I usually include scrummy sweet desserts and puddings as part of my comfort food recipes for Nostalgia Pie and my incredibly sweet tooth is to blame for that! If ever I need a dose of good old fashioned comfort, sugar hits the spot remarkably well and as I’ve overindulged my sweet tooth over the years, most sugary things make me feel quite nostalgic.
However, for the first time, I’m including a savoury dish: The full English. Also known as a fry up or heart attack on a plate! the full English is thankfully not a thing of the past. It is very much alive and kicking and served in cafes, pubs and restaurants up and down the country and due to it’s ever increasing popularity – even now when we are constantly reminded of healthy eating concepts – it will be for years to come. Fry ups are an iconic part of any English menu and are as synonymous with England as fish and chips or Yorkshire pudding. Tourists visit England hoping to sample this dish as part of their British experience.
A traditional full English consists of bacon, eggs, sausages, baked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding, fried bread or toast, and quite often a potato component such as bubble and squeak or hash browns. It is served with a hot drink such as tea or coffee. Fry ups vary slightly depending on which region in the United Kingdom it is being served.
A full English breakfast was always a firm favourite in our household, especially with my dad. As we were a family of six, there obviously wasn’t time for such a major blow out during the week, so it would be saved for Sunday brunch instead. Also, along with a cappuccino and an effervescent berroca tablet, I found it to be the perfect hangover cure!
And I really missed it during the time I spent in the States. Don’t get me wrong, American breakfasts are amazing and I loved tucking into them but there were times when only a full English would do and even though Americans are aware of our super greasy delight, it was very hard to come by in the cafes and restaurants in health conscious Portland, Oregon. Of course, I could have just made it myself at home but the ingredients tasted a lot different in the States than they did at home. Even though there were what seemed like fifty seven varieties of bacon and sausage, it wasn’t the same as what we got at home, so I much preferred to serve them with waffles or pancakes for breakfast as it seemed to accompany them much better.
However, a fry up isn’t just a breakfast food. It’s way too delicious to only be served at one time of the day. It makes a great lunch or dinner, especially if served with chips. Cafes in the United Kingdom often include it on their menus as an ‘all day breakfast.’ Fry ups often have a reputation for being calorie-laden; artery clogging and extremely unhealthy so naturally it’s not something you would want to serve up everyday.
But there are ways in which you can cook a full English so that it a lot healthier but still as yummy. It depends on the quality of the ingredients used and also despite its name, ‘fry ups’ don’t have to be fried! The recipe I’m going to use is my own and it’s always been a hit with everyone – even if I say so myself! The majority of components in this dish are grilled or oven cooked so it’s much better for you. The egg could also be poached if you wish to further reduce the amount of fried components you have on your plate. Any variety of bacon, sausage and bread can be used although I recommend cutting a slice of bread from an unsliced loaf as I find the slices in most pre-cut loaves too thin.
So whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner, I hope you enjoying cooking Dark Angel’s healthy(ish) Full English!
Dark Angel’s Full English
For one person
2 bacon rashers
1 slice black pudding
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 tomato, halved
1 handful of button mushrooms, sliced thickly
1 thick slice of bread
Dried herbs of your choice
Salt and pepper (optional)
Ketchup and/or brown sauce
- Add a splash of lemon juice, some salt and pepper to the sliced mushrooms.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lightly grease an ovenproof dish with some olive oil. Season potatoes with salt, pepper and dried herbs. Add a splash of olive oil and place in oven.
- Preheat grill, and after about 10 minutes, start grilling bacon, sausages and black pudding.
- Butter both sides of bread.
- After 10 minutes, place tomato halves under grill.
- Cook egg as preferred.
- Place sliced mushrooms under the grill.
- In a heated pan, start frying slice of bread so it is lightly brown on both sides.
- Heat baked beans,
- When all components are ready, take off heat and put on plate.
- Serve with ketchup and/or brown sauce and EAT!!!
A full English might appear easy enough to implement but timing is the key to delivering a successful dish. With so many components, all of which have different cooking times, it can be tricky. Always keep an eye on each component as it is being cooked.