These are two words I never expected to see in the same PR e-mail, but Cinabar forwarded one on to me that not only promised that but Chorizo Jam.
Being a fan of crazy sounding food (don't knock the tuna & chocolate toastie until you've tried it) I naturally signed up straight away and received these two jars on the first of September. It's taken me 4 weeks to fully come to terms with the experience.
For a start, as the detailed blurb states it's more of a chutney than a jam, but essentially it's the same food group. It's a paste like substance that I chose to initially use on the side of plates for meals. It looks like this.
That's the bacon one in the jar. Like sun-dried tomatoes it's not designed to be eaten with the eyes. It actually contains "Smoked bacon, coffee, lemon juice, bourbon, fresh garlic and rosemary"
And here's what that looks like on a plate, adding an additional meaty dimension to a Bernard Mathews bird-slice based meal.
And here is the Chorizo (back left) with a lovely veggie meal adding some meaty goodness. The ingredients list for that is "air dried chorizo, balsamic vinegar, apple juice and brown sugar "
And the first thing to note is that this works, it works well. The bacon one tastes like bacon, the chorizo one tastes like chorizo. Sure, there are other flavours in there and all that which add to and bring out the tastes but you get what the jar says. And importantly you only need a small spoon of the stuff to flavour a whole plate.
For someone who lives with (and cooks for) a vegetarian this is amazing stuff. You can make the exact same meal and then mix one of these in on your plate and everyone is happy. It works as a topping for meats - kind of like having pigs-in-blankets on the side but without the extra cooking - and livens up plain old turkey fillets without a need for effort.
The company that makes this - Eat17 (like East 17 you see) are based around an actual restaurant and I'm betting this is the exact stuff they use. Without thinking I mixed some into some reheated rice and found I'd made a risotto bursting with flavour. I'm having to ration myself and not add it to every meal. I'm going to try a bacon jam sandwich at some point, but so far I've resisted. I keep thinking of other things I can add it to, and every time I mention it to people they ask me if they can try some. So far only I have had it, but I'm taking the bacon one to a party tonight (I think mainly because I love the chorizo one slightly more).
It's very hard to review this as a product. Is it the best bacon jam anyone can make, or is it just the first in a series of brilliant ideas? Would other meat based pastes work similarly? I honestly don't think I care. I like this stuff and I'll be needing more. If that requires a trip down to Walthamstow to try it out in person then so much the better. There is also the Onion Jam (the original pre-baconised flavour I guess) and bacon and chilli. There aren't enough meals in the day...