Why the heck has it taken so long? I just wanted to be happy with it. That's all.
I do love a BLT and all variations of a BLT. It's something that I'll often order if I want to be a bit naughty but it's often one of those things that you can be really disappointed with in life.
Yes, one man's BLT is anothers BLAH LT. There are so many elements of this bloody sandwich that can go right or wrong depending on what you like.
The BLT usually falls under the 'sandwich' category in a menu. A sandwich, in this country, often refers to some sort of filling between two slices of bread. We only have two types of bread 'slices' in the cafe. Firstly we have our own granary that we make each morning to serve with our soup (made from a gorgeous flour from the Carr's Flour Hutchison's flour merchants in Kirkcaldy). Depending on the day, we'll make one or two loaves but no matter what tin we use, the size isn't always consistent so we can't use it for a sandwich AND more importantly, we often only just have enough to serve with our soup and don't have any more time to make more.
|Not a 'real' soup and bread serving at T Ann Cake, lunch for me in the store cupboard but if you look hard enough, you can see a little bit of our gorgeous granary bread.|
We also serve brown toast for breakfast 'toast'. We don't make this ourselves but buy it from a supplier. This makes great toast and it's slightly larger than a usual sliced loaf but it's far too soft to even served as any type of sandwich. We know because we've tested it. It's quite a bit more expensive than buying a 'normal' sliced loaf too but for the moment, it is what we're serving as our toast. We've just changed the type of 'toast' we're serving and are very pleased about what we've tested so far. Still getting it from the same supplier but we think and hope this'll make really good sandwiches too. It's got a gorgeous crust on it and a good crust often makes a good sandwich!
I've enjoyed BLTs on a croissant, on toasted white bread and on various crusty bread. There have been many that I've not enjoyed but I won't turn this into a negative post (for now).
We tested lots of bread/rolls for our BLT and we went with the seeded roll that we use for our hot savoury items. It's a good quality roll and although it's a lot more expensive for me to buy than a lot of similar type rolls I've seen in supermarkets/shops, it's good and it's one I'm sticking with for now.
The BACON. I adore bacon. Any type really. Whilst I can happily eat a gorgeous piece of good-quality smoked (always smoked for me) bacon as part of a big fry up (goodness knows when I last had one of those), I also love the way that the Americans serve their bacon - really crispy.
Another thing that stopped me doing the BLT for ages was that I just didn't know how our customers would react to the fact that I was determined to serve crispy smoked bacon on our BLT. I was being selfish in wanting to serve streaky but this is why I needed to do this.
Price. Back bacon is more expensive and having researched (read, eaten) loads of BLTs over the last 4 years, those who offered back bacon at a reasonable price, didn't tell you what type of bacon it was. When this happens, I always think the worst (cheap bacon and where the hell is it from). If I were to serve back bacon, I'd have to charge 2 million pounds/BLT. Don't think I'll sell many. Our streaky is local bacon, sourced from a local butcher and is really great quality - no water comes out whilst cooking. Not cheap either but tastes amazing and we've had great feedback about it.
Cooking. We're not allowed to fry. All related to the planning permission we go when we renovated the cafe from a shop into T Ann Cake. I've eaten far too many badly reheated bits of back bacon in a BLT or bacon roll - usually microwaved which means it then goes hard and cardboard-like a minute or so after serving. Streaky bacon is a dream when you can't fry it (and there are NO microwaves involved!).
Tomatoes. We don't live in Spain. Or any of the other Southern European countries that can grow and sell millions of juicy red tomatoes to poor old cafe owners like me for a reasonable price. Yes, I currently have around 30 tiny green tomatoes growing on four tomato plants in the room that I'm writing in but that's only because it's finally summer here and I can't really grow enough for the cafe! So, I have to buy them from our veg supplier.
I didn't want to serve a bit of sliced tomato like you get on most other BLTs so I put my thinking cap on and decided to roast them as well as making them into bloody mary tomatoes. I'd been wanting to use this type of tomato in some dish at some point and I'm delighted that these work so well with the bacon.
Green stuff. Has to be rocket. Got a good supply of it and if it's a week when it's a good peppery batch, so much the better.
Mayonnaise. Love it and use ridiculous amounts of it on any sandwich I make in the house. We add lots of flavours to various mayonnaise accompaniments in the cafe and I though that our smoky chipotle chilli one would work well. It does.
So, this is it. Already been sampled by many customers (lots of questions asked too....).
I'm very happy with it. It's only taken 2 and a half years to get it on the menu but sometimes it's better to do it that way!