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.

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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.

 

A Greasy ‘Zine – Adam Watkins AKA LIMBO

I love this. As your Doctor I recommend you purchase a copy of this immediately for the sake of your sanity, health and well-being.

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Adam has produced this limited run of his tribute to the mighty fryup. It only costs ten of your earth pounds INCLUDING postage. It’s really rather brilliant, he’s an extremely talented artist. No spoilers though. if you want to see inside the ‘zine then here’s all the contact info at the back of this seminal work on fryup culture –

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If you’re unfamiliar with Adam and his work, here’s a great place to start or just mosey on over to the LIMBO fb page and sample all the delights.

Edit: welcome to LIMBOLAND, Adam’s shiny new online shop place, please have a peek!

 

Cornish Caravan Fry

There was a bit of a gathering of the Fry Clan this weekend St Austell way, on the way down I picked up some great bits for a fryup near Gloucester and banged this all together yesterday morning on a caravan hob.

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The Hog’s pudding from Tregonissey Butchers was the star though. Porky rather than herby and quite solid. With – Doreen’s black pud, Branston beans, a big old Portobello, Gloucester Old Spot sausages and thick smoked streaky bacon, fried vine tomato, duck eggs, tiger toast and a nice mug of tea.

Class War

I had quite a busy day away from my practice today and came home to find that there had been an almighty disagreement between some organisations who purport to exist to drive up standards in food. The conflict started with a public statement by the head of one of the big-hitters in the British Fryosphere who, to put it in a nutshell, called all fryups “shit” and cheap and went on to question the competence, literacy and intelligence of anyone who disagreed with this conjecture; then went on to dogmatically state the only true representation of an English Breakfast should hark back to some pre-Victorian time when breakfasts enjoyed by the elite are the way to go and that promoting excellence and some control and restraint in preserving the integrity of fryups was a lost cause and one which shouldn’t be promoted in the national press.

I think there was a justifiable reaction by groups and individuals to whom this was aimed I would have been surprised if there wasn’t and I am sure that this was exactly the reaction which was begged by the author of the original statement. From what I caught between dispatches the whole thing became quite volatile. Which again I feel was part of the purpose of the original statement.

My own take on this, for what it is worth is this. Those with a common aim to raise the standards of the food which this nation consumes should be applauded for their efforts. Those who choose to try to promote their own agenda through manipulating undignified conflict are being counter-productive and are complicit in increasing the divide between those who have and have not.

No matter how well you prepare one, a fryup is something which can be enjoyed by prince and pauper. Yes there is a long history of those who are better-off enjoying some amazing meaty combinations of the best which their country estates have to offer them for breakfast, yes this is part of our heritage and should and must be recorded for posterity, but this is 2016. A time of bleak austerity for the majority of the 60+ million people who inhabit our isles and for whom, very often, a fryup is a real and rare treat for a struggling family.

I’ve never eaten a mixed-grill which has met my expectations (for this is all that an ultra-‘traditional’ Anglo-Saxon/Victoriana breakfast is) but I have eaten and seen many fryups which have provided more than affordable joy.

I must therefore kindly thank the Society for admitting me as a Fellow but not very regretfully withdraw from their fold with immediate effect. I would also remind any f*cker who tries to pass off my work as theirs that I know, or can very easily find out where you live and that I do not tolerate fools easily x.

I called this post “Class War” because I feel that this is at the heart of the disagreement. More and better for the few who can, trying to ride roughshod over the many who struggle on a daily basis to exist. It’s 2016. Those who deferred to the ‘upper’ classes are literally a dying breed and the daily revelations of the dark and dirty personal financial affairs of those trusted to a position of authority are gradually helping to reduce the dreadful syndrome of embourgeoisement which has haunted us since the mid-1970s.

Please don’t ever feel that your fryup isn’t worthy compared to something with marrowbone, kidneys, a pig’s head or whatever, be proud of your right to fry and your right to be proud of your own achievements.

If you’ve actually read this far then I think you really deserve something for your efforts so here’s a picture of something.

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This one’s by Aaron Gartside, his fries rock.

 

 

 

 

Two Gorgeous Fries

I’ve seen some astonishingly good fries popping up in my newsfeed today however I feel compelled to highlight these two. Both from the notorious Fry Up Police fb page, both completely different in their approach to greasy excellence.

Peggy Golec

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Ben Hesketh

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Fanatical militant fryup types would probably be outraged by the lack of core ingredients present however I find both of these fries rather captivating in different ways.

Vive le Fry