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!

 

 

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.

 

 

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!

 

 

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!

 

We Don’t Need No Education

Your jaw will literally drop when you see the shocking state of the fryups being offered to undergraduates in the UK. This shockumentary blows the lid off the greasy underworld of student catering and reveals the dreadful truth behind the cheap seedy fryups which are perverting the palettes of students across the nation.

Sorry, I was advised that my intros could be a bit punchier. Nailed it I think.

The mighty Fry Up Police have again allowed me access to their glorious and terrifying archives to have a peek at what’s going on in the world of higher-education fryups. I’ts generally not a pretty sight.

AA from Newcastle University paid £4.45 for this Prisoner Cell Block H-esque bleak fryup.

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JCC blew a chunk of his student loan on this at University of Portsmouth student’s union. ‘Mega-breakfast’. £4.29. Looks very Wetherspoony.

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University of Birmingham “Longboat”.  £4.95. A bit more colour on the sausages and a couple of slices of decent bread and I’d give it a sail! Cheers AA.

u3University of Birmingham, 10 piece 'longboat' breakfast £4.95 AA

GP is doing a Masters in Advanced Photography at University of Southampton. Students Union cafe – £4.00 for the 10 item ‘mega’ fry. Sausages, tomatoes and eggs look passable.

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This is a bit grim. University of Sheffield , £3.50. Hoping you’re ok AW.

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£2.70, the Great Hall, Christ Church, Oxford. Nice chairs, rubbish sausage SB.

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Every Christmas the University of South Wales cooks an all you can eat breakfast for £3.50. BP is in his 17th year there.

u7Every Christmas the University of South Wales does an all you can eat breakfast for £3.50 BP

RW doesn’t even get a fork at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. £2.50

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£3.50, Elements Cafe at Heriot-Watt University. Is it too late to change your Uni CD?

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TL got this moist one for £4.50 at the Nottingham Trent Uni student’s union.

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SB wept as they poured beans all over that lovely egg. £2.65 Hertfordshire University , not too shoddy for the price.

u12 £2.65 from Hertfordshire Uni canteen SB

Thankfully not all students choose or are forced to rely on their fryups from school-stylee canteens, some of them get off their backsides and do it themselves, producing sublime efforts like this one from PC who is reading Fish at Plymouth.

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I shall be writing to Ofsted or someone about this whole rubbish student fryup issue. Jaws will drop.

 

 

Wether Report – JD Wetherspoon

JD Wetherspoon first started serving breakfasts across its chain in 2002. Now, with just short of 1,000 outlets and revenue of over £1.4 billion it is the UK’s fifth largest purveyor of breakfasts with only Greggs, Costa, Starbucks and McDonald’s selling more. Last year JDW sold 24 million breakfasts and 50 million cups of Lavazza. Every branch is fitted with bespoke axminster carpeting with a design reflecting the area, building or name costing £30,000- twice the average price for pub carpets.

They have a reputation of opening pubs in odd and interesting buildings, the one I wandered into today – The Navigator – was originally Branch 78 of the Liverpool Co-operative society, a collection of shops with quite a lovely art-deco facade. Presumably called The Navigator due to the proximity of St Brendan’s (patron saint of navigators) Roman Catholic church. Like a pratt I forgot to look at the carpet.

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I’d gone for a walk and a haircut, a review of JD Wetherspoon was on my long-list and there I was, at elvenses, right outside one. So I dived in. The last time I’d been in a JDW in daylight was over 10 years ago in a building that had been a huge pet shop which quite grimly closed down after a fire. I remember it being a bit rowdy, quite a nice sausage, and sachet sauces.

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People seem to love or hate Wetherspoons with the same sort of passion as Marmite. This is especially apparent when it comes to the Wetherspoon fryup. I went for the basic breakfast with a mug of tea for £4.15. Quite unnervingly it took exactly 10 minutes to the second from my ordering to being served. It was ok, for £4.15 I wasn’t expecting a surprise, my expectations were almost exactly met.

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Instantly recognisable from the bright blue and white daisy pattern on the not even slightly warm corporate crockery, the catering-pack frozen sausage had been deep fried and unfortunately, as they often do, looked a bit phallic. The egg was over and swamped with runny beans, tomato had only been shown the griddle so was hard as a bullet, hash browns were greasy horrible things (to be fair I am not a lover of hash browns but I’ve tried enough of them to be able to judge them), the bacon was surprisingly tasty, if a bit stripey. The lightly toasted bread was cold and rubbery. I’m almost sure you have 2 slices in your pic of this on your menu on the table JDW?

Tea was nice, as was the lack of music – Wetherspoon take an Orwellian approach to music, neither a radio nor a piano and it wasn’t an unpleasant place to eat. It wasn’t rowdy, there were a fair few people working their way through a fair few pints but doing so cheerfully, there were people having little business meetings with their ipads out, and a few people like me, not being too disappointed with their breakfasts because in our heart of hearts we knew what we were going to get when we walked in and JDW absolutely delivered. It is what it is, it does what it does. Staff were absolutely lovely, the place was spotless and didn’t smell of rank stale beer and if I only had a choice between JDW, Greggs, Costa, Starbucks and McDonald’s for breakfast then JDW would be my first choice. I sincerely hope I never find myself in that situation though.

Amo

“Amo” is Italian for “love”.  I liked the Amo Coffee House but I didn’t love it, it was non è proprio il mio genere (not my cup of tea).

To be fair I was wanting a nice greasy fryup and the huge clue that I wasn’t going to get one was in the words “coffee house”.

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Nestling amongst letting agencies, estate agents and accountants in the picturesque village of West Derby, Amo is a lovely independent brunch place which boasts a range of all-day breakfasts. I’m struggling to call them fryups because I’m not exactly sure how much of it was fried.

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I was in the company of one of the junior Frys and Mrs Dr Fry and we all went with the English breakfasts. Mrs Fry went for the regular and enjoyed a pot of Earl Grey Tea (personally I think it smells of feline urine) with brown toast. Fry Junior & I went for the Full English with white toast and normal tea that didn’t smell of cat-piss, Fry Jnr declined tomato and fungus but demanded an extra egg. I asked for black AND white pudding.

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There’s all sorts of wrong going on here for me. But then that’s the me who was wanting a greasy-spoon fryup in what turned out to be quite a slightly posh place that almost certainly caters perfectly for its target-audience.

The sausages and bacon were baked, if they had ever been near a frying pan it wasn’t recently. They were good quality but the bacon was a a bit chewy and the sausages a bit choady. The semi-tomato was fairly solid and had Italian herby sprinkles. A bit of salt and pepper is fine for me. The beans in a ramekin thing I can never really get. If you try to eat them in situ then quite apart from the fact that all the juice rises to the top, it’s like trying to eat out of a hamster’s feeding bowl. If you elect, as I did, to just pour them on the plate almost exactly where the bowl was sitting, then you’re kind of doing the chef’s job for him.

After we ordered we were told that they had run out of  their regular crusty bloomer white bread but they could do 3 bits of smaller bread. I should have changed to brown, Mrs Fry’s bread looked seriously lovely. Also her sausage was MASSIVE compared to ours.

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We got what was very probably Warburton’s small toastie, slightly griddled and shown some butter. Didn’t really work, they were like rubber.

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That’s not toast.

My egg was a bit small and only a bit runny (Mrs Dr Fry’s was perfect). The white pudding was instantly recognisable as “Oakwell” a locally-produced white pudding. It looks fantastic, it is apparently ‘award-winning’ however I absolutely despise the taste of this brand. With a passion. I love white pudding but not this one. Amo chefs, please make your own, portion it and freeze it, it’s so much nicer and cheaper than these dreadful £1.99 sticks. Or try the Bury Black Pudding ones, still quite local.

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Mushrooms, black pudding and fried spuds were absolutely lovely. Nothing here was remotely undercooked except the tomato, all of the ingredients were of a good quality.

If you’re wanting what turned out to be quite a very tasty healthily-cooked breakfast in a really nice coffee-house in the financial quarter of an historically significant village with their own stocks and a huge church then this place really fits the bill. If you were wanting a quick and dirty greasy-spoon on your birthday of all days the you should look for the word “Café” on the sign.

The front of house staff were all very lovely, the price wasn’t too bad worked out at £7ish each we didn’t get charged for additions and substitutions to our meals. As we were finishing the immaculately attired chefs came out and had their end of shift lunch. Some pretty gorgeous-looking pasta in a fragrant tomato sauce was going down, didn’t see that on the menu. Amo if you’ve read this far then you should really consider doing some early evenings at the weekend, maybe simple honest Italian food & let people bring their own wine/charge £1 corkage or something. I’d go. And so would the Frys.

Amo also have a 2 bedroom flat to rent above their gaff. I forgot to ask how much it was but it’s in a nice bit of the city on a really easy and frequent bus-route to the centre of Liverpool but pretty dire parking round there. Give them a call on 0151 282 2222.

Their FB page is here – https://www.facebook.com/amocoffeehouse/timeline

 

 

 

 

‘What you reading for?…’

The Reader  is an organisation which encourages people to read by providing opportunities to access books and places to have social intercourse. A lot of what they do involves working with people suffering from Dementia and other mental health issues, offenders, children and other communities with low literacy levels or where raising social capital levels can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing.

They also run a cafe which has an all day English Breakfast on the menu. So armed with the youngest of the Fry household (it’s half-term, the cafe is in the middle of quite a lovely park with a superb playground) we fed the ducks, watched Fry Jnr do the big slide several dozen times, had a nice long walk through the gardens and broke for refreshments at the Reader Cafe, Calderstones Park, Liverpool.

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Doesn’t look like much from the outside but it’s attached to a listed mansion-house so I guess there are restrictions. There are tables outside but it was brass monkeys weather so we headed in.

It was fairly busy inside, very dog and child-friendly so there were lots of pooches and tiny people about. The staff got through the queue really quickly and we didn’t wait too long for our food, (which sometimes isn’t the  best sign of a promising fryup). Fry Jnr got straight into the whole reading experience and swiped an alphabet sticker book and a copy of George Orwell’s Animal farm off the bookshelves for me to read to her. A page and a half later her refreshments appeared.

Fry Jnr went for a chocolate orange cupcake and she seemed to be quite happy with the whole experience.

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My meal then appeared out of the kitchen, got served to the wrong person, but eventually found its way to our table.

I am finding it difficult to express how disappointed I was through the medium of words so here is a picture.

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£5.50 with a quite nice mug of tea.

The egg was cooked perfectly, then drowned with overly-saucy beans. The toast was pale and tiny. The sausages were good quality but had been fried and then kept warm. One end of both of them were hard and nasty. The bacon was really tasty but again kept warm and the fat had not crisped up. I can honestly say I was hungrier after this ‘fryup’ than I was when I walked in.

If this had been cooked and presented better, had half a fried tomato and a few mushrooms and thicker or bigger bread then it would have been a really nice English Breakfast and very good value.

The Reader Organisation, Dr Fry would like to volunteer for you. Just for a few hours on a quiet day, to allow me to provide examples to your lovely back of house catering people what could be done with your existing (and a couple of extra) ingredients as well as having a look at your processes with a view to improving overall quality and sales whilst retaining or improving your margin. 

Don’t let a poor fryup influence your opinion of the brilliant work this organisation does. I am surprised and delighted that innovative work like this is still commissioned given the bleak background of public funding which is currently available. You do fantastic work in sometimes ignored communities, but your fryups are awful.

I will leave it to the late great Bill Hicks to have a final word on why we should all read more (he’s a bit sweary sometimes)

Shardenfreude

Ross Taylor, self-made playboy billionaire tucked into this £38 breakfast at that London’s iconic Shard building this morning.

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Earlier, I had some correspondence with Ross, he told me “it tasted amazing, a bloody damn sight better than the crap bacon butty I got in the helicopter on my way back to the castle”

You’ve got to give the caterers some credit for keeping this feast below the £40 mark and give them a spank for the stray bit of flat leaf parsley placed upside-down.