Big Fuck Off Bacon Bomb

Posted on: 24 February 2012 3 comments

There are certain moments, when it quite simply sucks to be Jewish/Muslim/Vegetarian.  Supermodels have been known to say that no meal tastes as good as skinny feels. Well I’m sorry if I offend anyone here, but no religion, food doctrine/dietary concern is as fulfilling as a rasher and a ride.

Fans of cured pig meat, should be aware that there is an actual higher level to which you can bring this humble offering. It aint just there to grease up your fry or pimp out your pasta – to truly elevate your rasher, you need to get your shit together and make a Big Fuck Off Bacon Bomb.

This dish incorporates pretty much everything that I love about anything edible – barbecue sauce, loads of spicy American style seasonings, the combination of beef and pork mince and of course, shitloads of bacon. It requires that you make a lattice/plaid of bacon that you stuff with the mince and whatever else you reckon you can squeeze in there.  Not a huge amount to it, but it looks the bollocks and let’s face it, Bacon Bomb has got to be one of the coolest names of any dish ever.


30 thin cut strips of Bacon. I would as always, recommend Hick’s –

1 pound of  beef mince

1 pound of pork mince

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of smoked sweet paprika

1 teaspoon of mustard powder

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

A jar of your favorite barbecue sauce or relish, if you want you can whizz up some of my rib basting sauce that I put together on a previous recipe, check it out here.

1 bulb of garlic

1 green pepper

2 small onions


Spread some olive oil on the garlic, onions and pepper and roast them on a 220 degree oven.  They’re done when they’ve coloured nicely and softened up.  Chop and slice them all up accordingly and put it aside.

Combine the dry ingredients for your spice mix.

Combine the beef and pork mince in a big bowl. Take out half and flatten it in a rectangular shape. Dust the either side with your spice mix then place half the roasted veg along the centre of the meat. Fold either side of the meat into the other tightly so that you have a big sausage looking thing.


Do the same thing all over again so that you have two. You now have to start assembling the bacon lattice. Do this by laying out odd numbers of rashers right next to each other, say 7 for a decent sized one. You then place 2 rashers in the centre of that and start folding the odd number of rashers into the centre rashers. Once they’re in, bring them back and then place another 2 rashers right next to the centre 2 and repeat the process so you have the plaid/lattice thing going on and you basically have a carpet of bacon. This video does a far better job of explaining the whole thing, it’s worth watching, although his Aussie accent is exceptionally annoying.


Again repeat so that you have two. Then what you do is, you get your meat roll, tuck the edge of the bacon lattice underneath it tightly and start rolling it all so that the bacon eventually covers it all up. Keep it as tight as possible as you’re rolling. If it aint tightly held together when you cook it, it will just turn to shit.


You then paint on your barbecue sauce and lash them both in the oven for about an hour and 15 minutes at 220 degrees centigrade. I recommend basting more sauce whenever you think it’s needed.


If you want to give it an extra bit of smoke, lash them on the barbie for a couple of minutes.


Let them sit for ten minutes before you carve them up.  The centre will have the roasted veg surrounded by juicy spicy meat and then the outer layer will be a barbecued piece of crunchy goodness. Seriously, what’s not to like? Give it a go lads.

Myself and the For Food’s Sake crew had a wicked time last night in The Science Gallery. If you were among the capacity crowd that came along, many thanks for making it! Aoife put together a brilliant set of panelists to cover discussions that ranged from cooking it yourself, doing it yourself and growing it yourself. All of that worked beautifully within the context of what we were trying to explore, “What Will Your Future Taste Like?” If you weren’t there last night then do yourselves a favour and check out these links: Loads of really interesting bits and pieces there lads, check them out.

We also had a brilliant demo on how to skin a rabbit from Ed Hick and Chef Shaun Hanna from The Oarsman in Carrick On Shannon made a deadly salad that contained some amazing dehydrated ingredients.  I was on hand myself showing everyone how to make a smoked Bloody Mary by using the very cool Smoking Gun device. And as I had promised the week before I also made a special Cosmopolitan with spherified caviars of Grand Marnier.  Should you want to attempt such a cocktail, go purchase a spherification kit from these lads here and then do the following:


1.6 g of sodium alginate

100 ml of low calcium water, such as Deep River Rock

140 ml of Grand Marnier

2.5 g of calcium chloride

500 ml of Deep River Rock water

1 shot of ABSOLUT Citron

2 shots of cranberry juice

a squeeze of lime juice


Get a soup blender out and blitz the alginate with the 100 ml of water. Let it sit with a lid on it, in a fridge overnight. This HAS to happen as you need to let the air bubbles escape.

The next day, you add in the Grand Marnier by gently stirring it in. You then blitz the calcium chloride into the 500 ml of water bath to create your water bath.

Take your syringe and suck up about 15 ml of the alginated mix. Place the syring about 6 inches above the water bath and start dropping it in bit by bit. Keep a steady straight hand so that your shapes are even.

Leave them in there for no longer than 2 minutes so that the reaction can take place, ie the calcium makes an outer filament around the Grand Marnier and you still have liquid on the inside of it. While that takes place, stir your vodka with the cranberry and lime with some ice. You then strain the caviars from the water bath and place them in a glass with some fizzy water to wash them. You then strain them and put them into your cocktail glass. Then you pour the booze on top. You should be left with something like this.


Aoife McElwain very kindly took that shot. She was one of many who gave us a dig out last night. Big shout out to her too! For Food’s Sake is really just about talking about and tasting food. Look us up on the auld buke or follow what myself and Aoife Carrigy have to share about it all. The more the merrier.

The Flash Gordon Cosmo

Posted on: 17 February 2012 No comments

In my last day of school, our art teacher was trying to impart some pearls of wisdom onto us by letting us know what the future might entail, in a very general sense of maturing and becoming a grown up. “You’ll know you’ve finally gotten old when shopkeepers stop following you around clothing stores.”

I think that particular day  of note came when I was about 22. And there have certainly been quite a few since, like the time when I couldn’t get out of bed because of a banjaxed back and more recently when I purchased an electronic scales and didn’t even get one raised eyebrow from the staff.

Urban degenerates such as my dear self are more than aware that 99.9% of electronic scales are NEVER in fact used for catering. They are usually the necessary gadget for those who choose to make their living from peddling drugs.  Yet there I was, only a couple of weeks ago, bucking all consumer trends by kitting out The Sugar Club with a battery operated weighing device so that we could learn more about the wonderful world of Molecular Mixology!

This latest form of getting locked, was something that tweaked my interest after I found out about an exhibit currently taking place in The Science Gallery, called EDIBLE. It’s covering a wide array of topics such as what we can learn from modern technological breakthroughs in food production and how we as eaters of food influence the planet’s biological and ecological landscape. With what myself and the happy crew behind For Food’s Sake get up to, EDIBLE seemed like the perfect platform for us to lash out our first event of 2012 from. So on Feb 23rd from 6pm we will be running amok in The Science Gallery with a food discussion and tasting night called: ” What Will Your Future Taste Like?” You can hit that link for full details but essentially, we are breaking it down as a quick series of chats and demos all around the themes of Do It Yourself, Cook It Yourself, Find It Yourself and Make It Yourself.  There are some extremely knowledgeable people participating both as speakers and giving demonstrations.  It’s only a fiver in and as always with For Food’s Sake, we will have some very tasty free food for you all to sample.

So as a way for a total Scientific failure such as moi to embrace what the future can bring, I decided I would give this molecular mixology a go by trying to learn all about spherification.  This is an extremely precise method of making slightly jellied pearls of liquid to serve on food or indeed on cocktails. It was initially rolled out by Ferran Adria in El Bulli Restaurant so as you may well imagine, it aint bloody easy to pull off.  What happens is, you mix a powdered alginate (a natural substance that makes a type of jelly) into whatever liquid product you so wish to use – e.g, liquidized olive or even something boozy – like Cointreau.  You then deftly drop the alginated solution into a water bath that you mix with a calcium powder. The calcium rich water reacts with the alginated liquid by creating an instant outer filament around the drop of liquid.  Out of nowhere a little sphere will appear in the bath that looks similar to a gel capsule but is extremely soft on the outside, so that it when goes in your mouth you have a mini explosion of liquid that is released by the exertion of the tiniest bit of pressure.

Anyhoop, there is no great secret to any of this malarkey if you fancy giving it a go, but there a shitload of mistakes you can make that are very annoying and time consuming. I being of feeble mind, have made pretty much made all of them.  Having said that, when you do get spherification right, it’s absolutely deadly.



This is a sci fi, pimped out Cosmopolitan with spherified gems of Cointreau. Various online recipes that I researched were all wrong. In a first for this auld site, I will not be sharing the recipe and all the million and one pitfalls you can avoid to getting it down. Instead, if you pop along to The Science Gallery on Thursday I will be giving a quick demo on how it’s done. I can’t guarantee a Gaybo with one for “everyone in the audience” but sure, it’ll still be some craic.



Panti’s Valentine Velvet Cupcakes

Posted on: 10 February 2012 No comments

Two major social events are soon to take place on the Irish Calendar that I thought I could highlight this week, Valentine’s Day and the last ever Alternative Miss Ireland. So I figured if I sat down with Panti, the grand dame of Irish drag and romance, I’d kill two birds with the one bird as it were and cover them both.

Alternative Miss Ireland is by far the most glamorous and spectacular of annual Irish pageants, leaving the likes of The Rose of Tralee looking more like The Lovely Girls Contest on Craggy Island. Operating as a non profit collective, it raises much needed funds for Irish HIV/Aids organizations – over €335,000 to date. Out of 18 AMI’s that have taken place, Panti has hosted 17 of them. And as we bid it farewell, I had to ask her about some of her AMI highlights. One incident definitely stands out as quite uinique. “The cabaret singer and chanteuse Agnes Bernelle, entered her dog in one year, that was the only animal contestant we’ve ever had.” Other noteworthy incidents have included, the all too many falling off stage accidents brought on by awkward costumes and “the time Veda threw her flowers and second prize trophy at the judges table when she didn’t get first. That was funny.” Apparently with everybody knowing that this is their final attempt at glory, competition has never been fiercer and outfit preparations are hitting extreme levels. So how will Panti keep up appearances and standards as the compere? What can we expect the hostess to be donning on the night? “I’ve had three different gowns especially made. One is best described as space glamour and the other two will have a more old school black + white movie, monochromatic look to them.” Contestants beware. You definitely need to up your game.

Valentine’s Day for Panti sounds like a slightly more dressed down affair, with every pun attended. Her ideal Valentine’s meal is breakfast on February 15th.  But should any aspiring handsome studs want to make it that far by cooking her dinner the night before, here are some food related suggestions that may act as deal breakers. If you really want to impress Panti with a 3 course culinary feast – there should be calamari to start, a Japanese dish called Katsudon as a main and a freshly made apple crumble for dessert. Or if you want to go all out, you could make some of these divine little cupcakes she’s become so fond of after becoming a fan of the BBC TV show, “The Great British Bake Off.” With a velvety smooth texture and a luxuriously rich and creamy topping, they would definitely be a beautiful ending to any dinner. And what’s best to serve them with I asked, “A nice pot of tea of course! You have to have tea with cupcakes! ” Well, you can take the lady out of Ireland…




2 eggs

150g of softened butter

350 g of sugar

450g self raising flour

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

½ teaspoon of salt, 250 ml buttermilk

2 tablespoons of red food colouring

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar

12 cupcake cases

Cream Cheese frosting (combine a packet of cream cheese with ½ cup butter, 2 cups sifted confectionery sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla)

Valentine’s Cake Hearts to garnish


Colour coordinating your evening wear to match your cupcakes – true class.


Beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well in between. Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a separate jug. Add alternate spoonfuls of each to mix, folding thoroughly after each addition until everything is combined.

Fill the dozen cases up to 2/3 with the mix and bake in a preheated oven at 150 degrees for twenty minutes.  When done, smother each one with a cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with lots and lots of love hearts!

Tickets are still available for Alternative Miss Ireland – this is your last chance folks. See you there!

This piece is also available to read in a far more reputable publication, today’s copy of  The Ticket in The Irish Times.


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