During the week, we know it’s the done thing to hastily throw together a (protein?) smoothie to see you out of the door, or rapidly splash some milk onto a bowl of cereal and chomp your way through it at speed before joining that 9am Zoom call. But at the weekends, the breakfast world is your cheese and spinach-topped oyster — and it should be treated as such.
The cooked breakfast is a wonderful thing — with all those myriad choices and manifestations, it’s an opportunity for creativity and indulgence. It’s a chance to show your individuality; after all, ‘cooked breakfast’ means something a little different to everyone. It’s comforting, and can be decadent if you do it right. And, of course, it can be a chance to show off your culinary skills — whether that’s to your girlfriend, your girlfriend’s parents, your housemates or anyone else you might be looking to impress with your awe-inspiring cooked breakfast abilities.
The thing is, though, that soggy toast, burnt sausages and a can of baked beans just won’t cut the breakfasting mustard. A cooked breakfast can be a work of art; but only when done right. So, with that in mind, we’ve rounded up some stellar recipes from some of London’s finest establishments, to guide you through the prepping process. Be warned: this is ‘cooked breakfast’ with a difference. Anyone can fry some bacon, heat some sausages and scramble some eggs — but if you’re aiming for the culinary stars, these recipes are a pretty good start. Have your pots and pans at the ready, gents.
Full English Breakfast
When we think of cooked breakfast, we think of a Full English. We’ve all got a firmly fixed idea of what a Full English breakfast should be; but this recipe, courtesy of Brasserie of Light, may just shift your notion of what, exactly, constitutes this famous breakfast staple. It’s mouth-watering and comforting in equal measure: just the dish to transform your weekend into a culinary marvel.
- 2 free range eggs
- 15g rapeseed oil
- 2 rashers streaky bacon
- 2 good quality pork sausages from your local butchers
- 150g baked beans
- 1 ripe plum tomato
- 1 Portobello mushroom (stalk removed)
- 1 Slice of black pudding
1. Firstly, pre-heat your oven to 180 Celsius and line your tray with foil or parchment paper.
2. You’ll need to cook your sausages first. Once they’re almost cooked, you can then add the other ingredients to the tray.
3. Add the sausages to the tray and place in the pre-heated oven for at least 10-12 minutes. For best results, turn after 5-8 minutes.
4. Slice the tomatoes in half and remove the green core. Remove the thick stalk from the Portobello mushroom, and peel the skin off the topside.
5. Carefully remove the tray from the oven. Once you’re happy the sausages are over halfway cooked, add your mushrooms and tomatoes.
6. Season the mushrooms and tomatoes with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Then lightly drizzle with cooking oil and add the black pudding. Add your bacon to the tray, depending on how crispy you like it.
7. Place the tray back in the oven and allow to cook to your liking. (Tip – if you pop a plate in the oven now, your breakfast will stay warmer for longer while you eat.)
8. Place the baked beans in a heatproof container and gently warm.
9. Place a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat and add a little cooking oil. Allow the oil to warm, then crack your eggs into the pan. Cook to your preferred stage, gently season with salt and pepper, then carefully remove with a fish slice.
10. Be extra careful when removing the hot tray from the oven. Finally, take your warm plate and begin to build your Full English breakfast exactly to your liking — making sure not to crack the yolk! Serve with a healthy amount of watercress, and enjoy!
Poached eggs, crushed avocado, streaky bacon, grilled sourdough
Poached eggs and smashed avocado sometimes get a bad rep (normally from those protesting that millennials are a ‘bunch of snowflakes’); and it’s certainly true that you may see a variation of this dish appearing on nigh-on all brunch menus everywhere. But when done right, the poached egg and smashed avocado combination makes for a cooked breakfast of champions; as Jack Smith, Executive Chef at Quaglino’s, knows all too well. He’s generously shared his poached-egg-and-avocado cooked breakfast recipe with us; and we can guarantee your cooked breakfasts will never be the same again (in the best possible way).
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 red chilly (de-seeded)
- 1/2 bunch chives
- 1/2 bunch coriander
- 10ml lime juice
- Salt/pepper to taste
- 2 free range eggs
- 150ml white wine vinegar
- 1 deep saucepan
- 3 rashers streaky bacon
- 1 good quality sourdough
1. Start by making your crushed avocado. This can be pre-made and stored in the fridge so that you can concentrate on 2 perfectly executed poached eggs.
2. Peel the avocado and crush with the back of a fork. You can dice it, if you would prefer the dish to have more texture.
3. Cut a doorstop wedge of sourdough and keep to the side.
4. Open up the red chilli and remove the seeds. Again, if you like it spicy you can leave the seeds in. Finely slice the chilly and add to the crushed avocado.
5. Add half of your finely sliced chives and all of the coriander.
6. Next, add the salt, pepper and lime juice. The lime juice is very important as it will add flavour, as well as keeping the avocado from oxidising and turning brown.
7. Store in the fridge with cling film contacting the surface of the mix. Again, this will ensure no air can start to oxidise the lovely green flesh.
8. Heat up your water to just below boiling and add the white wine vinegar.
9. Now, pan fry your bacon until crispy using a griddle pan (a normal pan is also sufficient) and set aside. Keep the pan with all the lovely juices.
10. Drop your eggs into your simmering water with the vessel touching the water and slowly let go. Turn up the heat and watch the magic happen.
11. The egg should take roughly 2 mins, depending on the size. While the eggs are cooking, add your sourdough back into the bacon bacon fat and toast the bread. For me, this is the only way!
12. Once this is all done, remove your eggs from the water onto a cloth or towel to dry slightly, add them to one side of your sourdough, then add a generous spoon of the crushed avocado and bacon to finish. A sprinkle of chives, salt and a turn of the pepper grinder: and you’re ready to go.
Truffle Croque Madame
Of course, it would be easy to crack an egg into a pan, throw some hash browns into the oven and toss the bacon into the fryer. But if you’re looking for a cooked breakfast of truly gentlemanly proportions, then you should be looking for a cooked breakfast with sophistication: a breakfast with elegance, if you will. Such a cooked breakfast will be different from the norm; but here at Gentleman’s Journal, we celebrate innovation and creativity. Luckily, these are two qualities found in this recipe from Patrick Powell, Head Chef at Allegra. His truffle croque madame is about as elegant as a cooked breakfast can get — and it’s utterly delicious to boot.
- 4 slices of milk loaf
- 4 slices baked ham
- 4 slices Ogleshield cheese
- 2 eggs
- 10g chopped chives
- 100g truffle bechamel (below)
- Butter, for frying
- Freshly ground pepper
For the truffle bechamel:
- 600ml milk
- 60g white flour
- 60g butter
- 2 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 25g good quality truffle paste
- 100g grated Ogleshield cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 25g Dijon mustard
1. To make the truffle bechamel, infuse the milk, bay leaf, thyme and cloves by placing in a pot and gently bring to the boil. Allow to cool and pass through a sieve, retaining the seasoned milk.
2. In another small saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat, add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes. Add the milk and whisk until smooth and starting to thicken.
3. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly until all lumps are removed and the mixture is thick and smooth.
4. Stir in the cheese, truffle paste, egg yolk, mustard, salt and pepper and set aside.
5. To assemble, layer 1 slice of milk loaf with 2 slices of ham and 2 slices of the Ogleshield, then top with another slice of bread.
6. Pan fry the sandwiches in a heavy pan over a medium heat, in foaming butter, until they are golden brown on each side.
7. Remove from the pan and place on an oven tray. Top each sandwich with 50g of the truffle bechamel mix. Place under a grill until the top of the sandwich goes a nice golden-brown colour.
8. While those are grilling, fry the eggs in a little foaming butter. Top each sandwich with a fried egg, chopped chives and a little bit of freshly ground pepper.
Looking for more ways to enhance your culinary skills? These simple dishes are the best meals to cook on a dinner date…
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.