The Good ol’ British Fry-Up: (English/Irish/Scottish/Welsh Breakfast)

The Good ol’ British Fry-Up:  (English/Irish/Scottish/Welsh Breakfast)

One of the most difficult things to do is to get several culinary elements done, ready at the same time.  This is the problem with the fry-up.

What would you like to do for this breakfast? And how long does each of them take?  ….and can they stay warm without spoiling? That’s the secret.

  • Bacon Fried/Grilled                                  10 mins                 yes
  • Eggs Fried                                                    5 mins                   NO!
  • Sausage Grilled                                          15 mins                  yes
  • Fried/grilled toms Fried/Grilled           15 mins                  yes
  • Baked Beans Saucepan                             5 mins                   yes
  • Black pudding Fried                                  5 mins                   yes
  • Fried bread Fried                                      10 mins                   yes
  • Hash Browns Fried                                  10 mins                  yes

From the above, you’ll see that the whole thing depends on how many eggs you need and whether you have enough pans to fry ‘em in!

If it was a perfect world, breakfast would be ready in 15 minutes, according to the table – but to do that you’d need five frying pans, a saucepan and a grill on a cooker with 6 rings.  It ain’t gonna happen.  Let’s tackle it sensibly:

  • Take a baking tray, place the halved tomatoes, cut side up.
  • Place the sausages, pricked with a fork, on the tray as well. Yes, we’re gonna cheat.
  • Drizzle a bit of oil on each of the tomatoes and season with a little salt – not too much.
  • Drizzle a little oil on the sausages and spread it all over them with a clean finger. They are clean….yes? (The fingers, not the sausages!)
  • Pop those in the oven on about….. say….. approximately…. Perhaps 200C.
  • Take your sliced bread. Cut it corner to corner.
  • Put a frying pan on the heat with a good amount of olive oil (alright – whatever oil you have) in it. Before it gets hot, briefly dip each bit of bread in the oil, both sides, and put it on a plate.  Just momentarily dip it, not soak it.
  • As the oil level goes down and the temperature goes up, the bread can be returned to the pan to fry and go golden. Juggle them so that the bread gets fried up to your standard.  Take the pan off the heat.  The bread can then be left on the surface.  It will cool.  That’s ok.  Bread done.
  • Pan on the heat again. Fry the black pud slices both sides and put with the bread.
  • Open a can of baked beans. Slop it into a saucepan and put onto a very low heat.  Bung a blob o’butter in it and some dried thyme.    You’ll need to stir it every 2 mins.
  • Pan back on – fry the hash browns. There’s only the bacon and those ruddy eggs left to do after these hash browns are done.
  • Put the hash browns onto a plate.
  • By this time, the sausages & toms will need turning over. Do that.
  • At the same time (with the other pair of hands) put all the bits that you’ve cooked (and have sitting on plates all over the ruddy kitchen) onto the same baking sheet as the sausages and toms. Go on – it’ll all fit (it’ll have to!). 
  • Now put that in the oven and turn the oven down to 140C.
  • Bacon into the pan. Turn the heat up.  Get it sizzlin’.  Turn the bacon.
  • Before the bacon is done, take it out and put it in the oven with the rest. Of course it’ll fit….
  • Turn the frying pan down and fry your eggs.
  • Before the whites have set properly, separate the whites from one another so that you don’t get a multitude of eggs coming out in one lump. Use the spatula to separate them into single or pairs, as necessary.
  • So, plate up your eggs, however many each person wants, and hand the plates out.
  • The rest of the breakfast can go onto plates or platters so that everyone can help themselves. YOUR WORK IS DONE!

Well done!  You survived.  It ain’t easy, eh?  But you did it.

Here’s to next time, when you do it for more than one person! 

…….. OH SHIT!   You forgot THE TOAST!

Bacon-Spiked Scrambled Eggs:

Bacon-Spiked Scrambled Eggs:

Prep:           5 mins.

Cooking:      10 mins.

Course:        Breakfast/Snack

Serves:        2 (and that’s the very best sort of breakfast….)    

Rating:         1:  Very easy

Lovely scrambled eggs enhanced by beautifully crispy bacon morsels giving spikes of intense flavour.

Find:

  • 4 or 5 Eggs
  • 2, 3 or 4 rashers of bacon or an amount of bacon bits
  • Butter & a little oil
  • Black pepper (you may not need salt as it has bacon)
  • Scissors
  • Frying pan

Method:

  • Snip the bacon into little bits using kitchen scissors. Get the pan hot and put in a small amount of oil.
  • Throw the cut bacon in. Keep all the bacon bits moving using a spatula until they are nicely crispy – about five minutes, I suppose.
  • Pour the excess oil off, into a cup, retaining it for doing the roast spuds tomorrow… (don’t be tempted to pour it down the sink – see Tricks’n’Tips for how to deal with fats & oils).
  • Put a knob of butter into the pan.
  • Pour your beaten (or at least, fairly defeated) eggs into the pan on top of the bacon and keep them moving.
  • Remember to serve the scrambled eggs onto plates before they look cooked – have courage!
  • The resulting light, soft, silky scrambled eggs are wonderfully enhanced by the intensely flavoured crispy bacon spikes.
  • Scoff with pleasure.

For the slimmers in our number, replace all references to ‘oil’ or ‘butter’ with this Fry-Light stuff.  It’s nowhere near as good, but when attempting to shed a pound or two….. (or stones, in my case) it is a dammed good idea.  And, more to the point, it works.

A really very nice indeed Non-Veggie breakfast pan…..

A really very nice indeed Non-Veggie breakfast pan…..

Inspired by watching Jamie – so he should take the credit. (Not ALL of it, mind…..)

Prep:           15 mins.

Cooking:      15 mins.

Course:        Breakfast/Snack

Serves:        As many as……

Rating:         1:  Very easy

Find:

  • As much bacon, as many sausages and as many slices of black pudd’n as you wish (you won’t need much, actually)
  • As many eggs as you want to use
  • Red & yellow peppers
  • Mushrooms of whatever description
  • Onions (make yer own mind up how many)
  • Garlic – you make the decision how many cloves!
  • Tins of plum tomatoes – half the number of people; that’s how many.
  • Oil, seasoning, chillies if you would like, Tabasco or Worcester sauce if you don’t.
  • You see, you must be ACCURATE with your quantities….. (Ha!)

Method:

  • Chop the meaty bits, de-seed & snip up the peppers, mushrooms – perhaps even a few pre-cooked chestnuts as well if you have ‘em – and pop ‘em into a large, well-oiled frying pan over a high-ish heat. Get ‘em all going and cook them well.
  • Chuck in a bit of water to take the bits of flavour from the surface of the pan (Jamie used a paella pan – you can use whatever you like).

Now do the calculation:

How many people (say 4); so that’s half of 4….. duh….

Ah yes, two cans of plum tomatoes.

  • Open the cans, pour in the juice and then take a table knife to the tomatoes to just cut them in the cans with a couple of strokes of the knife, randomly – you don’t want chopped tomatoes (otherwise I would have specified a can of chopped tomatoes, wouldn’t I ?…..) and pour them in. Keep the heat up.
  • Chuck in a few dried herbs, or fresh if you have them (torn-up basil leaves would be especially good, but that would be best just at the end), and get it up to boiling.
  • You can put the garlic in now as well. Peeled & sliced, or through a garlic crusher.
  • Season, mix in your flavourings, taste, etc. Turn down the heat.
  • When you are happy with the gorgeous taste, make as many holes in the surface of the mixture as you have eggs, cracking one into each hollow.
  • Don’t hang about though or they’ll be cooked at different times – get a wiggle on!
  • Turn out the heat, pop a lid on top (if you have one) or some foil if you haven’t and in about 3 minutes you should have a lovely breakfast suitable for your non-veggie friends.
  • Especially with the black pudd’n.
  • Serve it up onto toast or pop some into flatbreads of some sort, sprinkling the torn basil leaves on top as it’s served.
  • Great for sharing – Just scoff it!

A really nice veggie breakfast pan…..

A really nice veggie breakfast pan…..

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      10 mins.

Course:        Breakfast/Snack

Serves:        As many as…..

Rating:         1:  Very easy

A variation of a Mexican-ish anti-hangover breakfast of Jamie’s, this is a lovely way to have an almost English breakfast fry-up without the bacon & sausages (and we won’t even MENTION the black puddin’!)

Find:

  • As many eggs as you want to use
  • Red & yellow peppers
  • Mushrooms of whatever description
  • Onions (make yer own mind up how many)
  • Garlic – you make the decision how many cloves!
  • Tins of plum tomatoes – halve the number of people; that’s how many.
  • Oil, seasoning, chillies if you would like, Tabasco or Worcester sauce if you don’t.

Method:

  • Snip up the peppers, mushrooms – perhaps even a few pre-cooked chestnuts as well – and pop ‘em into a large, well-oiled frying pan over a high-ish heat. Get ‘em all going and cook ‘em well.
  • Chuck in a bit of water to take the bits of flavour from the surface of the pan (Jamie used a paella pan – you can use whatever pan you like; or, more to the point, whatever pan you have).
  • Now do the calculation:

How many people (say 4); now half of 4….. duh….

Ah yes, two cans of plum tomatoes.

  • Open the cans, pour in the juice and then take a table knife to the tomatoes to just cut them roughly & randomly whilst still in the can – you don’t want to use chopped tomatoes (otherwise I would have specified chopped tomatoes…..) and pour them in. Keep the heat up.
  • Chuck in a few dried herbs, or fresh if you have them (torn-up basil leaves would be especially good), and get it up to boiling. You can put the garlic in now as well. Season, mix in your flavourings, taste, etc.  Turn down the heat a bit.
  • When you are happy with the gorgeous taste, make as many holes in the surface of the mixture as you have eggs, cracking one into each hollow. Don’t hang about though or they’ll be cooked at different times – so get a wiggle on!
  • Pop a lid on top (if you have one) or some foil if you haven’t and in about 3 minutes you should have a lovely breakfast suitable for your veggie friends.
  • Serve it up onto toast, or pop some onto flatbreads of some sort. Just scoff it!

With many thanks to Jamie – it is based on his idea and I think that anyone with a good idea should be credited with it, even if it has been ‘Muddified’..

Katie’s FROACHED Eggs:

Poached eggs:

………or to be more exact: Katie’s FROACHED Eggs:

Prep:           2 mins.

Cooking:      keep watchin’ it.

Course:        Breakfast/Snack

Serves:

Rating:         1:  Very easy – but very clever!

Our beautiful friend, Katie Compson, had a very short life.  She lived only 31 years before she succumbed to cancer.  Every death due to cancer is sad.  Every young death from cancer is a tragedy, but as Katie was so talented, intelligent and successful – as well as just plain gorgeous – it was a disaster like no other to everyone; her unfair death hit so many people so hard. 

Katie was very well educated and she used that quality education to such good effect.  She achieved such an incredible amount both before and after her degree.  She’d worked in Italy for six months, had been an intern for Bill Clinton and his team in the USA for 6 months and was working in Japan in a law firm, having learned several languages and the systems of law in each country, when she suddenly fell ill.  I’ve no idea how it all fitted into that beautiful head! 

My wife and I first encountered Katie in our local theatre when we were playing in a Christmas pantomime.  Katie was 16 and very nervous, but she had such obviously high intelligence and such a great stage potential.  My wife and I loved her immediately and we became firm friends of her and her family straight away.  Her sister, Sarah, is equally gorgeous and they both get all of their good qualities from their similarly gorgeous mother, Jenny. 

Katie, at this point a late teenager, showed me this method of poaching eggs one morning (well, it was morning to Katie – she’d actually just got up…. The ‘adults’ were already on the wine…….)

“You don’t need a big saucepan of boiling water or to do all this swirling crap” she told me.  Katie was never backward in coming forward, if you see what I mean.

  • Frying pan.
  • Boiling water.
  • 2 drops vinegar.
  • Egg in.
  • Wait.

And that’s precisely what she did.  If your frying pan is a bit on the iffy side, like mine, just oil the pan a little and spread it with a clean finger (you can just wash your hands, y’know…. no need to just choose one finger to wash – and do it before you put the pan on the heat ……obviously!).

  • Pour boiling water into the pan to about a half of an inch depth (1-2 cm) or so
  • Break as many eggs as you want into the same cup
  • Bring back to a vigorous boil
  • Add a few drops of vinegar; quite literally just a couple of drops. I don’t like to use malt vinegar, but you can if that’s all you have; the effect is the same. Just bring the water back to a good boil and turn out the heat.
  • Carefully tip the eggs into the pan, dropping them where you want them to cook, pop on a glass lid or an anti-spit mesh cover, then wait. The egg white will set as you watch.  I suppose just about 5 or 6 minutes?
  • Occasionally give it a bit of a poke to see if the white has set.
  • Gently pour away the majority of the water and lift out the eggs with a suitable spatula or fish slice. And scoff.  And think about the gorgeous young lass who showed me what to do.  I certainly do.   Every single time.
  • Of course, if you do some toast  whilst the whites are setting, you can have froached eggs on toast.

If you’d like to find out more about Katie and the foundation set up in her name, go to: http://www.katiecompsonfoundation.com/     I am certain that they’d welcome a contribution or two as well, if you find her story as fascinating as mine.

Boiled eggs:

Boiled eggs:

Prep:           5 mins.

Cooking:      5 mins.

Course:        Breakfast/Snack

Serves:

Rating:         1:  Very easy

 

Whatever complete idiot originally said “He can’t even boil an egg” should be shot at dawn, twice each day for a week, just to make sure he/she was successfully finished off……..

It isn’t the easiest of things to explain how to do as it depends where you store your eggs, whether the eggs are very fresh or older, the cooker itself, whether you are using electricity or gas, the pan type, etc.  However, follow Saint Delia’s method and you’ll stand a good chance…… just so long as you can boil water……..

You do have access to water, don’t you?

Saint Delia’s method:

  • Lower the eggs (using a tablespoon) into gently simmering water. 
  • Simmer for exactly one minute, then remove the saucepan from the heat, and leave the pan, with a lid on, for a further five minutes for small eggs, six minutes for larger eggs.

 

Colin’s method:

  • Just prick the blunt end of the eggs with a very sharp knife or something similar (and if you can’t tell which end of the egg is blunt or more rounded, nip off to Specsavers…..) to break into the air sac.
  • I lower the eggs (usually 2 or 3) into already vigorously boiling water (no salt) with a tablespoon, and I keep the heat high for 4½  minutes.  For one egg (for wusses wot can’t eat more than one egg), try 4 mins.
  • Pour the boiling water into the washing-up bowl (don’t put it down the sink cos you’ll be wasting all that energy that you will have to pay for anyway) and start chompin’ y’eggs.

Scrambled Eggs:

Scrambled Eggs:

Prep:           5 mins.

Cooking:      2 mins.

Course:        Breakfast/Snack

Serves:

Rating:         1:  Very easy, but for the best result you will need to have the courage to tip the egg mixture out of the pan before it looks to be fully cooked, otherwise it will be spoiled – see text.

For one person, find:

  • 2 or 3 eggs
  • Oil
  • Wooden/silicon spoon or spatula with which to move things about in the pan.
  • Non-stick saucepan as above, but this time, using butter instead of the oil.

Method:

  • Melt the butter gently and add the beaten egg. Simply keep the mixture moving at all times, not allowing it to be still for a second, keeping it slowly moving in the pan over a medium heat – the spoon should not be still for an instant. 
  • Tip the scrambled egg on to the warmed plate whilst it still looks quite wet, before it looks to be fully cooked as it will continue cooking on the plate as you eat it. If you leave it too long it will become hard and not very nice (like you’ll get at a motorway service area, school dinners and cheap hotel breakfasts….).
  • Season to taste – either in the pan or on the plate.

ALSO SEE:  Bacon-Spiked Scrambled Eggs; in the meat section.  Yummy!

Porridge – just plain, ordinary Porridge.

Porridge – just plain, ordinary Porridge.

…but like I was saying earlier… if you ain’t bin told, ‘ow d’y’know?

Prep:           30 secs.

Cooking:      5-8 mins.

Course:        Brekkie – you CAN have it as a main course, I suppose, but I

don’t think that I’ll be coming to join you every morning – so     you’re safe!

Serves:        AMAR

Rating:         1: Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!

Find:

  • Box of porridge oats
  • Milk
  • Sugar to taste
  • Saucepan

METHOD:

  • Read the instructions on the box.
  • Put however much porridge oats into the saucepan.
  • Pour in as much milk as it needs.
  • Add sugar to taste.
  • Heat & stir. Bring to boil.
  • Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 mins, or however long it tells to you simmer it for when you read the instructions on the box.

The thing with porridge is, even though it has the street cred of a house-brick and it doesn’t exactly appear exciting to the eye, it is truly one of the best breakfasts that you can have.  (And you don’t have to tell anyone that you eat it every morning…….)

The fact is: the early brain needs feeding, and porridge does the biz.

  • Try plopping a dollop or two of jam in it and swirlin’ it around.
  • Or pour a few drops of vanilla extract (or a dollop of vanilla paste) into it whilst it’s cooking.