The big breakfast

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Sadly, modern eating habits have relegated the English Breakfast to hotel treat and transport caff. A continental breakfast of feta and olives has its novelty, but England runs on bacon and eggs. Medicos and health pundits wag their fingers disapprovingly, telling us how bad all these saturated fats are for us. Our taste buds don't register such propaganda... who can resist the aroma of bacon frying first thing in the morning? Not us!

Whether you poach, fry, boil or scramble, egg freshness is de rigueur. Date-stamps and free-range hens all help to elevate the humble oval to gourmet status. It is worth noting that the fashion for buying jumbo eggs is ill-advised. Generally, big eggs come from big birds (ie old birds, with smaller-sized from smaller birds ie: younger birds, so maximise your flavour by using 5 small eggs for your omelette instead of 3 large.)

Who hasn't despaired at the sight of your vac-packed rashers shrinking in the pan, leaving a white scummy deposit in the frying pan? All the result of deep-saline injection in the factory, producing fast-cure bacon cheaply for the mass-market. Quality bacon should be dry-cured which "draws out" the meat juices slowly, resulting in a firmer, less salty bacon that doesn't shrink.

When choosing sausages get a brand that has a high proportion of non- fat meat. A degree of fat is needed to grill to a good result but don't buy anything with an "economy" tag to it.

Closed cap or flat field mushrooms? The debate continues. Copious amounts of black liquor from flatties spoil the appearance of the dish but if you don't give a damn then field mushrooms are your thing. (If your closed caps are a little bland, zap them up with a splash of soy and lemon juice.) Traditionally made black pudding is fine, but usually it's simply gash offal, indifferently squeezed into a sock by heartless butchers keen to rid themselves of spare pet food.

If British hearts are made of oak, then a full English breakfast is the stuff our arms and legs are made of.

Bacon: Denhay Farms Ltd (01308 422770)

Sausages: Simply Sausages (0171-329 3227)

Granary Eggs: (01409 262 260)

The Nosh Brothers' `Winter Nosh' is on Carlton Food Network on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays