Farmhouse Breakfast Week starts Today!
“How do you like your eggs, fried or boiled?” That was the catchphrase the British Egg industry used for a television advert some 20 + years ago and it is true that the way you cook eggs for breakfast can be rather boring……….the advert then went on to say, cue man dreaming of his perfect cooked eggs…“or coddled, scrambled, in an omelette, poached..”……and it is that thorny issue that I will grasp this morning for my first Farmhouse Breakfast Week post! It’s all about eggs today and eggs in the most famous of British breakfasts, The Full English Breakfast – F E B, or as it is sometimes called The Full Monty!
So, how do you like your eggs? Well, I am a bit of a non-conformist here – I know I am probably in the minority, but my eggs when fried for a Full English Breakfast have to be “sans wobbly yolk” and must be mixed up and turned over! My husband and daughter on the other hand like their eggs “sunny side up” for suitable bacon, toast or sausage dipping! It’s all a matter of personal preference and I am in the “non wobbly” yolk camp. It’s the same when it comes to boiled eggs too…..I know that soft boiled eggs and toast soldiers are a classic breakfast dish, and I SO want to like my eggs that way, but, I am a hard boiled eggs kinda gal and always have been. However, I don’t mind a soft golden yolk when it comes to a poached or coddled egg though……yes, I know, I am an “egg enigma!” I also like my bacon crispy, and my mushrooms slightly toasty on the edges, as well as well cooked and slightly charred fried tomatoes…….yes, I know, I’m a little fussy about my Full English Breakfast!
A Full English Breakfast is indeed 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. Below is my basic recipe for an FEB, with optional extras, as is expected for a feast like this. 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…..and is an ideal recipe to kick of Farmhouse Breakfast Week on a Sunday.
(Excuse my rather poor photos, but a HOT FEB waits for no man and certainly no woman with a camera, so these were taken in haste!)
|The Full Monty – F E B – Full English Breakfast||
- 2 links of good quality Butcher’s sausages
- 2 to 3 rashers of good smoked back or streaky bacon
- 2 field mushrooms
- 1 or 2 ripe tomatoes
- 1 or 2 large free-range eggs
- 1 slice bread
- Optional Extras:
- 1 slice black pudding (optional)
- baked beans (optional)
- cooked potatoes, thinly sliced (optional)
- Heat a flat griddle over a low heat, over the top of 2 rings if it fits, and brush sparingly with light olive oil or vegetable oil.
- Sausages: Always buy sausages with a high meat content. Cook these first. Add the sausages to the hot griddle 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.
- 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 griddle 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.
- Mushrooms: Wipe your mushrooms, cleaning away any dirt and trim the stalk so it’s 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)
- Tomatoes: Cut the tomatoes across the centre/or in half lengthways if using plum tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Place cut-side down on the griddle and cook without moving for 4 minutes. Gently turn over and season again. Cook for a further 3-5 minutes until tender but still holding their shape.
- 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 or bacon drippings. 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 or bacon drippings.
- Eggs: Break the eggs straight into a frying pan with the fried bread and leave for 30 seconds. Add a good knob of butter/oil or bacon drippings and lightly baste the egg with the fats when melted. Cook to your liking, season and gently remove with a fish slice.
- Serving: 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: Cut the black pudding into 3-4 slices and remove the skin. Place on the griddle and cook for 1 to 2 minutes each side until slightly crispy. Heat up the baked beans in a saucepan and serve on top of the fried bread, or on the side. Fry the sliced cooked potatoes in a little butter/bacon drippings until crispy and golden brown. Season with a little salt and black pepper.
This breakfast recipe would be perfect for a Slow Sunday and that’s the name of a new event that I will be starting next week, so look out for more details. Have a wonderful Sunday, and I hope you all managed to enjoy breakfast for the first day of Farmhouse Breakfast Week. See you later with more of my latest news, new events and recipes……..Karen