‘Timing is the key — play around and see how you like your breakfast and adjust your timing accordingly.’
So to get your bacon crispy, your sausages brown and your tomatoes firm not soggy, follow our guide to mastering the full English.
In order of importance, the humble sausage is surely the most crucial of ingredients. ‘When it comes to a fry-up, stick to good old-fashioned English pork sausages, ’ says Greg. ‘Supermarkets have loads of fancy-sounding sausages that taste great, but you don’t want to complicate the flavours too much. Simply fry the outside until they colour evenly all over. This usually takes about 20 minutes, then you can cut them in half length-ways and fry the cut side for an extra crispy texture.’
Next come the eggs. While most of us might crack an egg straight into the frying pan, it’s easy to forget there are other options. ‘Fried eggs are a classic staple, but scrambled eggs are effortlessly elegant, ’ says Greg. ‘Forget adding milk (a wartime trick to overcome rationing) and stick to just egg in your pan — with a knob of butter if you like. If you’re looking to really push the boat out, add a little double cream for the perfect finish.’
Bacon is next in line. ‘Sometimes I feel people have forgotten how bacon is supposed to be. When you go to supermarkets and see bacon sliced so thinly you can practically see through it, that’s not right, ’ says Greg. ‘Personally, I don’t think you can beat streaky bacon, as there’s something special about it. You don’t see it on your plate too often.’ When you fry your bacon, the advantage is that you get all the delicious dripping, which can be added to your scrambled egg.
Or if you’re after something a bit more healthy, grilling it is a good option. ‘Either way, cook it until it’s crispy, but not brown and burnt, ’ says Greg.
Trimmings: If you can buy them on the vine do so, as they retain their firmness and flavour for longer, and they look pretty smart on your plate
Tomatoes should always be a little crispy, which is achieved by cooking them on a fairly high heat for several minutes. There’s nothing worse than a soggy tomato sulking on your plate.
To get the best, Greg insists that it’s OK to be a seasonal snob: ‘I only eat tomatoes three months of the year, in summer. Good quality cherry tomatoes are unrivalled in taste.’ If you can buy them on the vine do so, as they retain their firmness and flavour for longer, and they look pretty smart on your plate.
Mushrooms aren’t to everybody’s taste, but when cooked correctly they can win over naysayers. ‘When autumn comes, roast cepe is the ultimate full English mushroom, ’ says Greg. ‘Outside of the season, field mushrooms slowly collapsed down in butter while seasoned in cepe powder are a fine alternative. Cut smaller mushrooms into quarters and larger mushrooms into slim slices.’
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Grocery (Fortnum and Mason London.)