Since it is way to expensive for us to be travelling overseas all the time, I’ve decided to try and replicate some of our favourite dishes from our trip. We’ve done a lot of Italian cooking since we got back, using the stuff we learned on our courses, so I thought I’d start with the other end of our trip – London. So first up is the English breakfast.
Here’s the one we had in London:
It was toast, baked beans, bacon, sausage, egg, tomato and a hash brown. Not too hard, right?
Here is the one that I made:
A few fundamental differences. I went for poached eggs, rather than fried, because I thought it was a bit healthier, and I’ve never made poached eggs before. I also wanted to try making hash browns myself… and it was a disaster. The rest went OK, I think – I mean, if you own a working toaster, how can you screw up toast?! Baked beans came out of a can.
OK, so lessons learned from making hash browns. I read a lot about how watery potatoes are, so you need to dry them out beforehand. But all the recipes I found had grated potatoes, and I’m the crazy person who prefers steak cut chips over fries, so the more fluffy potato bits I have, the happier I am. So I went the total opposite direction, and cut my potatoes into fat slices. I also read that pre-boiling them creates a gelatinous layer that fries better (see idea #2)That was a complete disaster, because they didn’t clump up like hash browns at all. All I ended up with were lightly fried slices, and they weren’t even crispy at all. I ended up trying to break it into smaller pieces in the pan, and just ended up with mush (it’s the “hash brown” in the top right side of the plate, in case you were wondering). I also didn’t add enough oil, and once I added a heap of oil, it started to crisp up, so there are bits of crispy potato in the mush.
The poached eggs. I just followed this. Don’t forget the vinegar, it helps keep the egg together (or so I’m told). Having fresh eggs also helps, as well as a wide pot, apparently, as the whirlpool whirls more (I don’t know if this is true, I used a small-ish pot). I was actually pretty freaked out when I dropped the egg in, as there was a cloud of white everywhere. I guess my egg wasn’t very fresh, and I ended up losing a heap of the white. :( But it turned out OK. MrFodder said the yolk was a little overcooked, probably because I didn’t put it in the cold water bath – oops!
The other issue I had was, how on Earth do you keep the stuff you cooked earlier warm while you cook everything else. A trick I learned from GMJoe is to warm up your oven slightly, then turn it off, and leave everything in there. The food wasn’t piping hot when served, but at least it wasn’t cold.
The best part about cooking your own English breakfast is that you can use as much tomato sauce as you want. The restaurant we went to gave you a tiny, tiny thimble of tomato sauce. :'( Although MrFodder said you shouldn’t need it because of the baked beans, but I completely disagree.