A fry-up for breakfast is a real treat, but not always the healthiest option for your family given all the oil involved, which is why one mum has wowed fans of the full English by finding a new way to make it – in a slow cooker.
Sonia Cheetham, 36, from Norfolk, had used her slow cooker to make other breakfast foods before, including overnight porridge. Then one weekend, she decided to try a full English for herself and her two daughters and, as she told HuffPost UK, “it was an experiment that worked”.
When Cheetham wrote about her hack on Facebook in a dedicated group for people who use slow cookers – yes, it exists – the post went viral. It has since been shared thousands of times and she’s had plenty of feedback both online and from other parents at her children’s schools.
Her trick is to put the beans, tomatoes and mushrooms (and a small amount of butter) in separate cups inside the slow cooker, surrounding them with sausages and rolled up pieces of bacon which she stands on end.
The meal takes between eight and nine hours in the slow cooker, so Cheetham can load it up before going to bed, leave it on overnight, and all she has to do in the morning is stick some toast on while she puts the rest of the food on the family’s plates.
And it tastes healthier, too. “Firstly you’re not cooking in any oil, and I did notice in the morning that because the sausages and bacon are stood up there is a lot of fat left in the slow cooker that has drained out of them,” Cheetham said.
“It’s kind of like a stand up George Foreman,” she added.
Cheetham has type 1 diabetes, and says she tries to help control her condition as much as possible by eating healthily.
“I know [a full English] isn’t the healthiest thing I can eat but it’s better than a fry-up and I still want to enjoy life,” she said.
Her girls love the breakfast, making it a great weekend treat for them, but due to the ease of cooking, Cheetham will sometimes serve it during the week, too.
“Now that the weather is colder it’s nice for them to go to school with something warm in their bellies,” she added.
Lots of people have got in touch with Cheetham to say they didn’t realise they could make different types of meals in a slow cooker. “I’m no master chef but obviously you can cook more than a stew in a slow cooker,” she said.
Others have been inspired her to try out the method for themselves: “Some parents of my children’s friends have said I’ve convinced them to go out and get a slow cooker now,” she added.
So, what will she try making next? “My scrambled eggs always turned out really well, so I’m thinking maybe a breakfast omelette,” Cheetham said. Well, it makes a change from scrambling in a microwave. Long live slow food, we say.