When I was 16 one of my first jobs was working in my local cafe. One morning my boss was off sick and I got asked to prep 4 breakfasts. I had never made a breakfast before (I’d eaten loads) and if I said it was a disaster that would’ve been an understatement. By the time the bacon and sausages were cooked the eggs were cold, the tomatoes were raw and even the toast was floppy. Needless to say it was the last day I worked there!!
Obviously times change and the Dazzler is always shocked how I can go from a fridge full of ingredients to a full English in less time than it takes for him to have a shower, but the other day whilst I was throwing everything together I got a flashback to my earliest escapade and it got me thinking that I should share my years of wisdom on how to make our national dish perfectly so here goes….
Bacon – I love back bacon (Canadian bacon to my US Chums) and always get the best I can afford. There is nothing worse than watching half of what you bought dripping off the grill in the form of liquid so I’d rather have less of a good thing than more of a poor thing!!
Sausages – now here I give you not one but 2 dilemmas – Thick or Thin AND Meaty or Fatty. You see for me either fantastically meaty or awfully fatty sausages work equally well with breakfast and when it comes to girth I am equally ambivalent – I’m no size queen, I even like those skinless beauties with breakfast. So I guess its up to you.
Toast – not fried bread, not bread but toast. Day old bread works best if you are using homemade and if not then go for your favourite. I alternate between thick granary or sourdough for preferences. Make sure its toasted and warm before your serving up – I make mine first and then keep it in the bottom part of the grill.
Eggs – Again I’m no purist – for health reasons (and because I love them) I usually poach mine but equally as delicious are scrambled eggs (indeed if I am ever to have beans with breakfast (which I count as an abomination) then scrambled it is! I’m not fond personally of fried eggs but if I’m doing a one pan wonder then fried it is – just not OVER fried. Obviously for the purposes of a full cooked then Boiled just doesn’t cut it!!
Tomatoes – for preference I will have a whole tomato sliced and then grilled or fried depending on how I’m cooking but I’m just as likely to have either cherry tomatoes fried with my mushrooms or tinned with my breakfast (adding a little Worcester sauce to the remaining juice gives you a Faux ketchup that’s got a lot less sugar in it!) and besides its less effort and the Dazzler loves them.
Mushrooms – I love either baby button – cut in half and then cooked in butter or large meaty mushrooms sliced and cooked the same way – with a little parsley added in for good measure. I’ve even been known to use a handful of frozen mushrooms at a pinch (think Greasy Spoon!)
Extras – Hashbrowns, Black Pudding, White Pudding, Fried Bread and (god forbid) Baked beans are all additions that you will see in many cooked breakfasts. They don’t get into mine for health reasons (OK the beans are just a personal thing and I know everyone – even my mum!! – loves them but to me they are just WRONG!!)
Tea – not coffee or orange juice but good old fashioned tea is the order of the day with my breakfasts. I have a secret version which involves making a pot with 1 bag of earl grey & 2 bags of breakfast tea that gives a really refreshing brew and really complements this belly buster of a meal!!
So how do I do it?
- First put the kettle on (fill it to the top!!).
- Heat up the grill and add sausages and halved tomatoes, skin side up. You can also add the bacon if you are using skinny sausages
- Next pop your first batch of toast in the toaster and then slice your mushrooms. If you are using thick sausages its at this point that you add the bacon to the Grill
- When the kettle has boiled add your teabags to the pot , fill with boiling water and set to one side
- If you are making poached eggs then add the rest of the boiling water to a small pan with a couple of dashes of vinegar before bringing back to the boil.
- At this point check on your grill-pan, turning the sausages, Tomatoes & bacon if necessary
- Pop your toast from the toaster under the grill and pop in your next batch. keep doing this with all the toast
- Heat a frying pan and fry your mushrooms with a little butter and parsley then leave in the warm pan. (if frying cherry tomatoes then pop them in too)
- Your bacon & sausages should now be ready so turn off the grill and close the door
If you are poaching your eggs…
- By now your water pan should be boiling so bring this down to a gentle simmer.
- Next spin the water with a spoon until you see a mini whirlpool.
- Crack in your eggs – as many as you need – the whirlpool will do the rest in making sure they come out perfect
If you are making fried or Scrambled…
- Transfer your mushrooms (and tomatoes) to a bowl and stick it in the grill to keep warm
- heat some butter in the pan and either fry or scramble your eggs
- Now get your plates out, butter your toast, adding at least 1 whole piece and 1 halved piece per plate
- Arrange the other ingredients on the plate by which time your eggs should be ready.
- Transfer these to your plates (preferably onto a piece of toast) Serve and look smug!!
Cooked Breakfasts are FLABULOUS!!
Alternatively if you are hungover…
…go for the one pan wonder. Just throw your sausages in the pan – 5 mins later add the bacon, 5 mins after that add the veggies – and finally your eggs. Cook till your eggs are done then serve on hot toast. Not Nice, Not healthy – but sometimes needed. dont mess with Tea – go for Red Bull!!
And if you are veggie…
replace the saussages with veggie sausages (quorn for preference) and the bacon with…
oh who am I trying to kid!!