My main experience of a traditional English breakfast, or fry up, was at my nan’s on a Sunday morning when I was a kid. Other than that, it may conjure up images of builders with their bum cracks out, sitting and gobbling their breakfast in a greasy spoon cafe. The non-vegan version would include items such as bacon, sausage and egg. My animal free fry up gives you all the tradition of this filling start to the day, without the need to use our furry friends!
Here are the possible ingredients of what I would consider a full on tummy busting full English breakfast – mix it up as you like!
A vegan breakfast at the Hornbeam Cafe in Walthamstow, London
Bacon – I have tried a few different types of fake bacon and my favourite is V-bites Cheatin’ rashers. They also do a maple flavour now and both are available in Holland and Barrett. Don’t cook these for too long as they will become hard. You can literally just fry each side for two mins to warm through. Do you know a good bacon substitute in the country you live in, if not in the UK? Leave a comment and let us know!
Beans – I didn’t realise how English baked beans were until being fortunate enough to have people in my life from various countries, who told me so. Friends from South Africa were positively repulsed by the though of beans in tomato juice, but my German partner relishes being able to buy them in any corner shop instead of having to go into an organic market and find organic baked beans in a glass jar! Anyway – beans, if you are lucky enough to be able to get them, get chucked in a pan and heated up. Simple.
Bread – Your choice completely. Fresh bread is always a delight but I do like toast with a fry up. If i’m being extra careless with my health, I go for fried bread – just put the bread in a layer of oil and fry each side until golden brown. It involves an insane amount of oil, so no good if you’re not a fan of grease!
Egg – Ah, my favourite use for silken tofu. You can often get this from the Asian/Chinese section of supermarkets and should be drained and gently mashed with a fork. I fry the mashed tofu in a little vegan margarine with a small amount of garlic, salt, pepper, a teaspoon of eggless mayo and a tiny touch of mustard. Also available is The Vegg, which tastes, smells and looks incredible like egg yolk. Make up one or two yolks worth and add to the tofu depending on how “eggy” you’d like it. The longer you cook this, the more solid and dry it will become, which gives it a more satisfying bite.
Mushrooms – Fry in dairy free margarine with your choice of herbs like thyme or parsley, which work well with the full English. They are also nice with a small touch garlic. Don’t be tempted to shake the mushrooms around the pan or stir – let the mushrooms sit and fry off all their moisture and you will have delicious, slightly crispy mushrooms. Mmmmmmmmmmmm
Potato – According to the English Breakfast Society (I’m not kidding, that exists), the hash brown is a controversial choice of potato for the traditional fry up. According to them “hash browns are for Americans and if we want potato in our breakfast, we will have chips”. Well, sorry guys, I’m not with you on this one – like I aint with the suggestion of black pudding! I’ve never made my own hash browns, but maybe there’s a future blog post there…
Sausage – There are many varieties of vegan sausage available. A popular choice, including among my non-veg friends and family, are Linda McCartney sausages. It’s unfortunate that this is not a completely vegan company, but it’s good to boost sales of the vegan friendly choices and then write to them and tell them you’d like to buy more, if only they’d cut out the animal products altogether! Again – got a suggestion for vegan sausages available in other countries? Please leave comments below.
Tomato – Great just sliced in half and cooked in oil with a sprinkling of herbs of your choice. I like to cut corners when it comes to spending money, but tomatoes are one of my exceptions. There is a world of difference between the flavour of sweet, bright red, vine tomatoes and the mass produced anemic, watery tomatoes that you get cheap in the supermarket. You could also try whole tinned tomatoes just heated up in the pan. Add a little tomato puree to the juice to thicken a little.
TOP TIP! If you visit a cafe that sells full English breakfast, they are usually more than happy to let you just pick out the non-animal items and even substitute items, for example, an egg for extra tomato and a sausage for another hash brown! Just double check they don’t fry in butter, although this would be unusual as veg oil is much cheaper, and ask for no butter the toast. Chuck your beans or tomato on the butter-less toast and avoid dry mouth – et voila!
Let me know how you get on and show me pictures of your fry ups! If you have any questions, ask away…