Archive for the ‘Research’ Category


3 bits with parsley, one with chilli sauce

3 bits with parsley, one with chilli sauce


Got this recipe from Olive magazine so I thought I’d give it a bash seeing as it fits in with the bacon curing, butter churning, bread baking ethos we are following at Full English.  I bought spankingly fresh mackerel from Steve Hats on Essex Road and processed the fish as soon as I got home.  

Fillet, de-bone and lay on a layer of equal parts salt and sugar (with lots of black pepper).  Refrigerate with weights on top, after 24hrs drain and repeat (I added more of the cure but the recipe didn’t mention this). After 48hrs remove, rinse pat dry and slice thinly – serve on buttered toast with some garnish or other – the chilli sauce was really good – mustard or wasabi would also work but lemon juice is essential.

The taste?  It reminded me of smoked salmon without the smoke.  Not overtly fishy (a good thing – that suggests the fish is old…) but a lovely texture and depth of mackerel flavour.


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Having mastered the art of the New York Times no kneed bread the next logical step was to try a sourdough.

This would of course involve some kneeding and a more measured approach to proofing and the likes but the thing that got me really excited was the idea of growing a sourdough starter without using any instant processed yeast.

The idea of a sourdough starter is to encourage the growth and development of natural yeast spores found in the flour you use and in the environment surrounding you. This really is getting back in touch with a purely natural way of cooking.  Making bread is one of the most exciting and rewarding acts of cooking – bread is ace – homemade bread made with natural yeast from the air we breathe is freekin’ awesome!

So I set to work following one of the many guides found online (thanks S John Ross!).  Take your flour (I used unbleached wholemeal), add water and make a thick battery gloop.  Let sit at room temp with tea towel over the top to deter critters…

The first couple of days nothing much happened. By about the 4th day I had magic bubbles – a sign that something is happening with the yeast and bacteria. But woow – it totally stank of baby sick – never smealt anything quite like it.  So I kept feeding it each day and eventually it settled down and took on that lovely faintly sour beery hue.

So that was my starter sorted all, I needed to do was add more flour and water to develop a sponge, about 3 hours later you add more flour to get a bread consistency and then kneed for about 10 minutes (strangely cathartic actually).

Sourdough - the first rise

Sourdough - the first rise

You then let it rise once more, knock it back and create a loaf.

Second rise as a loaf - nice slits...

Second rise as a loaf - nice slits...

Get it while it's hot!

Get it while it's hot

Oddly, the recipe I was following told you to cook the bread at 200 from cold (ie don’t preheat the oven).  This had the effect of rising the dough even further before the real heat kicked in and creating a lovely soft bread with an excellent crumb with little crust – perfect for sandwiches!

Charlotte made me get up early the next morning to construct a PBJ – a bit sacrilegious with such fine bread (aidsims) but she did say it was the best bread I’d made so far.

Next up – same recipe but using the dutch oven method so you get a more french style crust and some wholemeal individual rolls – yumosa!

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Due to my extended period of downtime given that, unbelievably, we are still having to pump out the basement on a daily basis, I took the opportunity to try a local establishment for lunch with me old mate Al.

The last time we did this was about 6 months ago when we ended up having a legendary meal of roast quail and sauerkraut at the Anchor and Hope in Waterloo.

Like that time (snails and ox heart) Al chose to stick with an offal’esque selection at The Duke with cuttle fish and white bean on toast followed by Ox tail and braised pearl barley – and very nice it was too.  The Duke are slavish to their organic paradigm – the only pub in the UK (the world?) to have certification from the Soil Society  – so their dishes are seasonal, sustainable and, for once all the better for it.

Our approach at Full English is not to be a flag waving, organic pioneer, rather an establishment that obsesses over the flavour and welfare of the animals we butcher and serve. There’s no doubt in my mind that a happy pig is a tasty pig – an given that I happen to quite like pigs anyway, I don’t want to be responsible for making that pig spend its days inside on a hard concrete floor.

I’m pretty sure that the porker in my bacon and egg sandwich was a happy one – I certainly was when I’d washed it down with a couple of pints of Eco Warrior!

My bacon & egg sandwich with sautéd pots

My bacon & egg sandwich with sautéd pots

Al's oxtail and braised pearl barley

Al's oxtail and braised pearl barley

Felix had the milk special!

Felix had the milk special!

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Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored…..

Get yourself a big fat Welsh duck egg (thanks mum), a Canon 350D and snap away…



Cracking - click the image if it doesn't animate


But seriously though, I hope we can get a regular supply of these.  They taste great, really rich, and I love that orange gloss the yolk covers the plate with.  Yum





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Menu run through No1 today – up at 6.30 and 2 sittings at 11 and 1pm (although we only did 15 covers).

Today was all about breakfasts – there will be a much more varied menu when we open  -don’t think I explained that very well.  

Think it basically went well although I’m yet to have feedback.  Some food was late and the Bloody Marys were rubbish but I think everything was hot, looked nice and tasted good.

Thanks to all for attending and Ash (http://www.a-mphotography.com) for the excellent pics of the food and proceedings.

the cafe


We turned the our bedroom into Full English for one day.  Michaela had the eggy bread with bacon  – sorry it was sooo late – she’s eating for two bless her.  Charlotte ruled it as front of house.


guest bacon


We had a smoked and a green bacon on today – smoked was most popular by about 3:1


bloody mary with celery


Deb’s Bloody Mary looks nice but apparently it lacked flavour and kick – I don’t like BMs so I’ve got no reference point.  Thankfully little Ben is on hand with his refined buds…


smoked salmon and muffin 


Mmm – really nice, firm smoked salmon with scrambled and muffins.  Won’t be cheap but the quality of the salmon is excellent.


full english breakfast 


The Full English – forgot the vine toms which would have added to the overall effect.  Forgot to butter the toast too…


ulster fry


The Ulster Fry – quickly becoming a favourite – I L.O.V.E farls. But poached eggs are def the hardest of the breakfast staple. You have to watch them like hawks and different eggs from the same batch react completely differently  – some go into lovely tight shapes, the others spread through the poaching water and look awful. 

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flour protein levels Of course, I’m writing that from an Englishman’s POV. No mater, the Ulster fry is everything you love about the Full English fry up with the addition of a great invention – the instant breakfast bread – AKA the farl [wiki→] .

My recipe uses organic plain flour with a lower protein level than bread flour (just look out for the nutrition info on the back – you want something at about 9g per 100 as opposed to bread flour at up to 14g).

The Farl encompasses simplicity perfectly – flour, baking powder, yoghurt, whole milk – mix, form and bake!  No waiting for rising or proving as the baking powder does all the work.

You need a good heavy griddle pan to get the lovely toasty lines but a flat cast iron pan will be just as good.

I went with poached eggs as I’m maxed out on cholesterol   this week already – fried would be more extravagant.  The sausage is Frank Godfrey, so too is the bacon – both really, really good.  The beans are of course Heinz – never will an inferior bean grace the plates of my restaurant whilst my name is over the door!


ulster fry


Ulster Fry

You should really know how to do your sausage and bacon by now – slow and steady wins the race – make sure the heat is low/medium and take your time.  Please respect our porcine friends and find the best sausage and bacon you can – they really do taste better the better time they’ve had in the field.

Poached eggs – with the shell on drop the eggs gently into a shallow, wide pan of simmering water and count to 40.  Remove and set aside.  When you’re ready to go (about 3 mins before the end) crack the eggs very slowly into the water.  The pre-cook should have formed the eggs slightly holding them together better (Copyright Elizabeth David).  Bubble away until the eggs are to your liking – I pick them out of the water with a slotted spoon and check the white with my finger – I don’t like runny white be insist on runny yellow!

Farl – for 1 person 

100 grms plain organic flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

50mls whole milk

30mls yoghurt – good quality, live organic is best

Sift flour and baking soda, combine yog and milk and stir in.  The mixture should be loose but with flour on your hands you should be able to transfer to board and shape roughly with your hands into triangle shape (if making for more than 1 you would form a circle and cut out triangles).

Get your griddle pan up to temperature (low/medium heat), rub with butter and sprinkle with flour. Leave for a few minutes to toast and then drop in your dough.  You only want to turn once so leave it 5 mins (don’t let it burn!) and then flip.

Plate up and don’t let the beans touch the egg! 

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sausage amsterdamTrawling Flickr for inspiration for our large format prints. Stumbled across this great shot of sausage  – somewhat apt that it’s from a Dutch poster!  

Haven’t got a clue what he’s banging on about but you can see the pic in all its glory here  and our man Breeblebox has a great food set too

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