International Bacon Day Tomorrow! Book Bacon Masterclasses in Dublin & London to Celebrate

International Bacon Day: Breakfast?

It is International Bacon Day tomorrow! On International Bacon Day last year, I was on the Theatre of Food stage at Electric Picnic teaching a Bacon Masterclass. Wot larks. This year I am back there again, and will be celebrating in the most bacontastic way possible, which I have yet to discover. There is always great food there, so I am sure I will be fine.

What can you do? Any one of these :)

Make one my my bacon jam recipes (the rest are saved for Project: BACON next February), and have it with your eggs on the morning. Blitz it fine and spread it thickly on your toast soldiers to dip into a quivering egg.

Make my Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Truffles for afters. You really should. I don’t even need to explain why.

Book a bacon masterclass in London! I have not had much time to promote them and have yet to set up the ticket system so, the deal is, in my new super swish school the classes are longer and include bacon brunch, so the prices have had to go up to a still-very-competitive £95 for 4 hours (as opposed to £75 for 3).

However, the first 6 places are early bird and at the original £75, and in the interest of celebrating International Bacon Day AND filling the class as quickly as I can, I will offer the places at the £75 early bird price to any of the classes to anyone who books them between now and Tuesday 3rd September.

Email me and don’t panic if I don’t get back immediately as I shall be mooching around a very large field seeking bacon, wine and great music. Dates and details here (in summary: Sat 21st Sept, Sat 26th Oct, Sat 16th Nov, Sat 14th Dec 10am – 2pm). First come first serve – email niamh at eatlikeagirl dot com.

Book a bacon masterclass in DUBLIN! A rare opportunity to attend a class in Dublin and at a bargainous €60, this 2 and a half hour class will reveal plenty of my bacon secrets with tastings and wine. It will be fun, you will take all the recipes and bacon secrets home with you, and I will also be selling signed copies of Comfort & Spice and taking pre orders for Project: BACON. Book here. 

The class will be taught by me and hosted by Robert Jacob at The Cookery School @ Donnybrook Fair in Donnybrook, Dublin 4 on 18th September 2013 from 7.00 pm – 930 pm. Limited spaces.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL BACON DAY! (and don’t forget the maple syrup :)


Feasting at Wilderness Part 2: Sunday Lunch at Hix


Live music in the centre of the banqueting tent while we ate our Hix Sunday lunch

Back once more to Wilderness and the memory of one of the most fun and delicious Sunday lunches that I have had in a while. The scene is the Banqueting Tent once more, and the chef this time, Mark Hix. Solid English cooking, more live music, the sun, and a hangover that I needed to work my way out of. Standard for a festival, isn’t it? This was medicinal, and a reminder that I need to revisit his restaurants in London again (and try the ones that I have not yet been to).

The food served was bright and vibrant, and how I love to eat. Big platters shared in the centre of the table and lots of everything. And who doesn’t love a roast chicken on a Sunday? The whipped broad beans were a revelation, but everything was good. As with the Polpo feast the night before this was generous and big. Wilderness know how to do food at a festival, I will be back next year.


Evesham Radishes with Mayonnaise and Celery Salt

Moyallon Pork Crackling with Bramley Apple Sauce

Moyallon Pork Crackling with Bramley Apple Sauce


De Beauvoir Smoked Salmon – Hix cure – with Corrigan’s Soda Bread


Jellied Ham Hock with Picalilli


Whipped Broad Beans with Grilled Flatbread


Tramshed Chicken with Baked Garlic Sauce


Fruits of the Forest Eton Mess

This post follows on from my first Wilderness post: Feasting at Wilderness Part 1: St John Breakfasts, Moro Afternoons & Polpo’s Venetian Banquet

With thanks to Wilderness who invited me to attend the festival 


Project: BACON on Kickstarter. Liftoff and Lessons Learned.

Project: BACON Overview

Project: BACON Overview

Project: BACON is go. I am so excited & relieved. It takes 2 weeks for the Kickstarter project to mature and funds to transfer (minus taxes and all that jazz), so I am using that time to plan, sketch budgets and figure out exactly what I can do. It has been quite an experience, good and bad (mainly good and very positive), and I thought that I would share with you some thoughts and some things that I learned as I know that you are curious and some of you are considering this as a route for your own publishing (and other) projects.

Firstly, do use Kickstarter. I took a risk, I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I knew I wanted to be independent. For that to happen, I had to be prepared to fail. It was worth it. I have lots of plans for this project and this is only the start. I had sleepless nights, it didn’t help that I got really bad sunburn (the worst that I have ever had) and couldn’t sleep for about 4 days anyway, but that gave me plenty of time to think and plan. Naturally, to worry too. That is only normal. If you are not worried, you are doing it wrong.

I submitted my project to Kickstarter and tweaked it over several weeks before hitting publish. I asked people I trusted and respected for feedback. I told friends, some thought it was exciting, others were aghast and thought it was too high risk and questioned why I was rejecting the traditional route. Some thought that I was asking for too much, others not enough. I decided to stop asking people and just focus on what I thought was right, what I thought it needed and also what might work.

I studied successful food (and other) Kickstarter projects, how they communicated their message, the reward levels they offered. I looked at projects that hadn’t succeeded to see the other side. I planned out my reward levels saving the products for the last week and a final push (they were always going to be in there, I could see that successful projects add exciting incentives later so I decided to do this).

Project: BACON funding overview

Project: BACON funding overview

I still made several mistakes however. Here is what I learned, and I hope that this helps you.

Be realistic and don’t be greedy. I only ever aimed for enough to cover the costs of production (this does not include my personal or living costs). I hope to make my money from this book by selling the ebook when it comes out next year. Anything over would have been a bonus, and while I did get £4K over, this is going directly into Bacon Box design and production as more than I imagined wanted those. But that opens other doors – which I was hoping might open – so I am very excited about this.

Offer something tangible and real. Lots of projects offer links and shout outs for early reward levels, personally I don’t see the value of these. If I commit to a project, I want to be part of it, I want something real and I want updates. This is why I offered The Bacon Post at the £3 level. It wasn’t heavily subscribed but I wanted everyone to feel part of it if they wanted to, no matter what their financial situation. Offering 10 new recipes as part of this process allows people to see progress and feel part of it, and everyone who kicked in will get it. So that is 740 people. Which is great.

Do make a video. Don’t make that video in your back garden on the hottest day of the year and in the middle of it, with watering itchy eyes and hay fever with your friend standing on a chair videoing it while you are both drinking wine (although thank you Denise, I am very grateful, and I owe you one). Give everyone an insight on you, your project and your story through the video. Mine should have involved some cooking and some tasting. I had planned two further videos but life compressed and didn’t allow it. This is otherwise known as bad planning.

Update your project very regularly. Add more videos and imagery. I didn’t do this. I should have.

Clear your diary for your funding period and give it all of your energy. I wanted to do this but other things came up. This couldn’t be helped but it wasn’t ideal. I still gave it everything I had. Even if at times it didn’t look like it, I was always planning and sketching.

Do some design work up front so that people can relate to your product and more importantly, want to have it. I should have designed the cover before launching the project so that people could visualise the book. I didn’t.

Do create infographics. Successful projects look great and are very well put together (generally). Lots of them have infographics. Again, I didn’t but I think you should.

Start a PR campaign early. I didn’t, I didn’t have one at all. This was a mistake. I had always planned to start pushing it in the second half of the project as I didn’t want to tire people, bore people or wear people out. This was a bad attitude. I now know that people want you to succeed and really get behind you to help make it happen. I should have been contacting the media in the UK from the day I launched to get the word out there and reach lots of different people. I should have written a press release. Successful projects do, some even have PR representation.

Regular pledges keep your project active so figure out ways to keep bringing people in. Busy projects sit on the popular projects page and attract attention from people on Kickstarter who otherwise wouldn’t see your project at all. This ties into PR activity and is especially important in that tumbleweed infested wasteland in the middle.


Independence. I succeeded and I feel like a door has opened. I feel very good about the world and all that is in it. Thank you.

Restored faith in human nature. I work in a very isolated way, which isn’t terribly healthy, at least for me. I had such immense positive and supportive contact from people that really wanted this project to succeed that it reminded me about all of the good things about what I do, and why I love it. Again, thank you.

I am excited that you will be following the journey from the beginning to the end and I will be asking for your input too at points, of course only if you want to give it.


Now, some of you are still trying to pledge on Kickstarter. You can’t. But if you want to subscribe to any level still, please email me and we can work something out.


Project: BACON is GO – thank you – but there is more that we can do!


So I hit 100% this morning, which is amazing. Not just that, it is a relief and it is so exciting. I can’t wait to get stuck in.

Thanks for the support and joining me on this crazy little ride. I have been so touched by how brilliant people have been, the kind messages, tweets and emails that you have sent, and all that you have done to help me get my message out.

I am not going to add stretch goals at this point, with 22 hours to go, but suffice to say that all extra pledged means an even better book with more illustrations and photographs. The writing stays the same but in an even shinier coat.

I also have great plans for the Bacon Christmas & Halloween Boxes. I want to make them really special and a real treat for anyone who receives them. A flash of childhood through adult eyes, but more delicious. I already know the design but I need to get a designer to realise it fully and extra pledges will help make that happen.

Also – just a reminder – if you want a print copy of this book, there is no guarantee at this point that it will happen outside of Kickstarter, so pledge now to make sure you receive it. It is unlikely the Bacon Boxes will be available outside of this too – at least at this side of Christmas.

Thanks again, and here is to the next 22 hours. Nearly there, even though I kind of am already. It is still – always – exciting.



Project: BACON – 29 hours to go | 93% funded | So close

So close!

So close!

RIGHT. Right now there are probably two particular strains of reader:

– excited ones that are hopeful / nervous about Project: BACON (you have been in touch, so I know :)

– some who are so over Project: BACON (although I must say even my vegetarian and vegan readers have been terrifically supportive and helpful in spreading the word).

The good news is there is only ONE DAY LEFT. One day! Not there yet, there is 7% left to go, just under £1,500 and only 30 hours to raise it.

Normal service will resume soon. There won’t be much further mention of Project: BACON on here from the end of this week. After that all bacon communications will be filtered solely through The Bacon Post, a weekly missive for Kickstarter supporters with exclusive new recipes (you can get this by signing up to any reward level on Kickstarter, including just for The Bacon Post at £3).

So quick recap – adopts cheerleading pose with pom poms (very sleepily).

If you want Project: BACON as a hardback book, this may be your only opportunity. The print run will certainly be a small one. You will be able to get the ebook, but not the hardback book on Amazon, when Project: BACON is published in February.

Xmas & Halloween Bacon Boxes are now available for the UK & Ireland, and very popular they are too. Think Bacon Selection Box. I will be very busy with these it looks like. Numbers are limited but there are still plenty.

4 Bacon Masterclasses have been pledged for in the UK & Ireland and there are 2 more in the works. For a £540 pledge, I will turn up and teach up to 16 people in your space if you supply ingredients etc., or I will teach 6 people in your home and all will get a copy of the book when it is published, as well as a copy of The Bacon Post.

I only had one Project: BACON stress dream last night, I woke startled at 5am – OH MY GOD, only £10 is needed to make it and it is just about to expire and FAIL. ARGH – and then I realised it was a dream. And I hope my last one, related to the funding process at least.

I will be on the John Murray Show on Radio 1 in Ireland this morning chatting bacon, sometime after 9. You can listen live online.

Bacon the world a better place, one slice at a time ;)


Thank you.

0 comment

Project: BACON – 54 hours to go – 22% to fund

Project: BACON, 54 hours to go - and 22% to fund

Project: BACON, 54 hours to go – and 22% to fund

*updated Monday am*

SQUUEEE! Nearly there! And I should really be in bed as it is almost midnight on a Sunday and I have to hot foot it to a radio studio tomorrow in the very early morning, but I can’t let this slip at any point now. I have been so careful to be tender about this and not be in your face but this is the final push, and so here I am. I have to be.

I am nearly there, but I still might not make it. If you want to see this book, if you want to cook from it, if you want to read it and try out those crazy bacon recipes (in the best possible way) you have 2 days to buy it or it just won’t happen. And I am not exaggerating at all.

This has been a fantastically interesting process, and hopefully it is only the beginning. I am so glad I did it this way. I am really tired, bone tired if I am honest, but I am hopeful that by the time it finishes I will be so energised with the idea of starting. I know I will be. I know that if this happens I will forget that I was ever even tired at all and will bound right into it. I am excited.

I need your help to make that happen.

To meet my target I need 220 of you to buy hardback books at £20 each.

That shouldn’t be such a trauma, but I fear many of you think I will make it anyway so you aren’t so worried about it and are just watching from the sidelines. I unfortunately am very worried, so I am asking you to pledge, if you want this book.

In other news:

3 awesome Bacon Masterclasses have been booked as part of Project: BACON starting with one in Donnybrook Fair in Dublin on September 18th, followed by one at James Whelan Butchers in Avoca next Spring and one at The Meat Merchant in Co Down (date TBC). There are many more Bacon Masterclasses that can be booked if you want them, I will travel and if you want me to teach more than 6 and can help with the ingredients and space, I can teach up to 16 for the £540 commitment. (These classes are all tentative on Project: BACON being a success of course but my fingers, toes and all the hairs on my head are crossed. I may not sleep until this is finished). 

So that is it. Irish people: you can catch me on the John Murray Show on Radio 1 tomorrow (Monday) morning. You can listen live here at 9.30am.

You can pledge on Kickstarter here.

End Bacon Broadcast.



Announcing Bacon Masterclasses for the Autumn: Book Now for Early Bird Rates

Aveqia - new space for bacon masterclasses in Farringdon

Aveqia – new space for bacon masterclasses in Farringdon


New classes! Huzzah.

A wonderful new cookery school in central London, Aveqia, has approached me to teach my Bacon Masterclasses there. The school is very central, based near Farringdon and is beautiful. The original school is in Sweden and the same elegant Scandinavian design has been used here, and as you would expect, it is a thoughtfully designed and very useful space. Those Swedes know what they are doing.

On arrival there is a bar, before going to the teaching space with lots of room to cook and also to eat after. This is why I love it, the kitchen is large and spacious with lots of room and all the kit I could need, even a paco jet for making maple bacon, bourbon & vanilla ice cream. After we can all sit down at a large communal & very sociable space to eat and indulge in some bacon bloody marys.

The classes will be hosted on Saturdays only, and I am expanding the class concept to include a sit down brunch after the Bacon Masterclass. The classes are more expensive to run but I would still like to keep the classes accessibly priced, so I am going to be offering the first 6 early bird places for £75 with the remaining 10 places at £95. The prices must unfortunately go up to meet my increased costs.

Aveqia Cooking School in Farringdon, London

Aveqia Cooking School in Farringdon, London

Each bacon masterclass will start at 10am with bacon jam on toast and tea / coffee and finish at 2pm after brunch with a bacon bloody mary. There will be 3 hours cooking. All classes are hands on and you will have a lot of support. The recipes are explicitly detailed and even where complex, very easy to follow. I am there to help and teach at all classes, of course. Cooking is core, but there are not just about cooking, they are also a lot of fun. You will be comfortable, I can promise you that.

Sounds good? I think so.

The recipes will vary, but the core recipes will be:

– chipotle bacon jam
– candied bacon
– bacon jam fudge
– candied bacon marshmallow creme

The classes will be on:

Sat 21st Sept
Sat 26th Oct
Sat 16th Nov
Sat 14th Dec

So, please email me at and I will send you details on how to pay and book you in. The classes will have a maximum of 16 attendees and I will need a minimum of 10 to go ahead. Hopefully, that won’t be a problem.

Project: BACON - under 4.5 days to go

Project: BACON – under 4.5 days to go

With regard to Project: BACON, I still need your help and will blog a detailed update later. There is only 4.5 more days and 43% funding to go.

Two Bacon Masterclasses have been sold – one at a butchers shop in Ireland and the other at one in Northern Ireland. I am so excited about these. The class concept is flexible – if you want me to teach more than 6 and up to 16, this is still possible for the same £540 once the ingredients can be provided and a space.

Please support this by buying the book in advance, buying a Xmas Bacon Box (think selection box but with bacon) or simply subscribe to The Bacon Post for £3. If I don’t raise the full £20,000, it fails and all pledges disappear, then the book simply doesn’t happen and won’t be written. So, if you are thinking that you might just wait until February when it comes out, that is a high risk manoeuvre – for you and me :)

You can pledge here – every penny counts.


Feasting at Wilderness Part 1: St John Breakfasts, Moro Afternoons & Polpo’s Venetian Banquet

Many years ago, pre blog, when I was just a normal mildly obsessive individual idling on the streets, I had three passions: food, travel & music. Other stuff too, of course but the core directions I would find myself moving in centred around those. I read more music blogs than food blogs when I first started (which seems bizarre I would agree) but I always loved live music, finding great new music to listen to, and this was the best place to do this. Even as my life became increasingly centred on food, I still went to music festivals and gigs and always, almost without fail, despaired at the food there.


St John at Wilderness – loved the lettering outside

Bring on Wilderness, one of a new breed of festivals that takes food very seriously. Not just by inviting some of London’s best restaurants but also enabling them them to create sumptuous feasts. In the centre of the festival site, there is a large restaurant area with a banquet tent which hosted lunches and dinners from Ottolenghi, Polpo & Hix. Surrounding this was St John & Moro in their own tents providing feasts of their own, but also lifesaving take away food. J Sheekey had a van serving great fish and chips (and also randomly serving red bull). There was many more trucks including some of London’s favourites, but this is what I focussed on, so this is what I will describe here.


St John at Wilderness

You probably know, but I really hate camping. The late nights and waking up with the dawn light results in a lack of sleep that I can barely cope with, never mind with a hangover. (Next time: glamping with a sleep mask). On this occasion I had a hastily purchased and tiny loathsome tent which I bounded out of promptly every morning and went to feed.

The best breakfast in that situation was a St John life giving bacon and egg roll in a slightly sweet brioche style bun. The bacon was cooked over a BBQ outside and there was coffee. There was also a ridiculous but fantastic welsh rarebit, so huge it wouldn’t fit on the plate. It is one of my favourite things on the St John menu, so it was only right that I should have it at Wilderness too. Wine too, if you were brave enough to have that with breakfast (I wasn’t). In fact, one of my top tips for Wilderness is to avoid the main bar and get your wine in the restaurant area. St John had a great list from the affordable & quaffable to more sublime.


St John’s lifesaving bacon and egg roll at Wilderness


St John welsh rarebit – just LOOK at it! And go to St John and have one with a glass of house champagne

Saturday afternoon was spent joyfully idling and soaking it all in with a mid afternoon snack of terrific Moro lamb chops, I only wish that I could have fitted in more there.


Some dramatic lamb chop cooking at Moro at Wilderness

Roll on Saturday night and the decadent Polpo Venetian feast. The banquet hall was enormous and beautifully decorated. We were all given masks on arrival and everyone sat, chatted and laughed on long tables. There was live music from a small stage in the centre and the atmopshere was electric.

Live music at the Polpo Venetian Banquet at Wilderness

Live music at the Polpo Venetian Banquet at Wilderness

Starting with an aperol spritz, platters of baccala mantecato crostino, fennel salami & pickled radicchio grissini and carta di musica & sage oil with olives, we were still only at the appetisers. One of the meal highlights followed, the sharp and rich mackerel and horseradish tartare, served with arancini, fennel almond and curly endive salad and an excellent selection of salami and prosciutto.


Mackerel tartare at the Polpo Venetian Banquet at Wilderness

We are still not even half way through, Rise e Bise came next, served tableside in bowls and the prelude to the main courses, of which there were several. Grilled lamb with salsa verde, spot on heritage tomato panzanella, runner beans with red onion and pecorino salad and one of my favourite parts of the meal, the whole grilled sea bream which was fresh and succulent and fresh off the BBQ from out the back (130 sea bream were grilled for the banquet that night).


Risi e Bisi served tableside at Polpo’s Ventian Banquet at Wilderness


Lamb with Salsa Verde

Whole sea bream being grilled on the BBQ for the Polpo Venetian Banquet at Wilderness

Whole sea bream being grilled on the BBQ for the Polpo Venetian Banquet at Wilderness

For dessert we had a tiramisu, which was light as it was rich and strawberries with clotted cream and aged balsamic. A near perfect meal, the only criticism I would have is that there was too much of it, and how can that be a criticism at all?! It can’t be.

Tiramisu at the Polpo Venetian Banquet at Wilderness

Tiramisu at the Polpo Venetian Banquet at Wilderness

Music festivals, pay attention: this is how you do food at a festival. Part 2 soon which will be all about the Hix Sunday Lunch Banquet and a life saving bloody mary.

With thanks to Wilderness who invited me to attend the festival 


Project Bacon Update: 40% funded, 6 Days to Go & New Reward Level on Kickstarter

Project: BACON, 6 Days to go and 60% left to fund

Project: BACON, 6 Days to go and 60% left to fund

So, you are all keeping me waiting, right? Not kicking in until the very end because I don’t need you to?

Well, I do.

Project: BACON is only at 40% funded with 6 days to go. I have deliberately been very quiet about it as I didn’t want to annoy everyone. I was also quietly hoping that it might just happen, but that is not how life works.

So, basically, here it is: I am not going to write this book unless it is supported on Kickstarter, so if you want it, get involved. All you need to do is buy the book upfront, in digital or hardback, you can now even get some bacon stuff posted to you (see below), and you can book a class for you and your friends, all on that fabulous Kickstarter space.

I promise that the book will be awesome, I get giddy just thinking of jumping on that magical bacon brick road. I have an ace designer, editor and photographer just waiting for me to say that we are go. You want to keep this smile on my face don’t you?

(In my defence, I have never used emotional blackmail here before, but there you go. Really, I am just trying to be very clear, not threatening ;)


I have added new reward levels where as well as getting signed copies of Project: BACON and Comfort & Spice, I will also send you a Bacon Christmas Box of bacon marshmallows, bacon fudge, maple & tamarind candied bacon, bacon maple popcorn and chipotle bacon jam all nicely packaged and just in time for Christmas and in advance of the books.

– £25 for a Bacon Christmas Box and the Bacon Post sent every week from the beginning of the project to the end, with 12 new recipes in advance of book publication
– £45 for a Bacon Christmas Box and the Bacon Post sent every week from the beginning of the project to the end, with 12 new recipes in advance of book publication and a signed hardback copy of Project: BACON
– £60 for a Bacon Christmas Box and the Bacon Post sent every week from the beginning of the project to the end, with 12 new recipes in advance of book publication, a signed hardback copy of Project: BACON and a signed copy of my first book, Comfort & Spice

Go to Kickstarter to upgrade your pledge or pledge fresh. 



Recipe: Corn, Ham & Tomato Fritters

Corn, Ham & Tomato Fritters

Corn, Ham & Tomato Fritters

Spending so much of the spring out of the country means that I have a lot of catching up to do, both with friends and with restaurants. Hello, London! Let us get reacquainted. I am BACK. I love the summer here and I love getting out and about and enjoying it.

This is mainly enormous fun, but it has some down sides. The occasional hangover and the need for something soothing sometimes wakes me like a siren. You know how it is, especially in London. Have a great night, miss the last tube, struggle to get home, and wake up feeling fragile, but hopefully still a little giddy from all of the fun.

I need some restorative food solutions for these situations, that I can balance out when feeling a little less frenetic later on (in the interest of feeling healthy and achieving my current aim, fitting into that favourite red vintage dress of mine). These fritters are one. This is not health food (of course not). At least not for the physical body. For the soul after a night of too much of a good time, these fritters are a rescue remedy.

The recipe is pretty flexible, but this time there was sweet and soothing fresh corn, slivers of intense yet delicate ham and the pop of a fruity tomato all nursed by a gentle batter spiked with a little chilli and eased out with some aromatic basil. If I have leftover pumpkin, I find it works brilliantly here (without the tomato) and courgette is brilliant too. If you have had a particularly big night, you might want to throw some great gooey cheese in there too.

These are deep fried, but you know, that is ok every now and then. I would suggest essential. You could shallow fry them but you wouldn’t get the great fluffy ball or texture. So, deep fry, drain well and leave on kitchen paper to get something life affirming to soothe your head. I really believe that an occasional blow out is essential, to clear out the cobwebs and put everything in perspective. So get on your dancing shoes and make sure that you have the ingredients for these for the morning after.


RECIPE: Corn, ham and tomato fritters

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