The Very Controversial English Breakfast

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It has recently come to my attention that a traditional English breakfast is a dish that seems to cause a controversy. Everyone’s idea of the perfect English breakfast is very different and this is apparent from watching the popular television series ‘Four in a Bed’ and from a recent television advertisement.

For those who do not know, ‘Four in a Bed’ is a television competition where bed and breakfast owners stay in each other’s establishments and give each other marks for the facilities, the cleanliness, how they slept and the breakfast.

On this series, there is always huge discussion about the breakfasts served, especially the English breakfasts. One of the biggest issues, unbelievably, is beans. Some bed and breakfasts serve beans and others don’t and this is always an important topic of conversation around the table. A further issue if beans are served is whether they should be served on the plate or in a small bowl separately.

Eggs are another cause of debate. How they are cooked and the runniness of the yolks is a bone of contention amongst the B & B owners. Next on the list is the meat on the plate. Is it best to serve smoked or unsmoked bacon? Are the sausages thick enough? Do the sausages have a high enough meat content?

This type of debate is replicated in a recent television advert. A group of young men is sat around a table in a cafe eating an English breakfast. One says that dipping the sausage in the runny yolk of the egg is the most important part of the meal. Another says that it is the beans that make the breakfast come together. Another argues that beans touching the egg is the worst thing that could possibly happen- personally, I agree. The final friend’s solution to this is that you should build a wall of crispy bacon. Again, I agree that crispy bacon is a must.

Who would have thought that a traditional English breakfast could cause so much controversy!

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RECIPE: Eggs Florentine

eggs florentine

Eggs Florentine is a delicious meal for breakfast, brunch, or lunch. It is easy to make and packed full of nutrients. The dish consists simply of a poached egg and spinach on an English muffin, topped with hollandaise sauce. Here is how to make eggs Florentine for four people.

Ingredients for Eggs Florentine

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 2 English muffins, halved
  • Hollandaise sauce (read recipe here)
  • Black pepper

How to Make Eggs Florentine

  1. Make the hollandaise sauce first- read instructions here.
  2. Steam the spinach until it has wilted.
  3. Poach the eggs either in simmering water or a poaching pan until they are cooked to your liking.
  4. Grill the English muffins until they are golden on both sides and then butter. 
  5. Top the muffins with the spinach, then the poached egg, followed by the hollandaise sauce.
  6. Season with black pepper.

 

Why is Breakfast So Difficult?

breakfast

NOTE: This photograph is quite clearly not my kitchen as I cannot face the shame of putting up a picture of the scene of devastation left by my kids in the morning! This is a free pic from Google Images chosen simply to represent breakfast. 

With 20 years of parenting experience and plenty of practice making homemade meals every day, you would think I had the breakfast routine pretty much sorted. However, that is definitely not the case and it seems the most difficult meal of the day to organize.

In the evenings, we always sit down together as a family to a homemade meal I have prepared. This usually involves me cooking using a variety of ingredients for approximately an hour before sitting down at the table. To make the meal, I will often have both the hob and the oven on while using an array of pans, dishes, and utensils.

At the same time as cooking, I usually have the dog running around my ankles, my younger children racing through the house, my older son asking about going out with his mates and my daughter ringing me to ask all sorts of ridiculous questions (she has just moved into her own place and realized she needs to function like a normal person). 

Despite these complications and distractions, I am perfectly capable of serving a decent meal to the family, so why can I not function to serve breakfast?

Breakfast at my house is typically either cereal, porridge, toast or a yogurt for the children and a strong cup of coffee for me. To achieve these two ‘meals’, I simply need to chuck a couple of slices of bread into a toaster and pour some cereal and milk into a bowl. Simple enough?

It seems to verge on the impossible to do this some days. Nobody seems to make it to the dining table at breakfast and eats their breakfast wherever they are sitting, I serve the wrong food to the wrong child on a regular basis, I burn the toast and spill cereal all over the kitchen. The minute the food hits the bowls, the children change their mind about what they want and they refuse to eat what you serve. 

Yes, a food blogger and former catering professional is admitting she cannot cook toast and serving cereal is an impossibility. I guess I am just not a morning person! I am just thankful that my husband feeds himself in the morning. 

Review: Breakfast at Marmaduke’s Town House Hotel, York

four stars

I recently spent a rare evening away from home with my partner and we stayed at the beautiful Marmaduke’s Town House Hotel in York. Although this is a food blog, I must begin by saying that the room was a delight with antique furniture and a free-standing bathtub. Also, the reception staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful. However, as the focus of this blog is food, I should move on to the breakfast we enjoyed during our stay. 

The dining room was light and airy, which made eating there a relaxed and pleasant experience. The waitress was lovely and explained that the menus were on the table and a continental breakfast was available on the side for us to help ourselves. She took our drink order immediately, and this was something that was welcomed as we had enjoyed a few drinks in the city the night before and were in need of a strong coffee. 

We both opted for a full English breakfast, which came with bacon, Yorkshire sausages, half a grilled tomato, mushrooms, black pudding, toast, and an egg cooked either fried, poached, or scrambled. The speed at which the breakfast arrived was quite surprising and everything was cooked perfectly.

Particular mention must go to the sausages as I am very picky about which sausages I will eat and I often decide as soon as I see a sausage on a plate that I won’t even touch it. The sausages served by Marmaduke’s Town House Hotel were what I describe as ‘real sausages’. By this, I mean that they clearly had a good meat content and had a good firm consistency. They are the type of sausages you buy from the butcher’s rather than those terrible processed sausages bought in packs from a supermarket. 

Overall, the breakfast at this hotel was great and our stay, as a whole, was very enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this hotel to others and would go there again.