While I’m not exactly a gourmet chef, I’m pretty proud of my ordinary culinary creations. I find cooking a very enjoyable activity, probably because I associate it with an even more positive activity soon to come: eating. Being able to make my own bacon dishes definitely makes me a happier person, and means I always have the perfect offering to use as a reward to bribe when I need a friend to drive me to the airport of help me move. Two of the things that I love cooking with the most these days is bacon, and alcohol.

Booze is an incredibly versatile ingredient. The alcohol burns off in the cooking process, leaving behind a depth of flavour and a real richness, especially in dishes that need time to simmer or braise. Similarly, bacon adds so much to a complex dish and can elevate a really simple one. So, in honour of these two great ingredients, this Bacon Love Friday will serve as a tribute to dishes that contain both bacon and booze.

Penne a la Vodka, with Bacon

This classic tomato sauce dish uses an ample dose of bacon to add depth to the sauce, which is made even more rich by a dose of heavy cream and some bacon. This is a dish I like to bring out when I’d like to go from casually dating someone to being in a relationship. Usually, by the end of dinner they’re proposing.

October Bean Chili

This is a perfect dish to make now that the weather is getting cooler. With the fresh, in-season beans, San Marzano tomatoes and several types of chillies, this dish is all about big flavours. Hilariously, if it wasn’t for the bacon (and the suggestion that it be served with natural yogurt or sour cream), this dish would be vegan! And did we mention there’s some whiskey in the mix too?

Red Wine Risotto with Bacon and Onion

While risotto does require constant attention to get that perfect luxurious texture, it’s actually a lot easier to make that you’d think. The red wine adds a great sophisticated flavour which the bacon sets off with smokiness. Oh, it is also full of cheese.

Bacon, Beer and Cheese Cupcakes

Perhaps cupcake is a slightly misleading term, as these are much closer to a savoury muffin (though there is quite a bit of brown sugar in the mix as well). The dark beer and bacon make a perfect pair, and the sharp cheddar brings the whole thing to a different level.

Bourbon Bacon Brownies

I’ve always felt that bourbon was a dessert-like treat, and these bourbon bacon brownies further cement that idea in my mind. Bring a tray of these brownies to work when you have a series of long meetings to attend and I promise that you’ll be the office hero.