Reinventing the British breakfast

Sundays demand big breakfasts, but just sticking with tradition can be dull, not to mention massively calorific.

It’s Sunday, the time for hangovers and relaxing music and long breakfasts with friends and family. I want my bacon et al, a big plate of it, dripping with calories and making me feel lethargic for half of the day, before going outside into the autumn air for a bracing walk. I want a British breakfast, but I live on the Mediterranean and I want some of that reflected in my weekends as well. I want this breakfast, but I want it on my own terms.

Just to make one quick clarification: I’ve used the term ‘British breakfast’ instead of English, because Scottish, Welsh and Irish breakfasts are all fairly similar – historically there are differences, but what you’ll find nowadays in a cafe or pub billed as <Nation> breakfast are all pretty much of a muchness.

And I know, I know, it is great just the way that it has always been, and therefore it probably doesn’t actually need any reinventing at all, but…

  1. If you aren’t careful it can be more than a wee bit greasy, innit?

  2. It’s never going to be the prettiest plate of food in the world, there just aren’t too many ways to make a piece of fried bread and a pile of beans look good.

  3. I live by the Mediterranean, with easy access to some of the best ingredients on the planet and want to find a way to fit them into my brekkie.

My dilemma is how to address all of those issues, and yet still produce a plate of something that is both super yummy and stays true to the spirit of the Great British breakfast?

There are some obvious must-haves. Bacon MUST be there together with sausage, and for me tomato is another essential. I’m happy to skip beans and mushrooms, I like both but not necessarily as a breakfast ingredient, I do however like some kind of potatoes, be it hash browns, or fried chunks, or whatever.

Then comes the Med infusion, I want olive oil, garlic, some stunningly good spanish pork, and a bit of greenery wouldn’t go amiss either.

So the challenge that I set myself this weekend was to have a play and see if I could come up with something that would be just as tasty and satisfying as a greasy fryup, yet be healthier and just somehow more in line with the rest of what I eat.

What I ended up with was:

  • A basket weaved of crispy bacon filled with a tomato, onion and garlic jam.

  • Fresh Navaran chistorra (it’s a sausage) fried with green peppers.

  • A young leaf salad, lightly dressed, with a fried egg on the top.

  • Chunky potato chips, oven roasted with olive oil and plenty of Maldon salt.

So, I’m ready for the traditionalists to rip me apart for diluting the whole intrinsic nature of their good old breakfasts, but I don’t care. I love my new breakfast, and I think it is going to become a staple of my weekends from now on.

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