove roll from fridge, cut into ¾ in (18mm) slices, place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 12-15 mins until golden.

Bacon and Potato Omelette

Serves : 2   :    Cals per portion: 430

  • In a medium sized frying pan, dry fry four rashers of streaky bacon for 2-3 mins until just cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and cut each rasher in half, then set aside.
  • Beat five eggs with 45ml (3 tblsp) milk and season. Add a large knob of butter to the pan and when it’s foaming pour in the eggs. Cook for 2-3 mins until just beginning to set.
  • Cut two plum tomatoes into wedges and add to the pan with the bacon strips and 225g (8oz) cooked and sliced new potatoes. Place the pan under a preheated grill for a further 3-4 mins until just set and golden brown.
  • Serve straight from the pan sprinkled with ground black pepper and fresh chopped chives, if liked.

Beef and Bacon Olives with Lemon & Thyme

A Gary Rhodes recipe

This slowly braised beef, stuffed with bacon then served in its own sauce, is a real rich classic and a meal from one pot. The texture of the meat in this dish becomes really moist and tender, while the bacon and lemon flavours go together so well. I like to use rashers of back bacon (smoked or unsmoked) at least ¼ in (5mm) thick. This will give you plenty of meat content in the rolled olives. Incidentally, to avoid confusion, anything rolled up and secured with a cocktail stick is an “olive”.

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 4 x 4-6oz (100g – 175g) slices beef topside or rump; 1 tsp freshly chopped thyme; finely grated zest of 1-2 lemons; 4 x ¼ in thick (5mm) rashers back bacon; oil; 1 ½ – 2 pints (900ml – 1.2 litres) beef or chicken stock; 1 garlic clove; 1 small thyme sprig; 2-3 carrots; 2 onions; 1 large swede; 3 celery sticks; 2-3 large potatoes; 1 leek; 2oz (50g) butter

  • Place the beef slices between 2 sheets of cling-film and flatten with a rolling pin, to give escalopes ¼ in (5mm) thick. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Mix together the chopped thyme and grated lemon zest and sprinkle over each beef escalope. Then lay a rasher of bacon on top of each escalope and roll up to make an olive. Secure each with two cocktail sticks and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a little oil in a frying pan, add the olives and brown evenly. Then remove them from the frying pan and place in a saucepan with the stock. Add the garlic and thyme sprig. Then bring the stock to the simmer and cook for 1 – 1 ½ hours, skimming any impurities from the surface of the stock.
  • Prepare all the vegetables and chop them into ¾ in (2cm) dice. Then add them – except the leek – to the stock for the last 20-25 minutes of cooking time. Add the leek to the pan for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  • Strain 10fl oz (300ml) stock into a saucepan, boil to reduce by half. Whisk in butter. To serve, remove thyme sprig and garlic, spoon veg into centre of plates or bowls. Sit olives on top, remove cocktail sticks, spoon the sauce over.

For braising the beef olives:

A Gary Rhodes recipe book:

Bacon & Onion Tart

Serves: 6; Prep: 15 minutes; Cook: 40-50 minutes; Cals per portion: 354

A crispy short-crust pastry tart with a creamy onion filling – ideal for a summer picnic.

Ingredients:
Pastry: 6oz/175g plain flour; 1/2 tsp/2.5ml salt; 3oz/75g hard margarine; 2-3 tblsp/30-45ml water
Filling: 2oz/50g butter; 1 lb/450g onions, chopped; 2 rashers bacon, chopped; 1 1/2oz/40g flour; 7 fl oz/200ml milk; 2 eggs; salt and freshly ground black pepper; 8 in / 21cm flan tin, greased

  • Preheat the oven to Mark 5 / 375oF / 190oC. Sieve the flour and salt into a small bowl. Cut margarine into small pieces and rub it into flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough cold water to mix to a firm dough. Roll out on floured board and line the tin.
  • Melt butter in pan, add onions and bacon and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, stir in flour and mix well. Beat milk with eggs and pour over onions, mixing well. Season and pour into flan case. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve.

Bacon and Mushroom Tagliatelle

Serves: 4; Prep: 5 mins; Cook: 15 mins; Cals per portion: 595

Ingredients: 2 x 5 ml tbsp olive oil; 1 onion, chopped; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 225g/8oz rind-less smoked back bacon, chopped; 115g/4oz button mushrooms, sliced; 1 x 15ml tbsp tomato puree; 1 x 550g jar passata; 1 x 15ml tbsp red wine vinegar; 2 x 15ml tbsp capers or pitted green olives, drained; pinch of sugar; freshly ground pepper; 335g/12oz Egg Tagliatelle; 1 x 15ml tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 x 5ml tsp dried oregano

* Heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-5 mins or until softened. Stir in bacon and mushrooms and cook for 5 mins.
* Stir in the tomato puree, passata, wine vinegar, capers and sugar. Season the mixture generously with fresh ground black pepper, then simmer for 5 mins.
* Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add taleteller and cook for 5 mins, or until al dente. Drain well, then toss with oregano and bacon sauce.
TIP: For extra flavour add a vegetable or chicken stock cube to the water while cooking pasta.

Bacon & Mixed Root Vegetable Rosti

Serves: 4; Prep: 15 mins; Cook: 20 mins

Adapted from a traditional Swiss recipe based on potatoes, this variation can be eaten as a meal in itself.

Ingredients: 1 lb /450g potatoes; 8oz/225g parsnips; 8oz/225g carrots, peeled and grated; 4 rashers smoked back bacon, diced; salt and fresh ground black pepper; 4 tbsp/60ml chopped fresh chives; 1oz/25g butter; 2 tblsp/30ml olive oil.

  • Cook the potatoes in their skins in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.
  • Cook parsnips in the same way until tender, drain and leave to cool. Peel both the vegetables, coarsely grate them and mix with the carrots.
  • Fry the bacon until crisp and mix with the grated vegetables. Season well and mix in the chives.
  • Heat the butter and half the oil in a 23cm;/9in heavy based (preferably non-stock) frying pan. When hot, spread the vegetable mixture evenly into the pan. Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes. To turn the rosti over, place a plate that fits snugly over it. Turn the rosti out onto the plate.
  • Add the remaining oil to the pan and, when it’s sizzling, slide the rosti back into the pan, cooked side uppermost.
    Cook for a further 10 minutes, adding the remaining oil to the pan. Turn out onto a plate and serve hot.

Tip: The rosti can be cooked in the oven in which case you don’t have to reverse it onto a plate. Simply cook as described for the first 10 minutes, then put in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden.

Courgette and Bacon Calzoni

Courgettes, basil and smoked streaky bacon make a really delicious filling for this Italian pasty known as calzone.

Serves: 4; Prep: 15 mins plus proving time; Cook: 15 mins; Cals per portion: 617

Ingredients: 30ml ( 2tbsp) olive oil; 2 cloves of garlic, crushed; 350g (12oz) courgettes, thinly sliced; 15ml (1 tbsp) white wine vinegar; 30ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh basil; 280g (10 ½ oz) wholemeal pizza base mix; 225g (8oz) streaky bacon, crisply grilled and roughly chopped; 175g (6oz) gruyere cheese, thinly sliced.

1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the garlic and courgettes until tender. Add the white wine vinegar and chopped basil and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until all the excess moisture has evaporated. Remove from the heat.
2. Make up pizza dough according to the instructions. Divide into four and roll into circles measuring 15cm (6in) in diameter.
3. Preheat the oven to Mark 6 (200oC/400oF). Place the courgette mixture on half of each base. Top with 175g (6oz) bacon and gruyere cheese. Wet the edge of the base with water, fold over and seal together.
4. Place on a greased baking tray and cover with greased clingfilm. Leave in a warm place for 20-30 minutes to prove.
5. Cook for 10 minutes and remove from the oven. Place the remaining bacon on top of each calzone. Return to the oven and cook for 5 minutes until piping hot and golden brown.

Avocado and Sun-Dried Tomato and Bacon

This dish of avocados with sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella slices, artichokes hearts and crisp bacon is a superb main course salad packed with flavours. The tomatoes can be bought dried, and need soaking in water to soften before use, or in oil in a jar ready for use. Supermarkets stock them.

Serves: 4; Prep time: 20 mins; Cook time: 5 mins

Approximate nutritional values per portion: 600 calories; 17g protein; 50g fat; 10g carbohydrate

Ingredients: 6oz (175g) back bacon, derided and chopped; 1 tblsp oil; 4oz (100g) sun-dried tomatoes in oil; 14oz (400g) canned artichokes hearts; 6oz (175g) mozzarella; 1 avocado; lemon juice

For the dressing: 4 tblsp olive oil; 1 tblsp white wine vinegar; 1 clove garlic, crushed; ½ tsp Dijon mustard; salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • Fry the bacon in a little oil until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper. Reserve. Cut sun-dried tomatoes into thick strips. Quarter artichoke hearts and cut mozzarella into thin slices. Place these in a bowl with the bacon and tomatoes.
  • Peel and coarsely chop the avocado. Drizzle with lemon juice, then add to bowl.
  • Shake all the dressing ingredients together in a screw-top jar then pour over contents of the bowl. Toss gently to avoid damaging the avocado. Serve immediately.

Other Italian recipes

Something for serving the salad.

Bacon and Courgette Risotto

Here’s a filling, one-pot meal that’s based on a traditional Italian recipe. For perfect tender rice cooked to a creamy consistency, you need to be patient and stir in the hot stock slowly. If you don’t rush this part, you won’t be disappointed.

Serves: 6; Cost: £3; Time to prepare: 15 mins; Time to cook: 25 mins; Cals per portion: 510

Ingredients: 1 large onion; 2 garlic cloves; 3 bacon chops; 85g (3oz) butter; 500g (1 lb 2oz) risotto rice; 1.7 litres (3pt) hot chicken or vegetable stock; 115g (4oz) mushrooms; 2 large courgettes, grated; 60ml (4 tbsp) fresh chopped chives; 45ml (3 tbsp) fresh chopped parsley; 75g (2 3/4oz) Parmesan cheese, grated; Extra Parmesan for shavings

  • Peel and chop onion, peel and crush garlic. Trim fat from the bacon chops and discard. Cut bacon into cubes. Heat half the butter in a large pan. Add onion, garlic and bacon and gently fry for 5 mins.
  • Tip in the rice and cook for a couple of mins, stirring so rice grains are coated. Add 300ml (½ pt) hot stock and the mushrooms. Stir frequently, to keep rice grains separate, until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Add a large ladleful of stock, then continue adding small amounts of stock, stirring and waiting until all the liquid has been absorbed before adding more. Repeat until all liquid is finished and the rice tender.
  • Turn off heat when risotto is creamy. Stir in courgettes, chives, parsley, remaining butter and grated Parmesan. Make parmesan shavings using a vegetable peeler. Sprinkle over and serve.