I love the Great British Menu. There’s plenty wrong with it – enforced friction between the chefs, pointless “out and about” sections, and we all know it should be 1 x 1 hour show a week but the chance to see the top tier of British chefs cooking their guts out is always fascinating. This year’s show has a Comic Relief theme.
One chef was new to my radar this year, Mary-Ellen McTague. A Fat Duck graduate, her influences were clear to see. I found her bath of beans particularly amusing, and am sad to see it won’t feature at the final banquet.
When Sainsbury’s asked me to come up with a Red Nose Day cookie, this playful starter was at the forefront of my mind. Picking up a recipe for “bacon and banana cookies” from her mentor’s book Heston Blumenthal at Home the idea of a play on a Full English was there.
Topped with sweets this is a silly biscuit – that’s the point – but the bacon element is genuinely interesting. Go for a sweet cure bacon and it’s not so jarring, but it’s really worth a go.
Full English breakfast cookies (makes about 20):
5 rashers smoked bacon
120g butter, diced
260g caster sugar
220g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 large eggs
Fried egg sweets and orange jelly beans, for decoration
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and lay the bacon on top. Bake for 10 minutes, then pat dry with kitchen paper. When cool cut into tiny pieces.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Sift in the flour, baking powder and soda with a pinch of salt until mix until a smooth dough is formed. Mix in 1 egg at a time, then stir in the bacon pieces.
- On a greased tray spoon out small blobs 10cm apart and bake for 8 – 10mins or until the the cookies are browned. As soon as they are out of the oven press a fried egg and a few jelly beans into the surface to melt in. Leave to firm up on the tray for a couple of minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.