back to article The ultimate full English breakfast – have your SAY

A turf war has broken out among the scribes at Vulture Towers North over the fried delicacies that should and should not be included in the world famous Full English gut buster Breakfast. Based as El Reg is, in deepest hipster central - East London - we've witnessed people starting their day in local coffee shops, consuming …

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  1. BoldMan

    Tomato has no place in a Full English - its a fruit for god sakes!!!! Or is it a vegetable? Who cares to be honest - there is a time and place for tomato and that is NOT my Full English!

    Hash browns? yes please!

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Plumb tomatoes cut through the fat of the fried bread, although brown sauce does the same job. I prefer both.

      ( Also you've got to make a sarnie out of fried bread by folding it in half and filling it with bacon sausage mushroom egg and tomato )

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Plumb tomatoes"

        They are plum tomatoes. Presumably there is some malapropism with the weight on a plumb line?

    2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Trollface

      A wise man once said...

      @BoldMan - as the old saying goes:

      Knowledge is knowing that the tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad...

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        If you need to cut through the fat of the fried bread, use it as a base for your beans.

        Delicious.

    3. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      dipped in bacon fat and grilled

      A tomato, halved and doused with bacon fat then grilled, is no longer either a fruit or a vegetable, but a culinary art-form.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: dipped in bacon fat and grilled

        Not forgetting Worcestershire Sauce.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Tomato has no place in a Full English - its a fruit for god sakes

      Well - brown sauce contains quite a lot of tamerind and that's a fruit too (and a relative of the tomato).

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Tomato has no place in a Full English"

      20p tin of supermarket chopped tomatoes, in the pan, knob of butter, dash of Worcestershire sauce (optional, but fun to hear Yanks try to pronounce it), bring to boil then simmer till the juice and butter form a nice thick sauce.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        What's so funny about yanks trying to pronounce "what's-this-here" sauce?

        1. jake Silver badge

          I thought it was ...

          ... "Warsh-yer-sister" sauce.

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    Flexible

    I don't think the total dish should be written in stone as appetites vary from day to day as do cultural differences across the nation.

    However, there are one or two essentials without which, it is not a British breakfast. Bacon is the first and prime ingredient, it can be streaky, back,or any other part of a cured pig as long as it real .eat and not that reconstituted crap they serve up in left pondian establishments that has a closer relationship with chipboard than bacon, my preference is the huge rasher that you get in old fashion ed transport cafes, salty with acouple of little bones.

    Fried eggs are a must, if you wan t scrambled by all means add a slice of toast and top it with scrambled eggs but they must have been cooked with butter not margerine. A couple of regionally appropriate bangers, beans, fried tom's, fried mushrooms, fried bread, hash browns seem to be common now but are not really British. Not last or least, black pudding is a must for me, I love the stuff.

    If in Glasgow you can add anything dipped in batter that can fit in the deep fryer.

    I can't continue...... must,,,,,,get,,,,, to,,,,,,, cafe,,,,now!

    PS I almost forgot bubble and squeak a truly British breakfasty thing

    1. Pedigree-Pete Bronze badge
      Thumb Up

      Bubble and Squeak....

      Oh how did we forget bubble and squeak, topped with a nice fried egg. MMmmmmmmmmm. PP

  3. Steve 114

    Get it right

    Must have fried bread - pronounced "froyd sloyce", or it's not even breakfast (US 'hash browns' simply won't do, Mr Chain-Hotelier - nor toast, Mrs Dainty B&B). No beans unless you're a trucker needing bulk, because the sauce conflicts with the essential 'fresh tomato'. And add lava bread if you want to be even more regional than black pudding.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get it right

      "And add lava bread if you want to be even more regional than black pudding."

      Also Potteries oatcakes are the definitive for a finger food wrapping - unless you are very posh and eat them with a knife and fork.

    2. qwertyuiop
      WTF?

      Re: Get it right

      "And add lava bread..."

      I think you mean laverbread (made from Laver seaweed). Of course, if you like hot, molten rock as part of your breakfast I apologise.

      1. Vinyl-Junkie
        Trollface

        if you like hot, molten rock as part of your breakfast...

        ...then you are clearly a troll!

    3. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Get it right

      When i first came to Britain I heard of two things: fried slice and chip butty. Both sounded disgusting to me.

      Then I had a fried slice. OMFG.

      Later I had a chip buttie and new what heaven was, and did my damnedest to get there by eating many.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Get it right

        People say English food is awful, but the good stuff is peasant food - just like in Italy.

        Pudding, peas, chips and gravy - I challenge any country to rival that with their own peasant food ( expensive french restaurants need not apply ).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Get it right

          A British friend in France was having some work done on her house, and introduced the workies to beans on toast, They were unsure until the first bite, now they can't get enough!

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Get it right

          People say English food is awful, but the good stuff is peasant food - just like in Italy.

          For many years the height of British cuisine was represented by Mrs Beeton and her ilk. Who did her best to destroy all traces of flavour from her recipes..

          Before her, British food was very well regarded in Europe. And now we are starting to get back to that situation. Whilst the supposed home of gastronomy (France) is going the other way, especially in bulk catering. I've had some very memorable meals in France, some for the right reasons and some for very much the wrong ones..

          And, lets not forget, in the old days before proper heating was invented, British cuisine was intended to enable the people to survive long, cold winters and so was heavy on high-energy calorie sources like fat and heavy stodge.

          1. tfewster Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Get it right

            One of the best "Full English's" I've ever had was a pub in Amsterdam. With a pint of Guinness, at 10am. Before heading off to the Heineken brewery tour. So I can't remember the details of the contents, but the whole stag party of Brits-abroad was well impressed.

  4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Sorry for the thread subversion...

    Rather than go for the best one... the worst "full English" I ever had the misfortune of eating was served up by Nandos at Gatwick Airport last year; and yes, the irony of Nandos serving a full English is not lost on me. It does not forgive however the fact that I did not finish it, because it was actually inedible.

    The reason I mention it here is because the unforgivable inclusion of the bowl for containerising the beans in your headline picture looks suspiciously similar to how they serve theirs.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Sorry for the thread subversion...

      I too saw the terracotta abomination and thought 'fast food outlet', but were it Nando's, all is explained.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Sorry for the thread subversion...

        I too saw the terracotta abomination

        In our house, dishes like that (but a fair bit smaller) are used for cat food.. (The wine vendor I use went through a phase of including Tapas dishes for free in some of their wine cases. Since we didn't have any other use for them they got diverted to feeding the horde..)

        I have to admit never having visited Nandos. I'm not in a tearing hurry to change that situation - especially as we have a nice piri-piri restaurant in town.

      2. tfewster Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Sorry for the thread subversion...

        @ Hollerithevo - You used "food" and " Nando's" in the same sentence - shome mishtake, shurley?

  5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    There has to be black pudding

    No decent breakfast could be complete without it. Not the dried-up stuff that's been sitting under keep-hot lamps on a buffet for hours either, but freshly fried.

    As to the frying, that really shouldn't be too greasy. The way I was taught, by my Dad, was to fry the bacon (back, of course) first, leaving the bacon fat in the pan. Then very briefly put the bread into that, a quick dip on each side to coat it but not to let the fat soak too far in. Lift it out, pour off the excess fat, and put the bread back in the pan with the black pudding. Lightly fry both until just crisp on the outside, but not soggy.

    Sausages should be pork (none of this turkey nonsense), any good brand without gristly bits.

    Of course, even a good English breakfast pales when faced with the proper full Irish, which adds fried potato bread, and some toasted soda bread with butter and marmelade on the side. And Irish Breakfast tea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There has to be black pudding

      Dip?! How fatty is this bacon?!

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: There has to be black pudding

      Any sausage? Are you mad, Sir?

      Cumberland or Lincolnshire sausages are surely the only choices.

      Cumberland if you can get a proper butchers curly Cumberland sausage. If not, Lincolnshire is more reliable.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: There has to be black pudding

        Cumberland or Lincolnshire sausages are surely the only choices.

        Not when you have a decent real butcher in the village...

      2. Alister Silver badge

        Re: There has to be black pudding

        Cumberland or Lincolnshire sausages are surely the only choices.

        Tomato sausages, they are awesome, but only available from select butchers. Once you've had tomato sausage with a breakfast, you won't want anything else.

    3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Full Irish?

      Once (and once only) I tried the full Irish at a country cafe in Donegal. All proper ingredients, local meat etc: From memory, it was something like:

      3 big sausages

      4 thick rashers of bacon

      2 fried eggs

      2 slices of black pudding

      ditto white

      several hash browns

      tomatoes (for the vitamins)

      Baked beans

      several slices of fried bread

      - and a massive bowl of chips on the side. Plus soda bread, tea etc.

      I think they printed the phone number of the local cardiac unit on the plate.

    4. StephenTompsett

      Re: There has to be black pudding

      I'm not sure it's permissible for a 'Full English', but I have a preference for the Scottish Stornoway style Black Pudding over the typical English Style. With a runny egg of course.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There has to be black pudding

        "I'm not sure it's permissible for a 'Full English', but I have a preference for the Scottish Stornoway style Black Pudding over the typical English Style. With a runny egg of course."

        Here in the north of England I find our traditions are somewhat blurred with the Scots. We both say 'aye', sometimes small things are 'wee' and children are in places referred to as 'bairns'. And like the Scots, we love a good blood sausage in our morning fast-breaker, but I would add, however, that the 'Full Scottish' variant of the breakfast takes it to another level. I had one once in Fort William which, on top of the usual bacon, eggs, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, beans and black pudding came equipped with a couple of slices of fried haggis (expect no less) and in place of the fried bread a fried scone!!! <-Yes, it required THREE exclamations. It seemed to me as though witchcraft were afoot - what was this confection doing on my plate in place of the usual fried gold? But I persevered and EEERRRR MAAAAH GEEERRRRRDDDD what an absolute taste sensation - you have to give it a try, but just not the fruit scones eh? ;)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: There has to be black pudding

          Got to wonder where the cook was from. A full Scottish breakfast should have a scone - but a potato scone. Could this have been some crazy mix up?

          I'm often disappointed with B+B breakfasts when travelling to the Highlands, as too often they seem to be some variation on full English, rather than full Scottish. If there's no square sausage and tattie scone on my plate then I'm not happy.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nobody has mentioned toast....

    My proper breakfast has a rack of toast and a pot of soft butter to melt into it. I cant decide if proper thick bread from bakery or standard white slices are more traditional though.

    This is just to mop up the sauce of course.

    Can you actually get a proper fried breakfast in east London then?

    surely its about £6.95 for a shot of organic coffee and latest fashionable fad bean paste on gluten free wraps for another tenner?

    Maybe I recall a different London

    1. TheBishop

      Re: Nobody has mentioned toast....

      No, I don't think you can get a proper fried breakfast in London; I've tried. If you want one, move north.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Nobody has mentioned toast....

        It's impossible to find a good breakfast in the posh part of Bristol... all the eateries keep finding new ways of faffing them up. There was a very good greasy spoon Clifton before it moved down to the city centre, then it closed down completely - its name escapes me.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Nobody has mentioned toast....

          here was a very good greasy spoon Clifton

          There's a reasonably good one in Brislington - on the same industrial estate as the Morris Minor Centre. We sometimes visit them when t'missus drops the old rust-bucket there[1] for it's regular replacement-of-bits-that-have-rusted-off..

          [1] No - not me.

      2. Vinyl-Junkie
        Flame

        Re: Nobody has mentioned toast....

        Borrocks! Loads of places to get a proper cooked breakfast in London, you just need to know where to look.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nobody has mentioned toast....

          I got an amazing breakfast at the taxi drivers cafe just outside of Gatwick Airport. Hidden away at the back looks like a truck stop one.

    2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Nobody has mentioned toast....

      Yes, London has its secret breakfast oases, and I happen to be near one situated a stone's throw from Ludgate Circus. Old-fashioned caffs still clinging by their fingers...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Nobody has mentioned toast....

        "Old-fashioned caffs still clinging by their fingers..."

        Yes, often well hidden down back streets/lanes/alleys, where the rents a lower. If you stick the main roads you'll miss them.

    3. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Nobody has mentioned toast.... and the Marmalade to go with it!

      To me, it doesn't count as a "Full" breakfast without the toast and marm to follow it. This is accompanied by a further pint or so of tea.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2 Sausage, 2 Bacon (Back), Fried Egg (Solid but only just), 1 Black pudding, 1 Hash Brown, Beans, Fried Mushrooms, 2 White Toast, Pint of Lager.

    Now, that's a proper f*cking breakfast.

    Granola/yogurt and turkey bacon are the work of the devil and if you eat them god will smite you and call you a tw*t. He'll even let you get to the pearly gates just so St Peter can give you a slap before you get cast unto the fiery pits of hell.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fucking lager? Who the pish drinks lager? Bloody soft southern shandy drinker - if you can't drink half a pint of pig's blood with your breakfast at least man up and drink a proper beer!

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        man up and drink a proper beer!

        You appear to have mis-spelt "cider"..

  8. astrax

    Bubble?

    Where's Bubble in the list? For me, it's always difficult a difficult choice between bubble & squeak and hash browns. That's why I generally go for both :)

    1. BoldMan

      Re: Bubble?

      What a wise and sensible solution! I'd forgotten about bubble and squeak...

  9. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    And for the days when a lighter meal might be considered

    What are the company's views on kippers? Which ones, and how should they be served?

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