Tuck Shop

Dr Fry has secret operatives all around the world keeping him abreast of greasy local issues and initiatives. One such Special Agent, Katherine Tuck, was sent on a field operation to the beautiful Isle of Skye, on a mission to investigate the quality of local fryup produce.

Actually she staying near Portree on holiday but was kind enough to send me some pictures to share amongst you beautiful grease-enthusiasts. After a tip-off from a local she was directed to a portakabin which didn’t look to promising to be fair.

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However once inside she was delighted to be looked after by the very friendly butcher who had some lovely-looking goodies on his counter.

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He must have thought Katherine was quite mad coming in taking pictures of him cutting bacon – “you’ll never believe what happened in the shop today love, some strange lass was taking photographs of me, *chokes with laughter* cutting bacon!”

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Here’s another shot of him at work, Not often you see someone hand-slicing bacon, I’m assured it was thick, even and delicious.

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Katherine’s haul included hand-made sausages, the bacon, black pudding, haggis, fruit pudding and Lorne sausage. I’ve not had fruit pudding on a fryup for years, so it’s gone on my list to review.

Here’s the absolutely gorgeous fryup that Katherine banged out at the end of her mission, she said the meats and puddings were  top-quality and tasted fantastic.

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Mission accomplished Special Agent Tuck, thanks for the pics!

 

 

Tea, a Potted History.

 

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A nice big mug of tea is one of the most popular beverages to accompany a fryup, often included in the price if you dine in a greasy enough spoon. Much is written about the history of tea and its importance in the development of world trade and social history. Almost all tea historians view the story of this wonderful substance positively through rose-tinted spectacles and ignore the dreadful impact its trade has had on the health and welfare of millions of ordinary people over the centuries.

Yesterday was the 358th Anniversary of the arrival tea in the UK, there was even a google doodle about it, but before you pop the kettle on and make a delicious brew, please consider the following brief points –

  • Originally grown in China, in the 1500s it’s brought to Europe and Britain goes absolutely mental for it, heavily investing in a naval empire to help import it safely.
  • Britain buys all the tea in China (this is where that expression comes from) using almost all of its silver bullion reserves in the process, virtually bankrupting the country and forcing millions of ordinary British citizens into poverty and early graves.
  • To reduce the debt and the balance of trade deficit, Britain introduces the Chinese public to opium through intermediaries (these days we’d just call them drug dealers). China isn’t particularly happy about this situation and the ensuing conflict saw the start of the Opium Wars where 69 british soldiers and 18,000 Chinese troops were killed in the first one alone and many millions of Chinese citizens still remain hooked on opium, completely destabilising their once strong economy.
  • Meanwhile Britain forces India and other colonies to start growing tea to completely cut China out of the equation, the British East India Tea Company commandeers vast swathes of land in India to accommodate tea plantations, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and forcing local people to work on the plantations in conditions close to or often worse than slavery.
  • The popularity of tea drives up the need for a substantial and regular supply of sugar, production and trade in this commodity is inextricably linked with the slave trade from Africa, displacing and enslaving millions of people as sugar plantations spring up around the British colonies in the Americas.
  • China is on its knees, a ruined economy, millions of citizens addicted to opium, their monopoly on the production of tea gone. Africa has millions of its citizens in slavery around the world and the impacts of the slavery trade still resonate today. India takes over a century to fully recover from colonial rule and the impact tea had on the transformation of rural economies. The Americas are laughing, making huge profits from the slave trade and plantations. Britain does quite well out of it, they got all the tea they would ever need and make a fortune out of the trade, but at what cost?

I won’t stop drinking tea, or using sugar, or wearing cotton (or trying opium at least once in my life if I ever get a chance) but I will always spare a thought to the millions of people who have suffered and died over the centuries to bring me my cuppa.

I think I need to put the kettle on after that rant!

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On a lighter note, my research has led to me joining an absolutely delightful facebook group called “Rate My Tea” full of quite wonderful people with a true passion about the nation’s favourite beverage. Please check it out and say hello if you see me in there, if I haven’t already been banned for heresy!

 

Greasy Feedback

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It’s a sign of any quality operation where both negative and positive feedback is utilised to continually improve standards.

Personally I just like reading what other people think when they see one of my fries on social media. Some of the more humorous ones are usually written when I’ve popped a picture onto the mighty and notorious Fry Up Police‘s Facebook group page. Here is a selection of my own personal favourite comments on my last five fryups posted there.

As you can see some people are so emotionally charged by the sight of fried food that they occasionally let slip an expletive…

  • That fry and myself need some alone time

  • That is f*cking majestic

  • You never fail to turn me on

  • Hail Satan

  • I’d suck anything for an go on that

  • I wouldn’t shit for a week if I ate that

  • I’d let it trump in my mouth

  • You eat at ridiculous hours. I missed ‘you old piss tank’ off the end of that sentence!

  • I’d smash its back doors in

  • I’d marry you, you fat bastard!

  • Ballads shall be written about this

  • Can I adopt you?

  • I see you’ve gone with the fried bread cantilever plate expansion system

  • Give me a shout if you fancy an affair

  • You know when new mothers see their babies for the first time…yeah, like that. 

  • Can you suck t*ts as well as cook???

  • Marry me?  

  • Holy mother of fry ups…

  • Everything else in life is sh*t compared to this fry

  • These eggs look too nice you f*cking c*nt 

  • I done a sex wee  

  • You could have my babies with those skills

  •  I’d shag it

  • If it were an horse I would ride it you filthy slut

Marriage proposals aren’t that uncommon in feedback to my fryups, however I am keeping a very close eye on the more indecent proposals which have recently been showing a worrying upward trend.

In other news we now have a Youtube channel, only a few short runny egg vids on there at the moment, you can find it right here.

Please visit Dr Fry’s Facebook page to follow more regular fryups stories and features.

Dr Fry vs Morrisons All Day Breakfast Pasty

We have a rule in our house, if you buy it, you eat it. I might have to have a look at the rules after spending £1.50 today on a Morrison’s All Day Breakfast Pasty. Curious to see what exactly was going on in there, I donned my gowns, scrubbed up & performed an autopsy.

To be honest the subject didn’t look too bad at first, quite healthy from the outside.

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Cracked it open, a bit shocked really, are they ‘tater tots’? Is that a big cocktail sausage or a small chipolata?

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It was all pretty congealed, from what I can see we have a tiny sausage, some shreds of bacon and a spoonful of beans. Thankfully Mrs Dr Fry was assisting and was able to read out the ingredients from the packet. Apparently the congealant is scrambled eggs.

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I was beginning to regret 1. not heating it up (it might have moistened up a bit) 2. buying it. In an effort to make it a bit more palatable I added a splodge of delicious Salubrious Sauce Co’s Breakfast Sauce, salt & pepper, repacked with the original glop, sliced the ‘sausage’ up a bit and topped it with a ripe vine tomato.

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It was still horrible.

For £1.50 you’re better trying your luck with a bacon bap at your local greasy spoon. Morrisons usually do quite nice pies, please avoid this one and try their ‘Butter Pie’ it’s lovely.

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I’m only really using this website for longer articles or pictorials now, most of the greasy action is now over on the Doctor Fry Facebook page, pop by, say hi & please give us a like & a share.

 

 

Hash Browns – An Exposé

I’ll just start by saying that a portion of hash browns, as they are now commonly made or bought, on a Full English Breakfast isn’t really my top preference in the morning. On a huge evening fryup I feel that they have some merit, but I also feel that there are more and better options for presenting the humble fried spud and that we might actually have been doing it all wrong for a long time.

The Hash Brown is an American import which has firmly established itself as a favourite on Britain’s greasy fryups. They were originally called “hashed brown potatoes” (or “hashed browned potatoes”), of which the first known mention is by food author Maria Parloa wrote about in 1888,

Or so Wikipedia would have us believe. But we’ll come to that in a bit…

In the UK, sadly the most popular choice is frozen blocks of processed potato deep fried. Cheap, nasty and absorb almost their own weight in the fat they’re fried in. Some caffs don’t change their fat very often and fry lots of different things in the same fryer. Just ponder on that one for a moment.

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The other option is to make your own, there are lots of variants but probably the most popular is a Swiss rosti-style affair using shredded raw potato with the moisture squozen out and sometimes customised with exotic  flavours then fried in a pattie shape like a burger.

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But…..

What if we’ve been doing it wrong? What if Hash Browns weren’t an American import, what if the origin of proper bona fide bull-goose Hash Browns went back centuries and were almost the opposite of sh!t frozen hash or solid rosti wannabees.

Please take a minute to look at this brilliant article by the Old Foodie, I agree with almost everything the author says here.

I’ve almost always conformed to the idea that a hash has to be a regular solid shape, usually a patty. It seems now that cooked loose is the proper way. I have hardly ever used raw spuds in my home-made Hash Browns. Potatoes are blanched or boiled, sometimes leftover surplus spuds or roasties from the previous night, which is bang on with the traditional recipes. The Old Foodie’s article has got me wanting to try a few of the recipes on there and bend them a little maybe. Of course if you fully subscribe to the idea that proper Hash Browns are actually a loose fried up collection of potato-rich leftovers then in theory, (dons tinfoil hat) Hash Browns are actually merely an inferior version of the mighty Bubble & Squeak. 

Mind=blown

Now I’m not saying that loose cooked fried spuds are better because they are ‘traditional’, positive change should be encouraged, we can’t live in the past forever but the past often has a few secrets which we can learn from and I think this is one of them.

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Hash Browns as described in the article are better because they are better. Ironically though, all of the top 3 Hash Browns I have experienced in a loose rather than solid style had North American origins. Moose Cafe in Liverpool city centre, a Canadian stylee place that didn’t do a fryup but did a mean mustardy soft and crispy concoction, a mad Bostonian relative who used to live off them but had straightforward diced and seasoned par-cooked spuds, fried on a cast iron skillet with onions down to a tee. The best though were when I was but a young Dr Fryling and drove out to Snoqualmie in Washington State to hang around all the Twin Peaks Locations. Yes, I was that sad. As well as having damn fine cherry pie and coffee in the diner that was used by David Lynch in the series (as it turns out just from the outside, the inside was built in a studio to mimic Mar-T’s) I had some breakfast and with it the most marvelous delicious soft spuds hard fried in bacon grease, and described as “home-fries”.

So there it is, out in the open, you’ve been doing it completely wrong for ages. I for one welcome our new soft spud loose-fried overlords and will most likely be banging them on my next fry to try them out.

 

 

 

Lee Palmer

Lee Palmer, a follower of the Dr Fry Facebook page, recently sent me this lovely looking fryup in the comments section of the page.

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A gorgeous thing to behold. I initially thought it was another piece of his work that I’d seen on the pages of the notorious Fry Up Police, which I think deserves a big shout due to how it was prepared.

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“A Fryup with a secret….home made hash browns, free range eggs, butchers bacon, 80% pork sausages, fried bread, toast, beans and black pudding.

The secret is…… It’s slimming world friendly. My Wife and I are on a diet so thought I would have a bash at making a healthier fryup. All cooked in 1Cal spray, bacon fat trimmed off, sausages are weight watchers, reduced sugar beans, nimble wholemeal bread, and lighter than light spread.”

I’m not sure which one I would smash first, they both look beautiful but you have to admire Lee’s mad skills with the 1-Cal spray. Some time ago I joined Mrs Dr Fry for 9 months on her Slimming World diet and the fryup (as well as the Moussaka) was the best thing about it. 1-Cal spray is quite difficult to get used to using, it burns very easily, you have to patiently cook a lot more slowly, be more attentive and you really need a good nonstick pan for best results. A local butcher makes rather tasty ‘syn free’ sausages so that was easy for me. Eggs are a bugger to master but Lee did a cheffy trick and flashed them under a grill to finish them off superbly here. Bacon has to have as much of the fat trimmed off as possible (good excuse for an extra rasher), low fat/salt beans are ok, the Heinz/Weight Watchers ones are far better than cheap brands of normal beans. Lee has even cut the crusts off his Nimble bread, probably to make up for the fact he’s sneaked in some black pudding which isn’t strictly part of the diet!

Absolutely top frying Lee, knocks spots off my last effort at a lower fat fry. I might give it another bash soon though!

 

 

A Fry on the Fly

I’ve had a torrid schedule this weekend and had some bits to use up urgently from the refrigerator. As a result I was munching on this beauty at 6 a.m this morning having prepared it late Saturday night.

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The layer of bread fried in the bacon and sausage fat in the middle was the key to structural integrity as well as adding beautiful flavour and valuable greasy calories. (Victorians championed the toast sandwich, even Heston is getting in on the act but this was a whole other level!). I opted for sweet tomato relish instead of sauce and deliberately broke the duck egg yolk to give it a better spread across the sandwich.

 

A Tale of 2 Hog’s

This week I picked up 2 different types of Hog’s pudding made by two Cornish butchers trading barely a mile apart. I’ve tried them both, but the acid test is the opinion of  Mrs Dr Fry who was born in Devon, grew up in Cornwall and bloody loves her Hog’s Pudding.  It’s fair to say that they were both very different approaches to making a good old Hog’s.

Mrs Dr Fry fancied trying them this evening, she keeps her celebrity model figure and stunning looks by only having the occasional very modest fryup, so here is tonight’s-

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She scored 1/10 for the darker Hog’s from Pearce’s Quality Butchers from the top of her Mum’s road, it had a crumbly consistency and a huge nutmeg aftertaste. The one below it was from the Tregonissey Butchers and was less grainy, less seasoned and very porky, slightly like spam though. She gave it 4/10. For the record her 10/10 is ‘Luke’s Hog’s Pudding’ which sadly doesn’t appear to exist in this century. She has very graciously given my version 8/10, so still a bit of work there to do. She loved everything else on the plate though, especially the egg.

Road Trip Blues

I bought some fantastic fryup produce from the farm shop at the independent family-run Gloucester Services earlier this year and relished not only a return for more but also the opportunity to sample one of their critically-acclaimed full breakfasts.

Gloucester and Tebay (M6) services are owned and run by the Dunning family of farmers and renowned for their high standards and staunch principles when it comes to food, so when we set off for a Cornish road trip I planned to arrive at Gloucester not long after the breakfast service had started and make the most of our visit. I’m often guilty of having expectations beyond the capability of catering organisations to deliver the quality I expect and sadly this time it was no different.

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I went for the £8.75 9 piece breakfast, price does not include the rather excellent cup of coffee. I must admit my heart sank a bit when I saw the food sitting in trays/bowls being kept warm under lights.

It sank even more when I saw eggs which had clearly been sitting there for some time and looked solid, so first thing was to ask for fresh ones. I am fairly sure that the eggs were the only ingredients which had been anywhere near a frying pan the rest had been baked and kept warm. The sausages were good quality and were the highlight of the breakfast, the rest left for me a lot to be desired. Fried bread was like greasy ryvita, black pudding was like a badly burnt hockey puck, tasteless baked tomato, greasy horrible bubble and squeak which reminded me of 1970s school dinners (for the record it’s called bubble and squeak because of the noise it makes when it’s fried, bubble and squelch would be more accurate here). Bacon was baked together and the measly portion of watery beans casually dumped on top of it. I avoided the haggis which was sloppier than the bubble and mushrooms which had been stewed. A huge disappointment, especially considering the quality of the onsite butchers and farmshop, which ended up being the saving grace.

The kid’s play area was also fantastic –

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The pie counter was out of this world!

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So I dried my eyes and went shopping and certainly wasn’t disappointed with anything I bought from the farm shop.

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(The hog’s pudding was from Tregonissey butchers but the rest was from Gloucester services).

I understand how difficult it is to please everyone all of the time but I really didn’t think the breakfast would be as poor as it was. I’d be inclined to think they may have just been having a bad day until this image arrived on my newsfeed this morning courtesy of Melanie Shaw from the Fry Up Police which is the £7.79 version served at the Tebay services and which looks almost as dreadful as the Gloucester one, at least my sausages weren’t wrinkly and incinerated!

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I sincerely hope that someone develops an app soon for road-trippers to locate a decent fryup near a junction or town, in the meantime I will be giving the kitchens at Gloucester & Tebay a wide berth.