My attempt to stay well-informed with world politics is at odds with my attempt to stay sane these days. It’s increasingly necessary to distract my head from translating Trump’s alternative facts and brain farts.
I console myself with spectacularly weird recipes like this plant-powered bacon. Know what I mean? The more arcane the recipe, the longer I spend away from US politics and Cyclone Twitter. It’s kind of like hacking into my own network of synapses, and writing in some anti-viral code to stop my adrenal glands from imploding. I highly recommend it.
Back to plant-powered bacon. Yes. Meat-free rashers. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy meat. But I find myself wondering whether future generations will look back and yak at the idea of supermarkets selling solid lumps of animal flesh. If you arrived on Earth today and saw how we dismembered other living creatures, then sold them in plastic boxes, you’d think that we were greasy psychopaths. (Some of us are. See first paragraph).
But for now, the mass manufacturing of meat limbs seems perfectly acceptable. Strange, eh? (Come to think of it, we’d probably find our obsession with Wow Brows and golf equally disquieting).
If society’s relationship with factory meat seems disturbing, could we start buying less of it? Give sales a massive wedgie? I’d love to see footfall directed back into our butchers, where it mindfully and respectfully belongs. We’d also be doing our wallet, our health and our environment a whopping great service. Look, I’m pretty caffeinated right now, and this aubergine bacon is making me disproportionately emotional. Try it.
1 large aubergine
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chilli
1/2 tablespoon tamari soya sauce
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon rapadura or coconut sugar
3 tablespoons filtered water
Using a sharp potato peeler, thinly slice long strips of aubergine. Give the aub a slight turn every slice. The idea is to leave a small strip of peel on each piece, and work around the aubergine. Compost the seedy centre.
Lay the strips out on a cutting board. Sprinkle evenly with your salt and let sit for 1 hour to draw out all the moisture. Pat dry with kitchen towel, and wipe away as much salt as you can. Whisk the remaining ingredients together and let the slices marinade for at least 1 hour, but frankly as long as you fancy.
Preheat the oven to 120C. Transfer the marinated aubs onto a roasting tray (unlined) and bake for 70-90 mins, or until dry, CRISP and deeper in colour. You can do this in a dehydrator at a lower temperature for longer.
Aubergine bacon makes a kickass DVD snack with some popcorn, or as a breakfast with avo toast.
And in other news, THE VIRTUOUS TART cookbook has gone paperback in Ireland. Which means another fun cover shot with Jo Murphy! This is what you’ll spot in bookstores across the country …