10 August 2021
Not an English Breakfast
10 August 2021
We love our veg box. We get one each week from
Riverford Organic Farmers
and we love it. We really do. It's full of seasonal, organic produce, and
each week we get whatever they've got ready to go. Which is awesome.
It does mean that sometimes we end up having to think of interesting things
to do with Yet Another Batch of Whatever. I'm not really complaining about
this. It stretches me as a cook to figure out Something Else To Do With
Carrots - just as an example.
In this case, it was Something Else To Do With Broad Beans. We'd used them
in a variety of ways leading up to this meal, and while, those ways were
good, I was looking for something else to do with them. Thinking beans led
to baked beans which led to, well, this ...
This 'Not An English Breakfast' features black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes,
broad beans, poached meringue (about which more later), and hollandaise sauce.
Not Really an English Breakfast
Part 1: Black Pudding
You can, of course, buy your black pudding from your local butcher or grocer.
On the other hand, it's easy to make, and you can tweak the flavour and texture
to your own desires. The hardest part is sourcing the blood, but, in this
day and age, dried pig's blood is not hard to find. If you make charcuterie
(and you should), your charcuterie equipment/ingredient supplier probably stocks
it. This is my version, and we like it very much.
Put the barley and oats in a bowl, cover them with a generous amount of water
to soak. Keep an eye on them, if they absorb all the water, add some more.
Give it a while, an hour at least, more won't hurt it.
- 110 gm barley
- 50 gm oats
- 50 gm dried blood
- 5 gm salt
- 3 gm cracked black pepper
- 3 gm ground coriander
- 1 smallish onion, minced
- 170 gm bacon, cut small
Drain the grains, saving the liquid. Measure 350 ml of the soaking liquid,
topping up with more water if needed. Put the blood into a bowl with the
spices and salt and add a little of the liquid, stirring until smooth.
Continue adding the liquid in smallish glugs and mixing. (This is not
absolutely necessary, of course, it's just that if you add the water
all at once, it tends to clump, and you have to spend more time mixing
or whisking to get it all smooth. Ask me how I know.)
Then add the onion, grains, and bacon. Mix it all together and pour it
into a dish. Mine is sized so that this fills it to a depth of about 2cm,
if yours is thicker or thinner, you may need to adjust your cooking times.
The pudding will tend to stick, so greasing your dish, or lining it with foil
may be a good idea.
(It is also worth noting, that at this stage you could put the mix into
casings instead, if you are so inclined.) Put the pudding dish in
a waterbath which comes up at least to the traditional half-way point, and
bake it in a 165C oven for an hour and a half.
It will hold together better if you let it cool and then either eat it cold,
or reheat it it some fashion. For this meal, I fried it it with the mushrooms
Parts 2-3: Tomatoes and Mushrooms
The veg box often includes tomatoes or mushrooms or both, which also
contributed to the idea for this meal. I think we only had one of these
in the box and had to buy the other elsewhere, but I honestly don't recall.
In either case, the procedure is simplicity itself.
Slice the mushrooms and the tomatoes. (As I have suggested elsewhere, use
a serrated knife for the tomatoes. Trust me.) Heat a skillet with
some olive oil. Put the shrooms in first, with just a pinch of salt. If
you are going to fry the black pudding, it can go in at this point as well.
We don't like the tomatoes too soft, so I put them in after the others have
been going for a few minutes, but if you like them more cooked, then put
them in now, as well.
When they are done to your liking, take them out.
Part 4: The Beans
If they are in the pods, remove them. Bring a pot of water to the boil,
then boil the beans to your preferred level of softness. If they are fresh,
it shouldn't be more than a few minutes in any case. Drain them.
Part 5: The Savoury Meringue
I have done savoury meringues before, and I think that they are great fun.
People are so used to the idea of sweet meringues that they can be taken
aback by the idea of a savoury one, even though fried eggs, omelettes,
and so forth don't strike them as odd. I have also had reasonably good
success over the years with poached meringues. There's a dessert
called 'Floating Islands' which I've made on several occasions, for
I said above that there would be more about the poached meringues. Well,
here it is - they can be a little tricky. The meringues in the pictures
have collapsed. They were poofy and perfect and I turned away for a moment
to do something else, and when I turned back they had collapsed. So, keep
an eye on them, and pull them out of the water as soon as they are done.
They're still perfectly edible and delicious, of course, just not as pretty.
Bring a large pot of water to a gentle simmer.
Beat the egg whites and the salt until they form stiff peaks. Cut the herbs,
if you're using any, small and fold them gently into the egg whites. Dollop
the meringue mixture gently into water in whatever size dollops you like.
Don't crowd them in the pot. Poach for a short while, a minute or two depending on size, then turn them over for another minute or two. Remove with a slotted
spoon once they've set.
- 4 or 5 egg whites (save the yolks for Part 6: The Hollandaise)
- a pinch or two of salt
- some herbs, if you like. I used a handful of chives from the garden
Part 6: The Hollandaise
The nice thing about doing the meringues is that you have leftover egg yolks
for Hollandaise. Or, in my case, I knew I wanted Hollandaise and decided
the meringues would be a nice change from just frying or scrambling the
Get a double boiler going on the stovetop. I don't have a specialized one,
I just fill my second smallest saucepan with water and set my smallest
saucepan in it. Put the egg yolks in along with the lemon juice and whisk
thoroughly together. Add the salt and cayenne, whisk them in. Add the butter,
and continue to whisk gently. When the butter has melted, you can serve it.
If you are feeling bold, continue to whisk gently for a while longer, and
the sauce will thicken. If you heat it too much, it will set and you will
no longer have a thick sauce, but rather thinnish hard-cooked egg yolk. It
will still be delicious, but it won't pour as well. Practice makes perfect
with this, and I personally consider it a triumph when I get the texture
just right. I have been known to draw my wife's attention to the sauce
in such cases, so that she may admire it appropriately.
- 4 or 5 egg yolks (with the whites used in Part 5: The Savoury Meringue)
- a good big spoonful of butter
- a teaspoonful or a few good squirts of lemon juice
- a pinch of salt
- a good pinch of cayenne, if you care for such things
Assemble and serve. It made a lovely dinner.
© 2021 Jeff Berry
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