Basil Seal is a bachelor this week with his wife off in the country visiting her mother. Now, if Basil were Uncle Fred, he would have been on the first train to London looking forward to lunch at the club, an afternoon at the dog races with his nephew, Pongo, and who knows what else? No, not chorus girls. Unfortunately for Basil, he is not Uncle Fred. Basil is Basil and, as a result, he drew stable detail this week.
When not mucking out the stalls, curry-combing the horses, filling their haybaskets with hay, adjusting the salt licks, and making sure the trough is filled to the brim with fresh water, Basil has been spending his time not so well watching oldish movies. Meanwhile, The Maximum Leader, has been spending his time well by filling in for the vacationing crack young staff at Hatemongers. Yesterday, he had a terrific piece on the virtues of the pig and the idiotness of the Swedes. Maximum Leader's piece made me think of Basil, all alone, totally forgotten, and munching on a bag of crisps in front of the telly. Well, the horses remember him and that 's more than some people can say. So Basil, the following recipe is for you as you are fond of Evelyn Waugh. Castle Howard figures prominantly in one of Waugh's book and this recipe comes to you by way of Castle Howard. The recipe's author grew up on a farmhouse on the estate because his dad ran Castle Howard's kitchens. The author's bio makes the claim he cooked for the Queen Mother when he was 12. A little known fact about the Queen Mother is that she was a guild butcher which would mean that, like The Maximum Leader, the Queen Mum loved her pork. Hopefully, as a dutiful keeper of all things English she loved The Empress of Blandings' heirs, Black Berkshire piggies, best. I'm currently trying to solve the mystery of the lineage of large black pigs on the Duchy Estate. If they are indeed Black Berkshire piggies then Prince Charles has done something right for England lately. Anyhoo, back to Basil's recipe, it is a simple one, meaning not beyond Basil's capacity in the kitchen and it features the pig which is a very substaining source of energy when you've got a lot of muck to truck about.
The Bacon Buttie (just look at that glorious pig sandwich)
There is nothing better, in my opinion, then the smell of bacon cooking. But a real bacon buttie must be made with the best, smoked streaky bacon money can buy, and lots of butter.
Nigel Slater, one of the true greats when it comes to simplifying dishes, discusses his approach to the bacon sandwich in one of his books, and his ideas are along much the same lines as mine: the bacon should be crisped in a pan with butter, and not grilled; the bread should be briefly fried in the bacon fat with a bit more butter; the buttie is then built up with some grilled tomatoes, the fried bread and some freshly ground black pepper. You could also use mustard or tinned tomatoes, but it must always be really good-quality bacon. However it even tastes great with standard, white, sliced supermarket bread!
Heat a large frying pan: melt and heat the dripping.
Add the bacon, watching out for fat spitting out at you. Fry until nice and crisp then remove from the pan. Add the butter to the pan.
Fry the slices of bread on one side in the fat and butter for a minute or two only, just so that they soak up the juices.
Place two pieces of bread, fried side up, on the plates. Build up the buttie with the bacon and sliced fresh tomatoes. Season with pepper. Pour over any other juices from the pan, top with the other slice of bread, fried side down, and serve.
8 rashers streaky smoked bacon
4 slices of bloomer bread or pain de campagne
30g (1.25oz) dripping
40g (1.5) butter, use unsalted
2 fresh tomatoes, sliced
freshly ground black pepper
Enjoy Basil. You too Maximum Leader.