how to make a proper full english breakfast

April 6, 2011

Fullenglishbreakfast650

[Image source]

When I was at university in Sheffield, me and my friends used to pile into a place called Belly Busters after one of our weekly seminars and devour bacon baps, fried egg baps, and the occasional full English. The place was basically a mad house.

There was a dog that ran free in and out of the kitchen (hygienic) and on more than one occasion “escaped” out the front door and bounded into the busy street. Cue lots of drama and yelling. We loved that place.

The kind of full English breakfast they served was proper good stuff. No frills, no fancy ingredients; just lots of lard, runny eggs, and fried bacon. That may not sound like your cup of tea but it.was.the.business.

A few months ago I discovered real English bacon at my local food co-op in Minneapolis. This had previously been unheard of in these parts. I may have shrieked and embarrassed my husband, and I may have panic-bought way more than was necessary. The point is, I found a little slice of home.

If you google “full english breakfast” a few variations on the classic will come up and my version is of course a variation too. It’s all about where you grew up, what your family traditions are, and what you happen to have in the fridge. Plus, how bothered you are about gaining 8 pounds after one meal.

I used to make my full English at home with lard – it was really common in England for a long time, although it’s gone completely out of vogue now. Pah. Healthy eating.

Your Full English should include at least bacon (preferably English back bacon) and/or sausages (Cumberland for me, please), eggs (mine’ll be sunny side up and runny), toast or fried bread and most definitely some of the following:

> baked beans
> fried mushrooms
> fried tomato
> black pudding
> a mug of milky tea

Cooking a full English might read like a bit of a nightmarish juggle, but I promise it’s easy as can be. Bacon and sausages are very forgiving and personally I like them with browned edges so don’t worry if you’re waiting for things to come together. Get things going in the right order and you’ll be dandy.

Full English Breakfast
serves one

Ingredients

  • 2 rashers of English bacon
  • 2 English sausages, if you can find them
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup baked beans
  • 1 slice bread, to toast
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • H P Sauce (otherwise known as brown sauce), as desired

Directions

  1. Sausages take the longest (about 12-15 minutes), so get them going first. Fry in a pan with some preheated oil, turning regularly.
  2. After about 4-5 minutes add bacon to the same pan that the sausages have been cooking in and fry, until your preferred crispiness is reached. The cooked bacon can be kept hot on a plate in the oven.
  3. Place your baked beans in a small sauce pan and heat over medium-low until hot and little bubbles are starting to appear (don’t boil them), about 7 minutes.
  4. Cut the tomato in half, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Place cut-side down in the frying pan and cook in the bacon/sausage fat without moving for 2 minutes. Gently turn over and season again. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes until tender but still holding its shape.
  5. For ‘proper’ fried bread it’s best to cook it in a separate pan. Ideally, use white sandwich bread that is a couple of days old. Heat a frying pan to a medium heat and cover the base with oil. Add the bread and cook for 2-3 minutes each side until crispy and golden. For a richer flavour, add a knob of butter after you turn the slice. You know you want to. Alternatively, just toast the bread. Your arteries will probably thank me for that suggestion.
  6. I am certain you don’t need instructions on how to fry an egg but just in case: gently crack an egg into a lightly greased pan and cook until white has set but yolk still wobbles, season, and gently remove.
  7. Serve everything on a warm plate and enjoy straight away with a good squeeze of brown sauce. Don’t forget your cuppa!
Email this to someonePin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Jimbo June 3, 2013 at 9:43 pm

What was the called in Minneapolis that had the English bacon?

Reply

Jimbo June 3, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Co-op called sorry

Reply

Angharad June 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm

It was The Wedge Coop. I haven’t checked whether they have it for a while but it’s worth having a look!

jariah mohd ali June 17, 2013 at 9:47 pm

when i lived in uk,i like to give my children english breakfast,its fast to make.now we are back home and still our special breakfast is,scrambled eggs with toast,chicken sausage,mushrooms,tomatoes etc,etc,everything we could get here except snow at our backyard..ohh we miss england.

Reply

brandi April 6, 2011 at 8:54 am

looks awesome :) i’ll gladly come over for a full english breakfast!

Reply

elizabeth April 6, 2011 at 8:57 am

I didn’t have a chance to enjoy a full English breakfast while we were in England (although I did learn that I have a taste for Marmite–does that make up for it?) but I did see this everywhere when we stayed in Malaga/Torremolinos a few years ago. Given the number of pubs and the number of English people we saw out and about, we weren’t that surprised I guess but it was still funny. :)

Reply

Grace April 6, 2011 at 9:01 am

you forgot the black pudding!!!

Memories of belly busters bring tears to my eyes and hunger pains to my tum. People even used to smoke in there!

Reply

janetha @ meals & moves April 6, 2011 at 10:59 am

Oh my gosh this is one of the things I miss sooooo much about living in London. I need to give it a whirl.

Reply

Mike April 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm

When I arrived in England from the states I heard of the “English Breakfast”. Of course I had to try it because breakfast is one of my favorite meals. You can’t go wrong with eggs, bacon, sausage, beans and toast!! Mmmmmmm yummmmmy!

Reply

Helen April 6, 2011 at 6:57 pm

mmmm… real bacon! Where did you find it?

Reply

Audrey Davis April 6, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I’ll be heading to England for the first time this summer and I’m so excited! I will definitely try a full english breakfast when i’m over there!

Reply

holly April 7, 2011 at 8:57 am

ummm i need to know what this bacon bap situation is…

ooohh and do we get to see the angharad final picture of your recipe?!? please, please, please?!

Reply

Amy P. April 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

People give me grief when they hear I eat the British Heinz baked beans on toast but, hey, it reminds me of living in England. I’ve got to check that back bacon out, I miss the bacon sandwiches I used to have there.

Have you checked out Anchor Fish and Chips in NE? I think they serve a proper English breakfast on the weekends, or at least they used to.

Reply

Tomas Goodlaxson April 7, 2011 at 11:17 am

An English breakfast is available on weekends at Merlin’s Rest, 36th Av & E. Lake St. Had it several times while watching the World Cup last year.

There is English bacon in the freezer at Everett’s Market, 38th St. & Cedar Av. Haven’t tried it yet, though. Makes me want to recreate the bacon buttys I had in Headington Quarry three years ago.

Reply

theresa April 7, 2011 at 11:18 am

you can also get rashers at irish on grand. they also carry other items from great britain, teas and such. not sure if they have the baked beans but i wouldn’t be surprised. now i want some breakfast!!

Reply

kcmarshall April 7, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I have to ask – what’s with the baked beans? I love them but I’m not quite convinced they’re for breakfast. Any idea how this came about?

Reply

Kristen April 8, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Ah, my dear HP sauce…. How I love you so. Other brown sauces pale in comparison. Sausage + HP sauce + beans + tomato + eggs = an artery-clogged heaven for breakfast. At least I’ll die happy!

Reply

Lindsay April 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Oh my goodness, I need to go back to ENGLAND right now. It makes me so sad that I cannot find english sausages or bacon where I live. I do NOT like american sausages at all. They are too spicy and too dry! :(

Reply

Erik April 16, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Delicious. Nothing like a full english breakfast which is all too rare in Scandinavia, where everyone eats cereal or just toast.

Don’t be so sure it’s unhealthy. It’s low in carbs, high in protein and good fat and bit of vegetable. Seems like an atkins with green diet. Probably good for losing weight.

Reply

Stephanie July 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I have ALWAYS wanted to make a full English breakfast. It’s so simple I must try it soon!

Reply

Lele December 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Quote: “Ingredients: [...] Olive oil”

WTF!? Olive oil? Lard FTW!

Seriously, olive oil doesn’t sound English, does it? I’m Italian, so I can’t tell. Besides lard, you might try clarified butter for a change.

I didn’t know I was supposed to season the dish with HP Sauce… Thanks for the tip.

Cheers.

Reply

David December 16, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Just reading your post makes me hungry for a full English – and it’s eleven o’clock at night! I have been living in Malta for a couple of years, and yet to find a full English that can replicate what you get in Britain and Ireland. That won’t stop me from engaging in further reserach though!

Reply

mrsplant January 27, 2013 at 7:46 am

Ive been researching suppliers of English food online that would supply yo the usa for a little while now. I’m seriously considering moving to the states as i already have family over there and opening a proper English cafe and store. Serving full English breakfast, bacon baps, sausage baps, egg baps, beans on toast (heinz of course!) as well as proper English tea, with bottles of hp sauce and heinz tomato ketchup readily available!
But also then selling cadburys dairy milk chocolate, marmite and alot of other things that aren’t easily available over there but are loved in the uk.
Not too sure whether i would be making a massive mistake though and that it wouldn’t be wanted?

Reply

Angharad January 28, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Hi Sarah! Obviously I can’t give you any business advice but I would go to your cafe! Sounds absolutely amazing!

Reply

Angharad April 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Malaga is a prime spot for “Brits Abroad” – there are a few places in Spain that we seem to have infiltrated with British pubs/food/drunkenness. It kind of makes me shudder.

As for Marmite – not an okay substitute for a full English I’m afraid! You’ll have to make one.

Reply

Angharad April 7, 2011 at 8:30 am

The Wedge coop on Lyndale and Franklin has it – both packaged and in their deli section – I preferred the deli section stuff myself.

Reply

Angharad April 7, 2011 at 11:02 am

Who’s giving you grief? Send them to me, Amy ;)
I adore baked beans on toast and frankly do not eat it enough these days (I think the cost of beans outrages my poor soul too much) – check out the Wedge for back bacon.
I went to The Anchor when it first opened for fish and chips but I’ve never been for breakfast – great tip!

Reply

Angharad April 7, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Do you know what, I really don’t know but if anyone else cares to chime in I’d be super interested. All I know is that it’s traditional to have them, that everyone has them that way and that it’s goooood :)

Reply

Angharad April 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Lindsay, I feel your pain. I’m lucky enough to live in a big enough city to find the occasional “specialised” items like English bacon/Irish sausages. You can order a surprising amount online if you’re feeling desperate enough ;)

Reply

Jean | Delightful Repast December 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm

According to Heinz, one of their executives came up with the idea of Beans on Toast in 1927, introducing the idea of baked beans for breakfast. And it really caught on, didn’t it?!

Then they had a popular TV advert campaign in 1967 “Beanz Meanz Heinz” that impressed the idea on a new generation.

Reply

Angharad December 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm

This is so interesting Jean, thanks for sharing! Their marketing certainly worked. Beans on toast is as English as it gets :)

Reply

Naresh Gurung January 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Thank you so much for your information. I have been looking for English bacon locally and never succeeded. Does Wedge Co-op carry English sausages too?
Cheers and happy new year,
Naresh

Reply

Angharad January 2, 2012 at 12:00 am

Hi Naresh, I have yet to find decent English sausages in the Twin Cities. Trader Joe’s carried some “Irish” sausages for a while but I haven’t seen them recently. Do let me know if you find some – I’m itching for a good sausage bap! -Angharad

Reply

Naresh Gurung January 2, 2012 at 10:04 pm

I bought some English bacon from Wedge Co-op today and tried it. Unfortunately, it was uncured so could not feel the ‘real’ English bacon. :D

I was in London for two weeks just a month ago and I still have the vivid memories of English bangers and the bacon. :D

I did find an online site that I have ordered English Breakfast package. It comes from North Carolina and I hope to receive it by end of this week. I will let you know how they taste. :D

http://www.britishbacon.com/product_info.php?cPath=41&products_id=146

Thank you very much for your fine recipes.

Cheers,
Naresh

Reply

Naresh Gurung January 2, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Oh by the way, I go to Jake O’Connor’s for fine Irish Breakfast.

http://www.jakeoconnors.com/pages/FullMenu/

Cheers.

Reply

Angharad December 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Hi Lele,

You’re right, lard is much more traditional but as I mention in my original post, despite growing up with that, I tend to use olive oil these days – or vegetable oil actually – for most cooking.
As for the HP sauce, I’m not sure I suggested “seasoning” with it – just a healthy squeeze on the side if you fancy it.

As with any recipe or cooking experience I describe on my blog, this is my interpretation of a dish – of course others exist and cooking is a personal thing so anyone reading hopefully knows to interpret as they please – lard, HP or not!

Thanks,
Angharad

Reply

Angharad December 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm

David, don’t give up! Or, better yet, replicate it yourself :)

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: