Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for English Breakfast

This one is a two-fer, and both things I instantly loved when we moved to the UK.

Twinings English Breakfast packaging as it appears in the U.S.

Firstly, there's English Breakfast tea--a full-bodied and robust blend of black teas from Assam, Ceylon, and Kenya (other countries' teas are used as well, though these are the most common). It's also one of God's gifts to humanity (or something like that). All I know is that it makes one hell of a cuppa.  I prefer mine white with sugar, as the English say (that's with milk and sugar, for the rest of you), and my particular favorite is Twinings, though there are many good ones out there.
UK packaging for Twinings English Breakfast

Tea is accepted as a fine drink to have most of the day, and is what is often offered, so you'd better get used to it.  We learned quickly that a common courtesy was to offer anyone working on things in your house (an electrician, for example) a cuppa as you would usually a cup of coffee or a water in America.  

And I'll admit that I make a pretty good cuppa; I grew up in New England, and we enjoy our tea almost--almost--as much as Old England does. I like to think that I surprised a few English folks with my tea-brewing bad-assery.

A proper cup (with a tea bag) is brewed as follows: 

-Warm your cup with hot water so your tea doesn't cool quickly.
-Heat water in a kettle, then pour over the tea bag.
-Let the tea bag steep for 2-4 minutes, then wring out the tea bag--never leave the tea bag in the cup; the tea will become bitter. We are not animals, for God's sake.
-Add milk (preferably whole milk; something about the fat in it makes the cup of tea so much better) and sugar as desired.

The other English breakfast I adore is the actual meal kind.  Also referred to as a "full English" or a "fry-up", it is generally a heavy breakfast reserved for weekends or special occasions, and on pretty much every B&B menu in the UK, and rightly so.  While various parts of the UK have their own spins on the full English, they generally consist of the following:

-Eggs (sunny-side up, poached, or fried)
Full English breakfast (from Wikipedia)
-Bacon (back bacon, which is, upon first eating it, odd--it seems a combination between what the Brits call "streaky bacon" ("normal" bacon to Americans) and the more ham-like Canadian bacon)
-Beans (often Heinz beans, which aren't like baked beans in America; they're in a light tomato sauce and oddly awful on their own but amazing when put on buttered toast...I've seen them in the states in the international isle of the grocery store)
-Toast or fried bread (because you need the toast to go with the beans, of course)
-Fried or grilled tomato
-Fried or grilled mushroom
-Fried potato or hash brown
-Black pudding (sometimes)
-Tea and sometimes juice

Is it good for you? No, absolutely not; it's delightfully greasy and filling, and you probably won't want to move for a while after eating one. But it's a delicious experience, and I'd recommend you try one when you're in the UK. 

Now I know you're wondering...have I had the black pudding?  Yes.  I've had it once, and I liked it, though I've heard that, like most foods, it depends on where you get it and the recipe.  And for a good, proper full English that's available all day, I'd recommend La Hogue Farm Shop in Chippenham, Cambridgeshire, so stop by if you're in the area. 

Have you had a full English? Thoughts? How about your favorite brand of English Breakfast tea?

If you're not too full, come by tomorrow for F. It'll be a big party!

xoxo Sarah


  1. And now I'm hungry :) I've had a full English breakfast but it's been awhile :) I do love brunches though from all countries. The perfect Sunday food!

    1. I couldn't agree more! I do love a good breakfast, regardless of the origins. :-)

  2. When I lived in Dublin, I worked in a caffeteria that also offered breakfasts. This sounds exactly like the Irish Full I used to serve, but it's Irish ;-)

    I only managed to eat a full one once, in Dublin airport (it was a good one too), after some 16 our of fast. And I berely made it! But I had coffee with it. I'm still Italian, you know? ;-)

    1. Haha, I won't fault you for the coffee...I do like a good cup of that as well! Irish ones are pretty much the same, as far as I know. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  3. I've only traveled abroad to Ireland and I was completely enamored with the lack of food processing. Everything was just, well, real food. Genius, sheer genius. Now I see the English are into plain and simple too (maybe except for the pudding). I'd probably be pretty hungry before I tried it. Perhaps dead. Maybe I'm being too dramatic. Thanks for the post!

    1. That was one of my favorite things about living over was FOOD. A lot of folks complain about the food being bland, but I think you're right--it's "simple", and simple is good. Thanks for an awesome comment! :-)

  4. Oh lord, my mouth is salivating. I love a good English breakfast.

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy

    1. I know! I'm tempted to make it this week for dinner (or at least the bits I can get my hands on)! Thank you so much for stopping by!

  5. I think I could like both of those very much myself, although English Breakfast is what I order at the coffee shop when I can't get any Darjeeling.

    1. Ooh, Darjeeling is a good one, too! Very mild. Thank you for stopping by!

  6. I just have to say this in defense of the black pudding; It's delicious! I was travelling in Scotland with my family and I had their share of it too!

    1. The one I had was quite good! I'd eat it again if given the chance. :-)