Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Taste of Europe - Full English Breakfast

If you've ever stayed at a hotel that offers breakfast, you'll know that many of them offer a "Continental Breakfast". Have you ever wondered what's "continental" about it? I have. And Kennady and I finally stumbled across the answer. The term "continental breakfast" refers to the light morning meal of pastries and fresh fruit that is common in continental Europe, and distinguishes it from the much heartier meal common in England. In England, you're more likely to be served a "Full English", which might include: bacon, sausage, eggs, side dishes, coffee and tea.

When Kennady was studying the British Isles for her Cultural Geography class, an English-style breakfast was one of the easiest ways for us to give a nod to England during a family meal.

Great Britain

As a family, we usually enjoy a hearty brunch on Saturdays, so it seemed fitting that we would modify our usual menu one week recently and have something a little like a Full English. We served sausages, bacon, eggs, toasted English muffins, and Toad in the Hole. We left out several dishes that would likely be included in a true "fry-up" (another name for the Full English breakfast) such as fried tomatoes and mushrooms, baked beans (although I think that's a fantastic idea - we love beans, but I don't usually think of them as a breakfast food!), black pudding (shudder. Sorry Brits!), and hash browns.

Toad in the Hole is a breakfast dish very similar to Yorkshire Pudding (which we also had with a roast beef dinner one night, and I will say that it was more popular with my kids than Toad in the Hole). 

Toad in the Hole
1 cup flour
2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp seasoning (I used Emeril's Original Essence)
1 large egg
1-1/4 cups milk, preferably whole but we used 1% and it worked fine
2 tbsp bacon drippings or vegetable oil
6 oz smoked sausage, cut into approx. 1/2-inch pieces.
1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)

Preheat oven to 425*. Mix dry ingredients together, make a well and add the egg and 1/4 cup of the milk. Whisk together, adding the rest of the milk a little at time to make a smooth batter.  Let the batter rest for about half an hour. Grease the wells of a muffin tin with bacon drippings or oil.  Divide the sausage and onion evenly among the muffin wells. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until sausage is golden and drippings are sizzling. Remove the muffin tin from the oven and divide the batter among the wells. Return to the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until puffed and golden brown on top. Serve immediately, because they deflate a bit as they cool! 

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