Of BLT sandwiches, bacon and blog birthdays


The time has come, the walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax;
Of cabbages and kings.
    –  Lewis Carroll

And, evidently, of BLT sandwiches, Denhay bacon and blog birthdays.

I attended a function at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen this week where I was asked (with some degree of awe!):  “Just how long have you been blogging?”.  And this was when I realised I had totally and utterly forgotten to mark my blog birthday last weekend.  Yes, folks, on Sunday CookSister officially turned six!  Six years of cooking, eating, writing, learning about food photography, and meeting the most wonderful people.

I would heartily recommend blogging to anybody.  OK, I have to admit that blogging has rather taken over my spare time, but on the other hand, it has given me the most incredible creative outlet, both for my writing and my photographs.  It has led me to some unusual experiences and places. And above all, it has meant that I have met and continue to meet the most interesting, passionate, funny, talented people from all around the world.  Not many hobbies you can say that about!

Over the past year, highlights have included:

– having my cupcakes photographed for a Lurpak advertising campaign and splashed all over roadside billboards and station posters in London

– speaking at Food Blogger Connect ’09 in London and the South African Food Blogging Conference in Cape Town

– meeting my sister-from-another-mother Meeta

– selling my photographs for the first time on Redbubble

– having four of my essays featured in a National Geographic book Food Journeys of a Lifetime

– helping to edit, proofread and index the BloggerAid Cook Book in aid of the UN World Food Programme

– appearing in theMarch issue of the South African Oprah magazine as one of their 5 favourite blogs

Another perk of this food blogging lark is that people occasionally send you free stuff, and so it was that the lovely folk at Denhay sent me four packs of their bacon to try:  two West Country dry cure bacon (streaky and back) and two from their premium Spoiltpig range (smoked streaky and back).  All the meat for Denhay bacon is sourced from British outdoor reared herds which spend over half their life outdoors and then come into straw barns. For the Spoiltpig bacon, the pork is from Freedom Food assured herds. Their traditional dry curing technique involves a mixture of dry sea salt, nitrite and Vitamin C massaged into the pork loins and bellies which are then hung up to cured for between two and three weeks.  Selected loins and bellies are then gently smoked over beech or cherry wood.  The packs are all shingled, meaning the slices are fanned out – it’s a small thing but it makes it much easier to remove individual pieces of bacon from the pack.


But the real difference between Denhay and cheap bacon becomes apparent when you fry it.  We’ve all seen the white gunk that cooks out of cheap bacon, and the way that it releases so much water that the meat ends up poached rather than crisped.  Well… that simply does not happen with Denhay bacon.  No white goo, and because there is no water the bacon actually crisps up properly.  The flavour is meaty and not too salty – my first thought was that it tasted like I remember bacon tasting as a kid! So far I have only tried the streaky and still have the back bacon and 2 packs of Spoiltpig  bacon to go – but I am already impressed.  It’s available at Waitrose, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

To showcase the bacon, I decided to make something simple where the bacon is the star of the show – what better than luxury BLT sandwiches?  The secret with these is to use the best ingredients – good bacon, good bread and good lettuce. I chose to use cream cheese as a base, but you could just as easily use good mayo.  Either way, these sandwiches with their tangy sun-dried tomatoes, crispy bacon and sunflower seed rolls made the perfect blog birthday treat for me. Here’s to another six happy years!


LUXURY BLT SANDWICHES (serves 1 hungry person)


2 sunflower seed rolls (or similar ciabatta-like rolls)
Cream cheese (I used Philadelphia with garlic and herbs)
4 rashers good quality streaky bacon
2 cos lettuce leaves, shredded
6 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
a few basil leaves
black pepper


Split each roll lenghtways.  Spread each half with a generous helping of cream cheese and sprinkle with black pepper.  Shred the lettuce and place on one half of each roll.  Cut the sun-dried tomatoes into smaller pieces and arrange on the other half of each roll.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat.  Place the bacon slices in the pan and fry until beginning to crisp, then turn over and fry othe side until beginning to crisp.  Drain on a paper towel, then lay two strips on each roll and top with a few basil leaves.  Serve immediately.

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  1. says

    Congratulations on 6 fabulous years Jeanne.I’m 6 months away from that achievement.
    This bacon looks good. I haven’t eaten bacon in two years as I have found it difficult to find pasture raised pigs here, they are mostly stall raised. In NZ I had no problems with sourcing pasture raised. You are lucky to have Denhay.

  2. says

    happy 6th cook sister ! and way to go jeanne !! quite an exciting and impressive array or highlights above – and that’s only over the past year ! just imagine what is in store for the next few years to come. i already know the next big thing to add to that list… fbc braai and slumber party :) that will certainly be one of the best things mykugelhopf has done for me… lead me to all of you.
    oh, and YUM to the bacon sandwich above too !

  3. says

    You do beautiful work and although I’ve only followed you for the past year or so, I am happy for your success. I’m sure they’ll continue. Congratulations!

  4. says

    Six years Jeanne, one of the pioneers blazing the trail for the rest of us I am sure:D Congratulations!!!!Good choice for the bacon…there is nothing like a classic twist on a BLT.

  5. says

    Congrats on the birthday of blog! Just started following it recently and hope to be a regular! Exciting to see you recommend Denhay bacon, I used it once for a starter dish and it was such a success!! And also congrats for the successes you list over the past year, well done and here’s to many more to follow.

  6. says

    Fantastic milestone, 6 years… (bows down in worship)
    We went to Dorset for a long weekend last week and during our trip we visited Denhay Farm to interview the lovely owners George and Amanda. Was a lovely visit learning and talking and tasting cheese and we were sent away with bacon to try – it’s bloody gorgeous isn’t it?

  7. says

    happy blog birthday – 6 years seems amazing and it is evident that you are continuing to do great things with blogging from your impressive list of achievements – love reading your posts and what you are cooking – hope it will continue

  8. says

    happy blog birthday sistah! yes one of the (very few highlights) in 2009 was most certainly meeting you! i am touched you find it that way too. and the coolest thing in 2010 will be seeing you next week at the #londonbraaioftheyear and then going to see a-ha with you. that is special! i love you and this space! here’s to many more years of blogging!

  9. says

    I had no idea you made the cupcakes in the Lurpak ads! It’s a clever campaign – next time I see one of the posters it’ll put a big smile on my face :)

  10. says

    My mouth is watering – a fitting celebration lunch for six years of blogging. Well done for getting to this ripe old age in style and here’s to another several years!

  11. says

    6 years! and sounds like they just get more exciting each year! i have to say after only 6 months that blogging has consumed my spare time and exhausted me, but its definitely fun!
    that bacon sounds great. i recently bought some extremely expensive bacon at the local farmer’s market and was amazed at just how much better it really was!

  12. says

    Wow! You are old!!!! I’m only 4 1/4 and I though That was old….
    I want that bacon. The bacon here in France leaves something, no, make that a lot to be desired. I always used to wonder why the ‘lardons’ in the salads were never crisp. Then I bought some and tried frying them. Really hot, hot, large skillet and I had to add oil – to bacon….

  13. says

    I’m a bit late on this one but wow! 6 years is seriously impressive so congratulations! And, yes, Denhay bacon is delicious. I often buy it and it fries very well indeed. (Now I want bacon.)

  14. Carolina says

    I can´t believe anyone else uses that quote. That´s my favourite quote of all time! Love your blog!