Toad in the what? I don’t know, but just stay with me, okay? I promise this dish is so moreish and comforting, you won’t want to eat anything else until March.
So, for those who don’t know this dish, it’s basically sausages in a giant yorkshire pudding. Doesn’t that sound fantastic? It’s really easy to make and so great during winter. Plus, if you master this one, you’re bascially already an expert on how to make yorkshire puddings, so really it’s two recipes for the price of one!
For some reason I always thought that there must be some kind of wizardry going on when making yorkshire puddings. I fell in love with them the moment I set foot in Britain, but couldn’t for the life of me figure out how they make them. Why do they rise so much? What do you mean pour the batter in hot oil? That’s not gonna make any difference… is it? Turns out, it really does make a difference! I have since been told that the yorkshire pudding batter rises so much because of the egg, although my knowledge doesn’t go beyond that. Sausage-wise, it’s easiest to keep it traditional – this is a British dish after all! Use nice plump bangers that’ll stay moist throughout the cooking process, unless you happen to be vegetarian of course! In that case opt for this tip: I’ve never been a big fan of overpriced quorn style veggie sausages – they cost a fortune and more often than not the taste is quite disappointing. So if you don’t mind getting your hands a bit dirty go get some sausage mix – you’ll usually find it in the aisle next to dried stuffing mix. It’s dirt cheap, makes a load of sausages, and you can season and shape them any way you want! I’ve used them in Toad in the hole before, and boy are they tasty. But I am rambling. To get back to the topic: make sure your oil is seriously hot before adding the batter (use vegetable oil, as olive oil starts burning at high temperatures), try not to open the oven once the batter’s in and if your toad is collapsing when you take it out, stick it back in for another few minutes! The trick is to make it get nice and crispy, so that it won’t collapse under its own weight. If you’re having serious trouble with it, try making individual toads in a muffin tray – they are easier to heat up quickly and therefore less prone to disasters.
A note on making your own gravy: You really don’t know how easy it is until you make it yourself. I was a firm supporter of instant gravy, and I can still see the benefits of it, but when a dish really makes the gravy shine, it’s definitely worth making your own. There is virtually nothing that can go wrong and it’s just fun and so easy! Besides, nothing can beat that ‘I just made my own gravy’ feeling.
For the Toad in the Hole:
1 large or 2 small eggs
Salt & pepper to taste
Vegetable or Sunflower oil
For the side:
200g Cauliflower florets, cut into bitesize chunks
Olive oil, salt & pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan (optional)
For the onion gravy:
Half an onion, sliced
Knob of butter
1 tbsp flour
Half a stock cube
Seasoning to taste
Heat oil in oven dish in a preheated oven on a high heat until very hot. Add sausages, reduce heat and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. Add batter and bake on a high heat for 20 minutes or until crispy.
Watch the video for instructions, and do get in touch if you have any questions, as silly as you think they might be!
And finally, have a look at these great links for inspiration and information.
Ever wondered how Toad in the hole got ist name? This is by far the best explanation I could find!
Almost entirely unrelated to this week’s recipe, I came across this charming website that explains all the British culinary eccentrities to the non-Brits among us. Mainly aimed at those living in the USA, it’s a great read if you want to have a laugh!
If you’ve made too much roasted cauliflower (and who can blame you – roasted cauliflower tastes delish!) here is a great recipe for a lovely casserole.
Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.