I won’t keep you long with this post. God knows, I’m busy and I’ll bet you are too. I finished my Christmas shopping today so am feeling a little smug and pleased with myself, but I have been known to leave it it until much closer to the death-knock.I know I’m not alone there so I’m offering a few gift suggestions for the foodie in your life. If you are still looking out for home made gift ideas this Bacon Jam with Bourbon may just change your life or the life of anyone you give it to, but the items listed below have changed my life in the kitchen for the better, too. These gifts aren’t expensive, but they are all favourites of mine and I’ll bet any one of them would be very welcome to anyone who is happiest in the kitchen.
A sharpening stone for knives. It’s simply a fact that it is more dangerous to use a blunt knife than a sharp one and most home cooks probably sharpen their knives incorrectly – me included, as I found out at a knife sharpening demonstration on the weekend. These stones are available in stores, with this particular brand available online at Adelaide’s Feast Fine Foods. They are inexpensive, easy to use and will last for years. Not the most glamorous gift, but super-practical.
Eat Your Books is an online recipe index for all of the cookbooks you already own. I love cookbooks and have hundreds of them, which is great for browsing, but very unwieldy if I’m looking for a particular recipe. Eat Your Books is a search engine which will search all of the books I own, telling me in which particular book, magazine or website the recipe I’m hunting for is. They have indexed over 1 million so far, saving me a lot of work and meaning that I get much more use from the books already on my shelves. So – don’t give your loved one yet another cookbook, give them something to make the most of what they already have. Gift certificates available here.
The KitchenAid Artisan Food Chopper – I was given one of these as a gift when I attended the KitchenAid Gourmet Summit in Manila earlier this year and it has sat on my bench, close to hand, ever since. It is the perfect tool for chopping or mixing small amounts of almost anything, including, nuts, herbs, dressings, sauces and onions. It also makes salsa, mayo, purees soft foods and rinses out in seconds. In fact, it’s faster to chop up a couple of onions in this, then wash it up, than it is to get out the chopping board and scrub it clean afterwards. I love it to bits – truly.
If you are keen to offer a gift from your own kitchen, I think you’ll like this one. I’ve become a little fond of tipping booze into loads of things I make of late, ever since Barb over at Creative Culinary finally convinced me that it was a good idea. I first dabbled with the idea with some very moreish Bourbon Brownies a couple of months back, then managed to slosh some Cointreau into the Cherry Jam I made last week. Either of the above will make gorgeous homemade gifts, but this Bacon Jam with Bourbon is really a bit special. Actually, it’s a lot special. Just remember to warm it up a tiny bit before serving (just to melt the fat) and then plonk it on everything – eggs, toasted cheese sandwiches, add it to goats curd in tiny tarts, on a cheese platter – go crazy. Believe me, you’ll love me for this.
Bacon Jam with Bourbon
- 750 gms bacon diced
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup black coffee
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- Fry bacon in large pan, over medium heat until all the fat has rendered out and bacon is browned. Remove bacon and drain on absorbent paper. Pour off fat, leaving a couple of tablespoons in the pan.
- Add onions and cook until translucent, add garlic and cook for another minute or two.
- Return bacon to pan, add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, stirring, then reduce heat to low simmer and cook until thick and syrupy - about 40-45 minutes.
- Cool and put in sterilised jars. Store in refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
Edited 19 December 2014, 1000hrs.