I’m Pernell, and I respect the hell out of Florence Pugh. She’s an incredible actor, I admire her personality, and she virtually invited us into her kitchen via her Instagram Live earlier in the pandemic to show us how she prepares some of her favorite meals (toast included)! There’s a lot of relatable parts to her — I mean, look at this completely candid selfie I took which looks just like her’s. I certainly did not curate my outfit!
Florence is also in the upcoming movie, Don’t Worry Darling, premiering later this month. Unfortunately, there’s been plenty of drama, speculation, and confusion over exactly what accent her costar Harry Styles has in the film. It’s all overshadowed the fact that the film has a literal Emmy-nominated actor in its cast: Florence. Oh, and she’s (rightfully) tired of talking about that sex scene.
So, I want to talk more about her cooking. Specifically, her favorite way of prepping a Half English Breakfast, which she learned from her father. I’m always looking for easy meals that require little energy, and this one fit that box.
I learned of Florence’s perfect English Breakfast through her Harper’s Bazaar interview, where she revealed everything she eats in a day for their Food Diaries series. She must start her mornings with tea (she’s so British, I’m obsessed), then for “brekky,” she usually opts for two medium-boiled eggs and an Americano, or just a protein bar if she’s on the run. “If I’m not working,” she continued, “then I’ll have the lot. I’ll usually do what my dad does and do a Half English [breakfast].” That’s when I took out my pen and paper, jotted down her step-by-step instructions from the interview, and decided to recreate her recipe in my own kitchen.
A traditional English Breakfast consists of beans, sausages, tomatoes, and two fried eggs. It’s a hearty breakfast that honestly sounds more American than it does British because of its proportions. We’re not doing all that. We’re going for a Half English Breakfast: Eggs, toast, and tomatoes.
Here’s all you need: Two eggs, cherry tomatoes on the vine (I used Campari tomatoes), sourdough bread, olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, salt, pepper, plastic wrap, and some self-respect (optional).
STEP #1: Start with your sourdough bread. This is Florence’s favorite — I learned so from her Marmite toast recipe. She didn’t specify how to go from bread to toast, but I’m going to assume you’re going to have to, like, put it in the toaster. I don’t own a toaster, so I put it in my air fryer.
STEP #2: While that’s toasting, crack two eggs in a pre-heated frying pan over medium heat. “Put the lid on,” Florence specified, “so it’s crispy underneath and cooks on top.” Using a lid allows the eggs to cook evenly without the need to flip them — just don’t leave your eggs too long on the pan like I did my first go. You want them to be running with yolk, not all caked up, so remove them from the heat once the whites are set but the yolks are still jiggly.
If you need a reference, here’s how my eggs looked. I cooked them a little too long on my first go, so the yolk was firm. The backside, however, was perfectly crisp. Look at that tasty little bottom! Keeping the lid on was such a simple way to get an ideal sunny-side-up egg — I’ll continue doing this in the future. Plate your eggs and toast when they’re done, and set aside.
Let’s move onto the tomatoes. Florence usually uses cherry tomatoes, and she likes them on the vine. Unfortunately, my grocery store only had grape tomatoes…ugh. I think this is the case with many stores in the States. I wanted tomatoes on the vine, so I went with the Campari kind — they’re slightly bigger than a cherry tomato, and smaller than a plum tomato.
STEP #3: Per Florence’s instructions, put your tomatoes in a bowl, then drizzle them with some olive oil and a “little bit of balsam.” I’m assuming she meant balsamic vinaigrette. I just did a glug of olive oil and then a tiny squirt of balsamic — don’t forget to shake, then squirt!
STEP #4: Next, you’re going to season the tomatoes with salt and pepper to your liking. These are going to go in the microwave, so put some cling film over it. This will help the tomatoes cook, and prevent a mess in your microwave.
STEP #5: Toss that bowl of sassy tomatoes in the microwave for two minutes. If you’re multi-tasking, this is a good time to check on your eggs and toast if you haven’t already.
STEP #6: As soon as they’re done, “take it out — they’ll be nice and cooked. Smush it up a bit” with a fork.
STEP #7: Finally, dribble the cooked tomatoes around the eggs and toast. Then bam! You’re done. You’ve now cooked a beautiful looking Half English Breakfast. And as Florence Pugh puts it, “That’s my dad’s special.” Okay papa Pugh!
I couldn’t wait to dig into my Florence-approved Half English Breakfast. But first, I had to do the yolk test to see if I achieved my ideal golden gooeyness: I did.
The eggs were a beautiful runny yellow, and they were indeed crispy underneath. The toast was great and a nice base, though the tomatoes…the tomatoes were everything. They were such a beautiful touch to the plate — I’ve always wondered how they make these fancy-looking tomatoes — and they tasted divine. The acidity of the balsamic paired incredibly with the aromatic, bitter olive oil. Both blended beautifully with the sweetness of the tomato. My presentation wasn’t restaurant quality, but for how convenient this was, I was very pleased.
I also wanted to try it as an open-faced breakfast sandwich. And while I got pretty messy (don’t tell my daddy), all the elements of the Half English Breakfast — the sourdough toast, the fancy tomatoes, the over-easy eggs — tasted so great together. Biting into the sandwich and experiencing that light crunch of the toast really propped up this breakfast staple. England went off with this one. And Florence Pugh really knows how to eat! She’s also a great explainer because I’m usually the opposite of confident in the kitchen.
And that’s the perfect Half English Breakfast, according to Florence Pugh! It’s truly easy to make and so delicious. It was the perfect amount of food for me, too — I felt full and satisfied, though not so stuffed that I had to take a nap (I did anyway). If it wasn’t obvious, the tomatoes were my favorite part of the plate. In fact, I poured even more of the tomato-oil-balsamic juice on there. Live your life!
All in all, the Florence Pugh Half English Breakfast took me less than ten minutes to make. And you could likely make it even quicker if you operate more efficiently than I do. I tried to do it all at once, and overcooked the eggs in my first go. However you do it, I’m confident you’ll enjoy it just as much as Florence and I do. I can’t wait for you to try it.
STEP #1: First boil your water — do NOT heat it in the microwave. I heard a rumor that a Brit passes out every time an American does this. I also heard that if you shaved off all of Regina George’s hair, she’ll look like a British man.
STEP #2: Pour the boiling water into a mug with a tea bag, leaving an inch for milk. Use any black tea — I went with an English Breakfast tea, though the kind Florence swears by is Yorkshire. They didn’t have it at my local grocery stores — ugh, Americans. Let the tea bag steep and brew for a bit, or give it a stir if you’re impatient.
STEP #3: Add oat milk until you get a good color. Like a golden light brown. You can either leave the tea bag in or take it out before adding the milk — Florence likes to keep hers in and stir the tea bag with the spoon to control the brew strength and color. Once the color is where you want it, spoon the tea bag out and squeeze the excess out of the bag.
The end result: A Florence-approved cup of tea that’s “a little soupier.” And honestly, there was a noticeable difference — I liked it! I felt like I switched places with Queen Lizzie as I sipped. It was pleasant, smooth, and energizing, while being lighter than coffee. Y’know, I can see why Britain was so mad when we dumped all their tea. But hey, we gave them Marvel!
What do you think of Florence Pugh’s breakfast routine? If you tried the Half English Breakfast or her perfect cup of tea, what’d you think? And what other recipes from her would you like to see me try? Let me know in the comments!