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Breakfast Essentials – the must have foods

To celebrate Farmhouse Breakfast Week 2010 (24-30 January), organiser HGCA has produced your guide to Britain’s must have breakfast foods!29-10-2009

Porridge’s growth in popularity has changed the face of the British breakfast table. 

This low fat, oaty breakfast cereal which releases energy slowly, keeps you feeling fuller for longer. The high soluble fibre content of oats is also beneficial as diets low in fat and rich in soluble fibre have been shown to help reduce high blood cholesterol levels .  Oats also provide useful amounts of thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B6 plus calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc and small amounts of vitamin E and folic acid  – making porridge a super nutrient-dense food, full of natural goodness.

Long gone are the days where you had to stand over a hot stove stirring a pot of porridge.  Most rolled porridge oats are pre-steamed which means that they can be cooked in minutes on the hob or in the microwave.

Oats are incredibly versatile and can be purchased in a number of forms – pinhead, jumbo, rolled and oatmeal!

Nothing beats the tempting smell of hot toast.  It’s synonymous with breakfast and nearly one in six people say it’s their favourite breakfast smell . 

Toast originated as a method of preserving bread  yet its convenience is what we love.  One piece of toast is all you need and you’ll have the starting point for any breakfast –dress it up as savoury toasted cheese & ham toastie or sweet cinnamon toast. For a change why not have a simple buttered crumpet?
Bread is an important source of energy and other nutrients.  For the health conscious, wholemeal toast is best – it is a good source of dietary fibre, protein, B vitamins and one slice makes up one of your recommended three daily servings of wholegrain.
Wholegrain cereals
Breakfast cereals account for over half (53.6%) of breakfasts eaten at home .

The choice is astounding, so look out for the many wholegrain cereals made from wheat, oats and barley.  Several studies have shown that those who eat lots of wholegrains such as wholegrain cereals or bread reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 30%.
Breakfast can be a rushed affair for many - 40% of people spend less than 10 minutes preparing and eating their breakfast during the week , so wholegrain cereals provide the perfect solution.  A bowl of wholegrain cereal served with semi-skimmed milk only takes minutes to eat.
More than a third of all eggs produced are consumed at breakfast and the most popular way to enjoy them is boiled, followed by scrambled . Despite this, research shows that many young adults have lost touch with cooking and 49% 18-24 year olds can’t even boil an egg .
It takes three minutes to soft boil an egg, three to four for a runny poached egg and even less when frying.  Nothing beats eggs for versatility - bake in the oven on top of tomatoes, whisk up for a speedy omelette, go to town with eggs Benedict, toss up some pancakes or have fun with eggy bread soldiers .
Eggs contain vitamins A, D, E, and B group as well as minerals, including iron, phosphorus and zinc. They are relatively low in saturated fat, making them a healthy fast food for all the family and they are low in calories with only 201KJ/78kcals per medium egg.
Nothing beats waking up to the delicious smell of bacon, so it’s not surprising that 58% of all bacon sold is for consumption at breakfast.

An essential part of a full cooked breakfast (still popular with 1.16 billion eaten in the home each year ), bacon really does make a meal of breakfast because its flavour goes a long way.

Britain has a strong heritage in curing bacon with many independent butchers using their own speciality curing recipes. There are three main cuts – streaky (from the belly), back (from the loin in the middle of the back) and middle (from the middle of the back, though this cut is often a little fattier than back bacon but less fatty than streaky).

Dry curing is the traditional way in which the pork is preserved and this usually involves rubbing salt into the meat by hand and then leaving the bacon to mature.  The bacon is known as ‘green’, pale or unsmoked and has a classic flavour.  Sometimes sugar, honey or maple syrup is added to the cure to give a subtle sweetness. For a stronger tasting bacon, look out for smoked bacon, made by hanging pork joints over beds of smoking wood chips.

Milk is the building block of breakfast.  Over 10 billion pints of milk are sold each year in Great Britain and in an average lifetime a Briton will drink almost 11,000 pints of milk.

One serving of milk with cereal can provide half of your recommended daily allowance of calcium, essential for keeping bones and teeth strong and healthy .  Not keen on fresh fruit? Then disguise in a cool, milky smoothie shake which can be whizzed up in hurry.

Plus the choice of milk is now so great, that there’s something for everyone – whole milk (recommended for children aged 2 and under), semi-skimmed (half the fat of whole milk) and skimmed (no fat).

Sausages hold a special place in the hearts of Britons and in any one year, we eat approximately 175,000 tonnes of sausages, worth £487 million .  There are thought to be over 470 different recipes and in more recent years, there has been a revival of premium and speciality ‘butcher style’ sausages.  Some of the favourite traditional recipes, often named after the area where they originated, are:

Cumberland – pork sausage seasoned with herbs and spices, sometimes sold in a spiral shape

Lincolnshire – a herb pork sausage seasoned with sage

Pork & Apple – originally from the West Country, flavoured with cider/scrumpy and sage

Yorkshire – a pork sausage flavoured with pork, pepper, mace, nutmeg and cayenne

There is usually a tastiest sausage competition held to coincide with Farmhouse Breakfast Week.  So, whether your favourite is the Pork and Apple or a sagey Lincolnshire – the experts are agreed on one thing – do not prick the sausage when cooking as you’ll lose all the lovely juices!

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