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Traditional English Breakfast

I am helping a friend organize his daughter's wedding and his soon to be son-in-law is English, and required the traditional English breakfast for the day after.
I have tried googling and research, having come up with nada, I am turning to the chowhounds for help.

Thank you! I really do appreciate it!

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  1. Are you looking for a menu of what to serve?

    1. Following on from the above I'm presuming a list of ingredients is what you're looking for. Well to me you have to have:

      - 2 fried eggs
      - 1 tomato (cut in half and grilled or fried)
      - fried mushrooms
      - baked beans
      - 1/2 sausages
      - black pudding (may be hard to obtain in Canada, but you may find boudin noir in Montreal which is basically the same. Or 'morcilla' if you know a Spanish deli)
      - toast (if you're gonna go mad fried bread)
      - bacon
      - a GOOD cup of tea
      - maybe condiments -> brown sauce/english mustard/ketchup according to tastes

      With that you're basically there - people may substitute one or two things (especially black pudding which isn't for everyone). It's not complex food, the difficulty is basically cooking so many things simultaneously.

      Hope that's of some help (or even what you're asking for!)

      8 Replies
      1. re: chief1284

        Wait a few things there aren't clear:

        1/2 sausages = 1 or 2 sausages

        On toast - I meant you can even do fried bread if you want to go really mad, although it does make things ridiculously greasy.

        1. re: chief1284

          Wow! Thank you guys!
          That is about what was mentionned. What is a grilled or fried tomato?

          What about toast? Any good bread will do? And what is fried bread? Sounds yummy!
          I need to go back to my roots and visit you guys!
          What kind of brown sauce?

          Black pudding I get, doesn't mean they will, my friend is in San Fransisco, California.

          I am really appreciating this!

          1. re: Richelle

            The full English breakfast is simple fare. Fried tomato is just a regular tomato fried in the same fat as the bacon and sausages.

            Brown sauce is most recognisable in the iconic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_Sauce form, it is not a gravy or stock based sauce, it is however considered an essential condiment for the 'full' experience.

            Toast would usually be made from the regular sliced white sandwich loaf, but any quality toast would be a nice addition.

            You'd also commonly find some form of fried potatoes, usually par boiled, sliced then fried.

            The main thing to avoid for a successful meal is to avoid it being too greasy, considering everything in the dish is fried it isn't quite as easy as it sounds!


            1. re: pass

              If you're trying to be really traditional, serve the toast cold in a server like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/artstrea...

              1. re: pass

                thank you HTH, I appreciate the details, I think I will be trying this myself on a group of friends!

              2. re: Richelle

                I think if you're doing the "full English", it has to be fried bread, rather than toast. Toast would usually be served after the cooked plate - with marmalade.

                Depending on which part of the country son-in-law comes from, there may be regional variations to chief1284's comprehensive list. For example, "bubble & squeak" often appears on London area breakfasts but not usually elsewhere in the country. And a full brekkie without black pudding in my part of the world in unthinkable.

              3. re: chief1284

                I basically had variations of the above menu every morning when I was studying in England. Needless to say, I put on a few pounds back then!

                1. re: chief1284

                  That's a pretty good list.

                  A couple of notes:
                  - The eggs are only fried on one side.
                  - Various people have mentioned bacon. In addition to being a different cut from the American streaky stuff, it's usually cooked to be chewier and less crispy.
                  - The sausages are also different. American sausage meat is often saltier, and sometimes lacks the skin.
                  - The tea is a robust black tea (e.g. Assam), brewed with freshly boiled water. Served with milk.

                2. Make sure the bacon is the best/meatiest possible. There are several grades of bacon in British butcher shops, and the lowest grade is typical U.S. bacon.

                  1. It has to be back bacon, imho. I also really like bubble and squeak, which is typically made with leftover potatoes and cabbage. And brown sauce is a must for me, although some people have ketchup.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Yes if you use streaky bacon (aka American bacon) instead of back bacon it won't be the same thing. It is a completely different cut.

                    2. This website: http://www.tommymoloneys.com/default.asp has the kind of breakfast meats you're looking for to make the classic English/Irish Fry Up.

                      1. To be authentic, be sure to use cheap-ass baked beans. You know the type; like Campbell's and serve them with the nasty "sauce". Every photo I've seen of full-English-breakfasts uses them. (See photo)

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: grampart

                          Has to be Heinz baked beans. They are the classic British comfort food. Nothing like the baked beans you get in America, but I love them anyway, especially on toast as a quick lunch.

                          1. re: greedygirl

                            Definitely has to be Heinz. American baked beans are far too sweet.

                          2. re: grampart

                            Somebody needs to explain that "baked beans" in England are "canned pork and beans" in the US.

                          3. All of you guys are awesome, I am taking this down, looking at the links and as a pro bono wedding planner(Should start my own business..lol)) I am going to really study this further, but as of yet, you are all my best answers!

                            Thank you!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Richelle

                              don't forget good jam such as strawberry and or marmalade (orange).

                              Proper tea with milk but coffee is ok too.

                              yes it has to be Heinz baked beans - try a British section of your supermarket if you have one, and brown sauce such as HP or OK or Daddies. Link sausages not sausage. Eggs can be fried or scrambled, lots of white sliced toast. Grilled tomatoes are broiled - cut in half and broil the crap outta them - slightly burned and certainly soft but not collapsed.

                              1. re: smartie

                                In agreement on the beans -- make sure you get the imported ones, although they will be shockingly expensive in North America, compared to their cheapness here!

                                1. re: ette

                                  Although, in a couple of recent newspaper "blind tastings" , Heinz beans have not scored as well as supermarket own brands. The most recent I've seen, in last Sunday's Observer food section, showed Morrison's coming out top, followed by Waitrose, with Heinz in third place.

                                  It's a view I'd agree with usually buying from my normal supermarket, Sainsbury, as having a nicer taste & texture than Heinz. Which, of course, is absolutely no help to Richelle :-)

                                  1. re: Harters

                                    But much appreciated. We will so enjoy this!

                            2. get some copies of the Sun or Daily Mail or other tabloids - might be a cute touch. You might find an English pub willing to give you their old British newspapers.

                              1. Wow..this is all too awesome..I am definately doing this for my friends and family.

                                Thanks a bunch guys!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Richelle

                                  Black pudding is available by online order from several outfits in the US that sell grocery items imported from the UK. A game of Go Fetch played with your Google-dog will find it. Oh, and for anyone who doesn't really care for a cooked breakfast, have a box of Weetabix cereal and some bowls and milk. It's sold in the US---I may have seen it at WholeFoods. Someplace.

                                2. I've enjoyed lots of full English fry-ups... IMHO, the Heinz beans can be adequately duplicated with Campbell's. Do include the tomatoes! The sausages, especially in the North of England, are really special. I've not found anything comparable in the US. I've never learned to love black pudding, but the fried bread is a treat!

                                  My most memorable breakfast in England was when Clarissa Dickson Wright treated me to a bacon and egg bap, cooked on a little stove in the back of her truck on a freezeing cold morning at Altcar. Good friends, good dogs, good food... what more can one ask for???

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: onrushpam

                                    When I eat a "full English", I think the quality of the sausage is the absolute key. Cheap and nasty sausages make for a cheap and nasty brekkie - you can get away with sub-prime bacon but not sub-prime sausage.

                                    Now, I see the OP is in Montreal. I've only ever spent a few days in Canada and don't know if British style sausages are easily available there. American sausages are very different in taste and texture from ours. If Canadian sausages are the same as American ones, then personally I'd leave them off the plate as they just wont be right for what the OP wants to create. Use back bacon and you'll be fine - just don't use the peameal type (lovely in itself but just not right)


                                  2. If you're planning to do a full english breakfast as part of a next day wedding meal, you really want it to look posh. All the suggestions are basically what you get in your run of the mill B&B or Hotel. Try looking at what the 5 star hotels do and see how they serve up their breakfast. Something that not only looks good but uses the finest quality ingredients. Eg - I would not suggest using tinned bake beans, get some beans you like, eg harricot beans or adzuki beans and cook them in a rich tomato sauce. You will see the difference. As for bacon, if possible look for the thick cut stuff or can get your butcher to slice you some lovely looking pieces...