Bacon Chops and a Warm Salad

Bacon Chops and a Warm Salad, with marrowfat peas, pearl barley, dried fruit, nuts and seeds

When I noticed that bacon chops were on special offer my greedy, although certainly not grubby, hands couldn’t grab a pack quick enough. Especially as I’ve never tried them. What’s the difference? Very little. If you think of a pack of eight slices then this pack is only two. Would I bother to buy them again? No. Too much meat on my plate. Besides, for a warm salad with quite a few ingredients streaky bacon pan-fried until nicely crisp and broken into either bits or crumbs would be fine, if not better. Nice to try something new for a change. Even though I have several salad recipes on here with both bulgur wheat and couscous it had never crossed my mind to use pearl barley, until I read Darya’s delicious post, Salade de persil, orge et féta marinée. Don’t be put off by the French title as Darya writes impeccably in English, too. Here, I’m going with stuff to hand rather than a recipe. Oddly, it’s only during autumn and winter that I start to crave marrowfat peas, and pearl barley, as that’s what I grew up with – large bowls of Scotch Broth. Okay, for the pedants out there, I’m aware that if Scotch Broth is made with mutton it’s technically called Hotch Potch.

Anyway, yesterday I found three new products, including the little balls of mozzarella called bocconcini. Fun to have for the photos. I probably wouldn’t buy them unless I was making a salad for others. Good to know that it’s available as I only noticed it in the reduced section because of its sell-by date. That was grabbed, along with the most amazing vintage Cheddar that was also on its sell-by date, too. Wow! Some days I’m lucky. Seriously, the quality is incredible. It just says Sweet and creamy vintage Cheddar and is M’s own brand. Certainly won’t be buying more expensive brands from their deli counter any more. And looking forward to trying the Cheddar melted on dry toast for sups tonight to test it for the possibility of using within a gratin – yes, it’s that cold again. The other new product is a can or tin of Sardinella in tomato sauce. I’d never heard of them before. I’ve just Googled and the Sardinella longiceps and gibbosa are both caught in the Pacific, and are young pilchards. Huh, enough learning for one day. For anyone interested in a fascinating article to do with seafood then I would definitely recommend this article written by lasesana, Widespread seafood fraud in the U.S..

Bacon Chops and a Warm Salad, with marrowfat peas, pearl barley, dried fruit, nuts and seeds


  • olive oil
  • 50g (1.76 oz) x dried pearl barley, rinse the barley well before soaking overnight in plently of cold water as it’s much quicker to cook
  • 100g (3.52 oz) x dried marrowfat peas, pick through the peas and if any of them have holes in them discard those, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
  • 2 x unsmoked bacon chops 225g (7.93 oz), cooked to pack’s instructions
  • 1 x Little Gem (romaine type) lettuce, washed, dried and shredded
  • 1 x 125g (4.40 oz) tub mozzarella bocconcini, rinsed
  • 4 x dried apricots, small dice
  • 4 x dried prunes, small dice
  • handful x flaked or slivered almonds, dry toasted if wanted
  • handful x pumpkin seeds
  • 8 or more x pitted black olives, sliced
  • dried marjoram, to personal taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • aged balsamic vinegar OR 1/2 x lemon, rolled under palms before slicing in half and freshly squeezed through a fine sieve to collect pips
  • freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
  • fresh parsley, finely chopped or snipped, to serve

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  • After rinsing the marrowfat peas add them to a large heavy-based saucepan with plenty of cold water and put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6) and bring to a brisk boil for four or five minutes. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to No 2 and simmer until cooked. This will take about 30 or so minutes simmering to get them soft enough. When cooked drain and set aside.
  • With the barley do rinse it well before adding to a large saucepan with lid and plenty of cold water. Put on heat No 4, bring to a boil, reduce heat to No 2 and simmer for about 15 minutes. Do check after this time as they might need to simmer for longer to get them soft enough. When cooked drain them and set aside.
  • Pan-fry or grill/broil the bacon chops to the pack’s instructions. On mine it states about 10 minutes cooking time. Mine took a lot longer to get them nicely golden on both sides.
  • In the pan/skillet used for the chops add the peas and barley and reheat just before serving.
  • In the meantime prep the ingredients for the salad and arrange on plates. Make up a vinaigrette of choice and set aside with the dried marjoram to be sprinkled on top.
  • When peas and barley are reheated add to a separate bowl and serve with the chops, lots of salad with dried marjoram and what ever dried fruit, nuts and seeds are available.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


  1. Thanks for the quote, Johnny! What I like about food blogging is how one small detail can be inspiration for something completely new and different, like your salad, which sounds truly delicious (even though marrowfat peas are nowhere to be found on our side of the Channel so I have never tried them). I do love salads with dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. Great post and pictures!


    • – Totally agree with you about the small details. Loving blogging for the continuous stimulation into the possibility of trying new things, both in and out of my comfort zone. Have so many notes scribbled in my large notebook beside me.
      – Don’t know about where you are but I’m not exactly loving this cold snap. Several spring-like days last week has spoilt me already!


      • Well… I am in Northern France and today it is SNOWING. It is the first time in my entire life that I see snow in March! So all I am thinking about now is soups and stews!


        • – It’s only trying to snow here right now. Don’t fancy my trip to the food stores later, though. Yes, going to be cooking my butter bean stew later (without the kabanos, as that’s way too much processed pork in one week).
          – Keep warm!


    • – The chops were good to try this time. And did compliment the salad well. Yet, a little bit of bacon in a salad is all that’s really needed most times, for me anyway.
      – Well, that’s the last of my marrowfat peas! Won’t be craving those again until late autumn. And really must try a Scotch broth later in the year. Haven’t had one in years.


  2. Bouchon Bakery recipes were scaled down to accomodate the home baker. However, in the REAL baking world, grams is the way to go. So, that is what they use in this book. They also include the volume measurement as well. American…i believe so. need more info…ask them. LOL.


    • Thank you. I think pork chops would be even nicer, as I’m not overly impressed with these bacon chops. I’m not the greatest fan of pork chops as the meat can turn out too dry. I tend to buy boneless pork shoulder steaks as those are great in stew type dishes. Haven’t cooked chops in years. Think I’ll have to try and find a good recipe that will keep the meat nice and tender.


        • You know, brining seems to be an American thing. I don’t even know the process or how it tastes. Really must read up on it as I’ve noticed several recipes on WP, including for roasting brined chicken. I’ve never tried the Russian way of covering the chicken completely in salt! Bet that tastes incredibly juicy, as the salt prevents any juices from escaping.


  3. Salad sounds and looks delicious. As Fae said, the ingredients list is amazing. Although I’ve eaten pearl barley before, I’ve never bought any, and I’ve never come across marrowfat peas over here. Have to go looking for both. As for the bocconcini, I love them but I, too, only use them when I have guests as they’re way too expensive. I think I need to go looking at the reduced section at my supermarket more often…


    • It’s very seldom I find anything massively reduced. And I won’t risk buying any meats nor seafood. As for cheese, well that’s a different story as it’s perfectly safe. So with you on the little bocconcini! They do look so good on the plate, though. Even if I found them a little tasteless.


    • I may not have access to an amazing array of vegetables here, nor fresh herbs for that matter. However, I’m loving certain good quality cheeses that I can get my hands on. So nice with a warm salad.


    • Maybe they’re a new thing here as I don’t think I’ve seen them before. I do prefer a boneless pork shoulder steak cooked for much longer. So, I don’t think I’ll be buying the bacon chops again. Fun to try them out, though.


  4. I love how you ‘create’ your meals in fine detail and make everything sound so exciting! I’m not v. good in the salad department … meaning, for me a ‘salad’ is something one eats predominantly during warmer months, and always includes salad leaves (though not always tomatoes) and anything else that is raw and crunchy. Your salads instead, such as this warm salad, are not mere accompaniments to the meal (like the starter salad that is very American or the salad as a side dish) but a veritable treasure trove of ingredients and textures. You’re a wizard with soups too … How about writing a book about soups and salads à la Piglet?


    • What a lovely comment. You know, I’ve never thought of myself as much of a salad person. And I have to admit several are just mere versions of each other, using quite similar seeds and nuts as I always seem to have pumpkin seeds and almonds in my cupboards. I do like their versatility, as in salads, and love differing textures and flavours to my food. Regardless of how good risotto can be I prefer it the Italian way as a smallish starter. Why I get bored with eating it is beyond me. As for soups, yes – they’re my thing. Always have been, along with savouries. Maybe I should include the other ‘s’ and go for broke!


  5. Johnny, I have to tell you that I never heard of bacon chops. They are incredible. The name alone is intriguing!! Wow, this meal is superb!!


    • This would have been even better without the bacon chops. I’ll have to think of a sauce to go with them rather than a warm salad. Savoy cabbage is the obvious contender as a green. Although, in summer I think a piquant tomato based sauce could be good. With lots of green peppers/capsicum.


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