English breakfast

In anticipation of the viewing of the Royal Wedding on April 29 with possibly the only other person in North America who is as fascinated with this as I am, I have been carefully considering the menu. JoAnn says scones and Scotch will be just fine with her, but I feel such a unique event requires more ambitious planning.

Of course, the Palace has not released the menu for the buffet reception following the nuptials but the queen’s head chef says it will feature all-British hot and cold canapes. For past events, such canapes have included quail eggs with celery salt, Ragstone goat cheese with caramelized walnuts, and Parmesan crisp and confit duck-leg terrine with smoked duck and pear chutney. I personally do not think I am going to be up to that culinary challenge at 4 in the morning when coverage starts.

So I have been perusing various breakfast menus from British establishments to ascertain what I would be eating if I were, in fact, in London and not, sadly, invited to the reception. It is not a pretty picture. Let’s just begin with the traditional English breakfast, which includes smoked streaky bacon, pork sausages, fried bread, black pudding,  grilled tomatoes, field mushrooms, Heinz baked beans and your choice of eggs. And, yes, there is a reason that the baked beans are the Heinz brand.  Back in the day – specifically 1886 – the revered food emporium Fortnum & Mason imported them as an exotic item. Tradition dies hard, particularly in Great Britain, and most breakfast menus still specify that the baked beans are Heinz.

Even if I could find Heinz baked beans and black pudding, I don’t know if I want to load up during the pre-dawn hours and risk the chance of falling back to sleep before Will and Kate walk down the aisle. By the way, I read an article that says the Royal family is slightly worried that Kate’s parents will actually want to be friends with them. I hope that girl knows what she’s getting in to.

So here are a few other choices from the various menus I found: Bubble and Squeek (mashed potatoes and cabbage), boiled eggs with buttered soldiers (toast fingers), porridge and a fried egg butty. I don’t know what a butty is but it sounds as though it might involve toilet paper and doesn’t sound good for breakfast.

Apparently, one of the most popular foods in Britain is the bacon roll or bacon sandwich and that’s all it is. Bacon and a roll. I actually could go for that one.

I know if I were to find myself in London I would not be frequenting Chef Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant, The London Bar. Or if I did I would run out of money and not be able to afford the commemorative Will and Kate toilet seats, barf bags or condoms. Yes, these are real. Eggs Benedict at Gordon’s place cost $21!

However, one menu item caught my attention: Mushrooms on toast. I can make those in my sleep. And they would be perfect for absorbing the champagne I plan to be drinking all morning long.

Creamed Mushrooms on Toast (my version)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups whole milk

Salt to taste

Pinch of nutmeg

8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced

Additional butter for frying

1/4 cup marsala wine

Buttered toast, preferably with crusts removed


Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the flour, whisking for a minute or two to get the raw taste out. Slowly pour in the milk and continue whisking until a thick sauce has formed. Add salt to taste and the nutmeg. Saute the mushrooms in about a tablespoon of butter until nicely browned. Add the marsala and reduce until it disappears from the pan. Add the mushrooms to the sauce.

Serve over buttered toast.



Filed under breakfast, Uncategorized, veggies

10 responses to “English breakfast

  1. Susan

    Chipped beef on toast was one of my favotie – comfort foods as a child – might have to add the beef for the wedding morning watching! Love your blog – you always get me thinking of new and wonderous food to cook – and EAT!!!

  2. Susan

    I may have to add chipped beef – as that was one of my favorite breakfasts as a child! Love your blog!


    The mushrooms sound delicious. Was just thinking, grilled tomatoes would make a nice addition plus being easy to prepare.
    When friends and I watched Charles’ and Di’s wedding, someone brought petit fours .They went down easy — but are lots of trouble—

  4. Howard

    In England, that wonderful ( and its still around) breakfast is called a fry-up.
    My grandmother use to serve also, a dish of rice and Kippered haddock called Kedgeree ( it also employs a bit of curry too – a hangover from the British Raj). Tea – you were always offered China or India. There are still a number of places in London that do a great traditional fry-up.
    “ To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day. ”
    —W. Somerset Maugham
    Here! Here!

  5. Leslie Fraser

    Mushrooms on toast was my favorite breakfast while on my honeymoon in England and Scotland (for a month!) and I think it should be the most fabulous dish for celebrating the Royal Wedding! Wanda and I plan on having our own little slumber party to watch it together– and I think Mushrooms on toast, followed later by cucumber sandwiches, would be the perfect compliment to the day. Now if we only had a little shortbread to go with that, we would be quite set!

    • the south in my mouth

      I am struggling over cucumber sandwiches or Blue Moons, decidedly NOT British but a good excuse to make them.

  6. Dee

    When I studied in England in the summer of 1988 we stayed at the University of London dormitory, and I will never forget the awful breakfasts. Baked beans on toast. Fried eggs that were rubbery. Scrambled eggs that were runny. Hot milk and cornflakes. ICK. Now, there used to be an English pub in Augusta called The King George and they had wonderful Scot Eggs. That was worth waking up for!

  7. Pingback: Company for the Queen | the south in my mouth

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