A traditional English breakfast is enough food to set you up for a day of hard work or a really long hike. English breakfast usually has some kind of breakfast meat, but this one doesn’t. In the book, Maggie and company drink coffee with it, but I always drink tea. A strong English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast tea works well. There is no recipe for this meal as it consists of things you probably already know how to make, but I’ll give some tips and tricks.
- Eggs can be cooked whichever way you like. In England they are served either fried sunny side up or scrambled, but there’s no reason you can’t have a boiled egg.
- Maggie and I like toast made with interesting bread. No plain, white, sandwich bread for us! Use rye or multi-grain with seeds. Toast a bagel or an English muffin.
- The easiest way with the beans is to warm canned beans on the stovetop or in the microwave. But, if you make baked beans in the oven or in a slow cooker and you have leftovers, use them in an English breakfast the next day.
- Fried tomato is very, very British. It is exactly what it sounds like: a slice of tomato fried in the butter or oil that you used to cook the eggs (and optional breakfast meat.) Use a nice firm beefsteak tomato or a Roma so that it sort of holds it shape and doesn’t turn into a sad, limp thing. Maggie and I also like to use cocktail tomatoes right out of the garden. Fry them whole. Let them roll around in the pan until the skin gets a bit wrinkly and seared.
- Fried mushrooms are the alternative that Maggie and I use instead of breakfast meats. Nice, firm champignons are good for this, but if other mushrooms are in season, try those. We like chanterelles, too, when they’re in season! Slice the ‘shrooms and fry them up before you do the eggs.
- Tea, made the British way, is delicious. Here’s how you make it. You need a teapot, a tea strainer, and a cosy (or a clean kitchen towel or a teapot warmer.) Run hot water from the tap into your teapot and swirl it around and pour it out. Put looseleaf black tea into the pot according to the directions on the bag or tin. Pour boiling (it MUST be boiling!) water onto the tea leaves and cover the pot with the cozy (or put it on the warmer) and steep it for however many minutes that particular tea needs. Typically, black tea steeps for 3 to 5 minutes. Other types of tea require different temperatures of water and different steeping times. These instructions are for black teas. I like milk, but no sugar in my tea, but you can drink it black or with sugar or even with lemon.