Earlier this year, on a dark, cold night in South London, a group of six bloggers gathered together to celebrate some gastronomic guilty pleasures – those things you really shouldn’t enjoy eating but oh, how you do. We had so much fun the first time round that we gathered again a couple of days ago for round two. I decided to step up my game this time and bring not one but two guilty pleasures, the first a regular in my repertoire and the second, one I’d been sitting on, just waiting for the right opportunity to make it.
We all arrived at host Niamh’s house, dripping wet from pelting rain but with bags of enthusiasm for the feasting ahead. As so many of us were to include pork in our offerings, we decided to re-name the meal ‘pork party’ and amused ourselves with the expected nature of extra traffic this would likely bring to our blogs, while nibbling on ‘canapes’ of cheese strings, babybels and dairylea dunkers, provided by Chris.
We decided to start the meal proper with some mini chorizo pizzas from Niamh, followed by my first GP of soft boiled eggs with buttery anchovy soldiers. Somehow I managed to hard boil the eggs and when Niamh cooked some more they were under-done; who knew food bloggers can’t even boil an egg?! Thankfully, the anchovy dippers went down a treat despite the double fail.
Next Lizzie whipped up some Spam pancakes or Spamcakes, as they were quickly re-named. These were wonderfully stodgy, with a salty hit from the spam – even better dunked in a dollop of hot sauce for a double GP hit. As we all scoffed the pancakes, a spicy, meaty aroma started to waft around the kitchen and Dan soon produced his ‘sleasy cheesy silly chilli'; nachos were melded together with an oozing layer of melted red Leicester, ready for scooping up piles of his frankly rather brilliant chilli. His secret apparently, is to add a splash of Dave’s Insanity Sauce plus a touch of our beloved swine meat. Always with the swine. It was meaty, fiery goodness and I ate rather too much of it. I won’t go into details.
Niamh did what she does best and whacked a big old lump of spiced pig belly in the oven, roasting until the crackling was bubbly crisp and the meat still juicy. You can never eat enough pork in our opinion, which brings me nicely onto my second contribution – David Lebovitz’s candied bacon ice cream (top photo). I even bought an ice cream maker just for this one recipe. I’ve only made ice cream once before and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, particularly now I don’t have to take it out of the freezer and stir it every couple of hours. One word of warning though, you’ve got to watch that bacon like a HAWK. I burnt two lots and totally ruined a baking tray in the process.
Once I’d finally managed to get it right, the bacon was chopped into teeny pieces and stirred through the ice cream at the last minute. The end result was a vanilla scented fudgy flavour from the brown sugar, although I was a little disappointed that it didn’t taste more bacon-y so I candied some extra at the last minute to sprinkle on top. If you are the least bit sceptical about bacon ice cream let me reassure you, it really does work. Think bacon with maple syrup and honey glazed ham – the sweet/smoke/meat combo is a winner.
So there you have it – an unashamed pork-fest, with a bit of plastic cheese and anchovy dippers thrown in. Guilty pleasures ahoy. Dan and Denise also brought along some interesting wines, which you can read about on their blogs. My personal favourite was the Alois Lageder Gewürztraminer, which made a valiant attempt at taming that ferocious beast of a chilli. The wine flowed, the food kept-a-comin’ and the revelery was typically raucous. We faced some nasty weather conditions, a broken down fridge, a double egg disaster and a crackling fail but ultimately, we triumphed, such is our dedication to the filthy snack.
You can see my full Flickr set from the evening here.
Thanks to Niamh for the top photo.