A fine British tradition - and a meal to set you up for the day; there is a saying in the UK that goes like this: "breakfast like a King, lunch like a Queen and have supper like a pauper"! So, what does a typical full English breakfast consist of? One recipe in an Edwardian Cookbook listed a plethora of ingredients that would have graced the table of many a stately home at the turn of the century, to include 7 courses! A modern day FEB is likely to consist of the following: two sausages, two or three rashers of bacon, fried eggs, fried bread, tomato and lashings of mushrooms with black pudding and brown HP sauce to taste. In finer establishments you can even expect additional courses such as cereal, porridge, kippers, toast and jam or marmalade, kedgeree, or devilled kidneys. Rumour has it that the term 'The Full Monty' is used to refer to these type of breakfasts because Field Marshal Montgomery was rather partial to them. Here is my basic recipe for an FEB, with optional extras! Grill or fry your FEB - and make sure you have acres of hot buttered toast and gallons of English Breakfast Tea! I am NOT suggesting this is what you should eat every morning - but it is a wonderful treat for the weekends, holidays and just when you feel like it.
- Heat the flat grill plate over a low heat, on top of 2 rings/flames if it fits, and brush sparingly with light olive oil or vegetable oil.
- For the sausages.
- Always buy sausages with a high meat content. Cook these first. Add the sausages to the hot grill plate/the coolest part if there is one and allow to cook slowly for about 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden. After the first 10 minutes, increase the heat to medium before beginning to cook the other ingredients. If you are struggling for space, completely cook the sausages and keep hot on a plate in the oven.
- For the bacon.
- Choose between back or streaky, smoked or unsmoked bacon; generally, dry-cure has the best flavour. Snip a few small cuts into the fatty edge of the bacon. Place the bacon straight on to the grill plate and fry for 2-4 minutes each side or until your preferred crispiness is reached. Like the sausages, the cooked bacon can be kept hot on a plate in the oven.
- For the mushrooms.
- Brush away any dirt using a pastry brush and trim the stalk level with the mushroom top. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle over a little olive oil. Place stalk-side up on the grill plate and cook for 1-2 minutes before turning and cooking for a further 3-4 minutes. Avoid moving the mushrooms too much while cooking, as this releases the natural juices, making them soggy. (Alternatively, you can slice your mushrooms, as shown in my photo.).
- For the tomatoes.
- Cut the tomatoes across the centre/or in half lengthways if using plum tomatoes , and with a small, sharp knife remove the green 'eye'. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Place cut-side down on the grill plate and cook without moving for 2 minutes. Gently turn over and season again. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes until tender but still holding their shape.
- For the fried bread.
- For 'proper' fried bread it's best to cook it in a separate pan. Ideally, use bread that is a couple of days old. Heat a frying pan to a medium heat and cover the base with oil. Add the bread and cook for 2-3 minutes each side until crispy and golden. If the pan becomes too dry, add a little more oil. For a richer flavour, add a knob of butter after you turn the slice.
- For the fried eggs.
- Break the egg straight into the pan with the fried bread and leave for 30 seconds. Add a good knob of butter and lightly splash/baste the egg with the butter when melted. Cook to your preferred stage, season and gently remove with a fish slice.
- Once all the ingredients are cooked, serve on warm plates and enjoy straight away with a good squeeze of tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce or brown sauce, and don't forget the toast and marmalade with a pot of good English Breakfast tea.
- Optional Extras.
- Black Pudding.
- Cut the black pudding into 3-4 slices and remove the skin. Place on the grill plate and cook for 1½-2 minutes each side until slightly crispy.
- Baked Beans.
- Heat up the baked beans in a saucepan and serve on top of the fried bread, or on the side.
- Fried Potatoes:.
- Fry the sliced cooked potatoes in a little butter until crispy and golden brown. Season with a little salt and black pepper.