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!

 

 

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Don’t Fry For Me Argentina

…or indeed any other international/domestic airport. When flying, it is not uncommon to find yourself trapped airside at an airport, bored and hungry, only to be tempted into treating yourself to a fryup. An ongoing study by Dr Fry has revealed that the fried food provided to captive audiences in airports is almost always substandard and more than often quite poor value. We looked briefly at fryups offered on aeroplanes in a previous post however the main focus of this study is what is being offered on the ground.

If you have a weak constitution or are planning to dine soon you may want to skip this article which contains some shocking images…

NB none of this selection included a beverage in the price, prices for foreign fryups are as reported at the time of the fry and quoted at the correct exchange-rate in force then.

Beijing – £10.00. This desperate interpretation of a fryup beggars belief.

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Birmingham – £8.95. Horrible lake of beans being poorly contained by ingredients warmed up on a griddle. Very poor form.

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Bristol – £11.00. Not too badly cooked (except for the raw tomato) and presented reasonably well, an awful lot of watery beans.

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Capetown – £3.00. All things considered not bad value and a reasonable bash at a fryup but still rather an unappetising start to a trip.

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Dublin – £9.00. Shoddy and expensive, no luck of the Irish here.

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Edinburgh – £9.60. A stab at a Full Scottish but very poorly executed. the Haggis looks vile.

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Gatwick South Terminal – £9.95 PLUS £2.35 for toast. This is truly lamentable, not even the lurid green light this was served under can mask the baked bacon and terrible value.

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Glasgow – £8.50. They took the Low Road. Not very appetising.

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Heathrow – £9.95. From the same stable as the previous Glasgow abomination but more expensive.

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Johannesburg – £1.37. Unbelievably low-priced, unbelievably horrible.

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Keflavic (Iceland) £11.36. Bork from the land of Björk.

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Knock – £8.00. A bit petite and a bit rubbish really.

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Leeds/Bradford – £11.50. Outrageous price for inedible tat.

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London City – £14.95. This is really quite offensive, even the square ramekin looks ashamed to be sharing a plate with barely cooked flotsam.

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Luton – £7.95. Not even slightly substantial but comparatively less expensive.

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Manchester – £8.95. A greaseless desolate nightmare.

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Melbourne – £12.00. the eggs don’t look to bad but I can’t help but wonder about the provenance of the sausage-shaped thing.

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Stanstead £12.95. throwing chives at a fryup does not enhance it one bit, even a  first-year student Veterinary Surgeon could make that bacon oink again.

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This not very scientific ongoing study has revealed that you should expect to pay about £4-£5 more per fryup in an airport compared to a cafe, that the majority of the components are not cooked from fresh and more often than not are poorly presented/made with low-quality ingredients. You should also factor in the much higher cost of beverages and the nonsense prices you will be expected to pay for additional items such as toast or condiments.

It is clear that travellers are being taken advantage of by the airport catering industry and until standards and value are dramatically improved, Dr Fry recommends that you either have a nice big fryup before you leave home or try to find a reputable establishment en-route.

If you would like to contribute your airport fryups to this study then please fee free to post them up (with a price please) on the Facebook page for Doctor Fry.

Please also take a few moments to have a look at this delightfully scathing review of a fryup on a plane from industry expert and mystery-shopper extraordinaire, The Fry Up Inspector. 

Thanks goes to the Fry Up Police for access to their picture archives for the above images as well as heartfelt gratitude and sympathy to all the fryup enthusiasts who contributed to this study.

The Mighty Venn II

Dr S.Mugford, produced and maintains the Mighty Venn diagram for the Fry Up Police. It is the definitive guide to what should or should not be included in a fryup and accurately reflects the wonderful regional diversity of the Great British Fryup.

I was delighted to see that is has been updated recently making it more attractive and user-friendly, I believe this may be a prelude to it being produced on a commercial basis in some form or another. Excellent work Dr Mugford!

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Edit: It has been tweaked again by FUP Chief Bobby Lurky Avislav, looking eggcellent!

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Box Clever

Most fryup enthusiasts will at some point have had a takeaway fryup in a box from a cafe or even been tempted to try the aeronautical equivalent i.e. a boxed fryup on a plane. The expectation of having  a self-contained portable greasy feast is almost never met though. Factors such as cheap ingredients, poor placement of items and bad cooking are often the culprits and the inevitable disappointing soggy mess is a huge let-down to fans of a good fryup.

To try to understand the whole culture of boxed fryups better,  we undertook a raft of important research which included seeing just how hard it is to successfully execute a decent fryup in a polystyrene container. First though it was necessary to find a baseline, which led us to look at some truly dreadful examples of culinary slop.

If you have a weak constitution or have previously been traumatised by a boxed fryup then please continue to the next article.

This is a fairly representative cross-section of what to expect –

Unbelievably this one was recently offered as an incentive/reward to NHS staff working over Christmas and New Year in an East-Anglian hospital…

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Whilst these abominations have all been served to jet aeroplane passengers….

 

So exactly how hard is it to improve on these appalling examples?

Not very as it turns out. By using decent quality ingredients, cooking them properly, placing them in the box in sensible proportions with some consideration as to product cross-contamination we came up with this delicious and attractive boxed fryup, the toast and fried bread would obviously need to be packaged in a paper bag within the lid for effective transport however this looked so good it was smashed straight away by our research and development team.

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Cafes, hospital trusts and airline caterers please take note, you are failing your customers, it’s not that difficult to do, it just takes a little bit of care and attention.

Images except the final one are courtesy of Fry Up Police constables and Chris Wilko on Instagram to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude for their sacrifices in helping with this important and valuable research.

Steve Heyes

We recently wrote about the magnificent thing that is a meat brick and the Fry household is no stranger to stuffed meats however Steve Heyes takes this concept to a whole new level, gloriously defeats the big boss at the end and unlocks the bonus game.

“A breakfast fatty. Sausage meat filled with black pudding, egg and cheese then wrapped in a bacon weave then smoked in the pit.”

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“An armadillo egg. Jalapeño chilli stuffed with cheese wrapped in Texas hot link sausage, wrapped in bacon and then into the pit.”steve heyes 2

You can catch more of Steve’s incredible work over at the FB group of the notoriously polite Fry Up Criminals

When are we going to see a full fryup Steve?

 

You’re Bacon Me Crazy

You might remember Dr Fry’s recent article on food labelling and changes in the way added water must be declared on bacon packs, which got Dr Fry’s team of dedicated and highly attractive Quantum Fryup Theorists wondering just how much of your lovely bacon is left to eat after it has been cooked, are cheap brands actually good value, are expensive brands worth the extra investment?

This gave Dr Fry the ideal excuse to go bacon shopping and do some important and essential research on your behalf.

This little study is not exhaustive, nor is it all that scientific but all the products have been cooked in very similar conditions, weighed accurately before and after shrinkage and judged on taste, texture and appearance by Dr Fry himself (it’s a hard job 😁).

There will be further tests scheduled in to sample a broader range of bacons and cross-check significant anomalies. A couple of rashers of each product had their rind lightly snipped (to aid even cooking), were weighed, fried for four minutes each side in identical pans on a consistent medium heat, rested briefly, weighed again and then smashed. (Where rashers were pathetically small, three rashers were used)

We are kicking off with six brands, four of which have been cured with injected brine and two dry-cured, all available off local supermarket shelves. These are presented in price per kg order.

Farm Foods Smoked Back Bacon 200g

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This was the cheapest Dr Fry could find at £5 per kilo and arrived in the laboratory frozen, so it was thawed to room temperature. It didn’t actually look too gruesome but the rashers were tiny so we had to use three to keep the sample sizes reasonably consistent. It brined up heavily in the pan and shrank rapidly. It had a tough cardboardy texture and tasted overpoweringly salty. 53% of the original weight had been lost during cooking. Our low expectations were more than met.

Aldi Freshcure Smoked Back Bacon (twin pack) 500g

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This bacon is fairly representative of biggest selling middle of the road bacons available everywhere, for £5.50 a kilo it looked ok and didn’t seem to brine up or shrink as much as the Farm Foods.

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It tasted below average with a tough chewy texture and again a very strong salty taste. The big surprise is that we lost a whopping 58% of the original weight which was the highest in this sample of six.

Asda Value Smoked Bacon 312g

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Horrible packaging, horrible looking bacon, £5.60 a kilo we weren’t looking forward to this. We were wrong, it didn’t produce as much white snot as the first two, looked far nicer cooked than raw and tasted a lot better than the first two sampled. It also only lost 52% of the original weight.

Aldi Sweetcure 200g

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This is the first of the premium (or premium-looking) bacons although it has been cured with added brine like the first three it was attractively packaged and at £7.95 a kilo it should be. Looked good raw, looked nice in the pan, tasted really rather nice and had a good texture. We lost 48% of the original weight, which is heading in the right direction.

Simon Howie’s Dry-Cured 220g

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Dr Fry was really looking forward to this one, it stated on the pack that it used 102% pig and at £12.73 a kilo we were sure that we were in for a treat. We were wrong, inside the expensive looking packaging were eight insipid, pale, thin medallions! Where was the rest of our lovely bacon!

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It didn’t state the cut on the pack so we will check to make sure this wasn’t a Friday afternoon special however we weren’t happy. It went from bad to worse, the medallions shrank and cooked rapidly (we had to use three) and lost a whopping 46% of uncooked weight which was really unexpected since there was no added water in this product. Thankfully they tasted delightful if slightly chewy in texture but on the whole we weren’t very satisfied.

Edwards of Conwy Dry Cure 200g

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After the upset of the last premium dry-cured bacon tested we were hoping this one would save the day, and it did.

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The most expensive at £15 a kilo this looked superb raw, like proper bacon, a nice balance of lean and fat and did all the right things on the pan. By far the heaviest and thickest of the rashers it lost only 35% of uncooked weight and tasted amazing with a great texture and colour.

Here’s a little table with all the info. Was Edwards more than three times as good as Farm Foods? You bet.

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We look forward to testing more bacons to see how they compare but as it stands, take a flipping bow Edwards, this is a top quality product.

If Music be the Food of Love

Dr Fry always plays loud rock music when he is frying. It seems that music may actually have a bearing on the quality of the ingredients so for your delectation here’s some information –

Chickens in Cornwall lay huge eggs listening to Lemmy

http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/update/2015-05-25/heavy-metal-hens-lay-super-sized-eggs/

Mad Suffolk pig farmer plays harmonica and his radio loud on his tractor for happier pork

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-18471117

Really mad woman plays jazz and sitar music to her flowers

http://www.dovesong.com/positive_music/plant_experiments.asp

Somewhat authoritative source discredits Cliff Richard and promotes Black Sabbath for healthy plant growth

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/want-bigger-blooms-blast-your-plants-with-black-sabbath-and-avoid-playing-cliff-richard-8579013.html

Guardian article on how music pitch can influence tastebuds

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/mar/11/sound-affects-taste-food-sweet-bitter

Dr Fry recommends Alice Cooper, The Residents and Inner City Unit for the perfect fryup

More Fryup Science

It can be a serious business making a good fryup, to help you Doctor Fry and a team of highly qualified and damned attractive Quantum Fryup Theorists have developed the Periodic Table of Fryup Elements as a guide to various ingredients and components that are candidates for a bloody good fry.

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