“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Saturday 11 February 2012

Toad in the hole....

I've just had a chuckle to myself about the title of today's post because I wonder how this might go down in translation to different parts of the world. I've never heard this particular dish called anything else but 'toad-in-the-hole but if you do then please enlighten me....
So for those of you that might never have come across 'toad-in-the-hole let me explain. Absolutely no toads have come anywhere near my kitchen to participate in the making of this dish (thankfully because I'd exit from the nearest door).
Well if toads aren't in the dish what is you might ask? Stay with me if you already know...
The 'toads' are in fact sausages which are cooked in the middle of a batter commonly known as Yorkshire puddings...oh here we go again...here are a few fact about  Yorkshire Puds if you would like to know a little more.
I've been hearing that there's an amazing amount of snow in the Northern Hemisphere and that got me thinking when the temperature dropped to a lowly 20 to 25'C that this dish would be perfect.
'Toad-in-the-hole' is a great warming dish that's always a favourite in our house.

This picture was taken just as I took them out of the oven. I don't usually make individual puds but I thought they would be great and (blowing my own Trumpet ~ as advised I should do when my cooking comes out well) they were soooooooooo good!
You might even be able to smell them if you come close enough to the screen.....ahhh.....
My OH and son weren't too happy at having a photo shot whilst they were salivating. But it was worth the wait.
There are little secrets to perform in order for the puds to rise this high...which because I know you, I'll let you in on.... : D
Look at the size of this baby!

 They came out of the 11cm mini spring form pan so easily too. 
Then keeping the hungry wolves at bay I managed to get this photo, much to the protests from the boys.
And there you have it .....'Toad-in-the-hole' with onion gravy and peas.

So simple but oh so satisfying ~ don't believe me just give it a go...
Its great with mashed potatoes too.

'Toad-in-the-hole' Recipe ~ Serves 4 

Canola Oil (or Sunflower)
6 to 8 large good quality sausages (remember the better the quality the superior end taste)
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 large red onions ~ peeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlic ~ peeled and finely sliced
2 knobs of butter 
6 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 level tablespoon of good-quality vegetable stock powder or 1 vegetable stock cube

Batter Ingredients:
285ml / ½ pint of milk
115g / 4oz plain flour
a pinch of salt
3 eggs

* Secret No.1 
As my Grandmother and MIL have always taught it is thought to be better to make the batter in advance and put to one side. I tend to follow their advice but when time is of the essence I have mixed the batter and used it straight away. I have to confess I didn't really notice the difference but I shall remain to take their advice time permitting of course.

Method for making Batter: 
1. Using a mixing bowl place in eggs and add the pinch of salt, flour and milk. 
2. Mix together until all the lumps disappear and mixture is a smooth batter. 
3. Put to one side ~ covered until you are ready to cook the puds.
4. Before you add the mixture give another quick mix to incorporate air to help make the puddings rise and be light and fluffy.

* Secret No. 2. The baking tin should be quite thin so that the oil will get to smoking hot. This is a very important part.

Method for making Puds
1.  Put 1cm (just under ½ inch of oil into a baking tin or individual tins.
2. Place the tin in the middle shelf of oven at its highest setting ~ 240-250° C/475° F / Gas 9.
3. Place a tray underneath to save any oil that may overflow. I hate to clean my oven so this is an important step for me.
4. When the oil is very hot carefully add the sausages. I've cooked them this way but also seperately on a rack ~ both work well so the choice of how you want to cook your sausages is entirely up to you.
5. Keep an eye on them and allow to colour until lightly golden.
6. Carefully take the tins out of the oven or as I sometimes do just gently pull the shelf out. Making sure that it is stable ~ don't pull out too far. This is the tricky bit. Hot Fat!!! so be very careful.
7. After remixing the batter mixture to freshen it up and allow as much air as possible in, pour carefully over the sausages. If you cooked your sausages seperately make sure you add then into the oil tray for a few minutes before pouring in the batter mix. As you pour in the batter mix it may well spit and bubble...stand back a little.
8. Add a couple of sprigs rosemary into the batter. The smell is unbelievable.
9. Place shelf back in the middle and close the door.
* Secret No. 3 AND MOST IMPORTANT ~ Leave in the oven for 20 minutes DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR!
This is easier if you have a glass oven door because you can see all the action. If you don't have a glass door, have faith and wait. Trust me its worth it.

Method for making Onion Gravy ~ this can be done in advance and freezes very well. 
1. Peel and slice onion. 
2. Gently fry in a pan with the butter and garlic until the onion is translucent. 
3. Add a little rosemary if you wish. 
4. Add balsamic vinegar and allow to cook down by half. 
5. Add a stock cube or powder. (yes I know)
6. Add a little water.
7. Allow to simmer. 
This is really such a great gravy and goes with numerous dishes. Hence I always have some in a container in the freezer. 

I originally started this recipe using Jamie Olivers recipe. God bless you Jamie.
If you try it I hope you enjoy it as much as we do in this house. :D
Toad in The Hole


  1. I'm not sure why the standing time for the batter either Neesie, but my late FIL always said to let it stand for 20 minutes before using the batter. He was an army cook for over 25 years so I trusted his advice! I am sure your family loved the Toad in the Hole. It's a real favourite around here as well!!! xxoo

  2. Hi Marie, well that's it then...confirmation from a professional. Standing time is a must. I can just imagine the army marching on this dish...it sure hits the spot for us.
    Have a wonderful weekend ~ hopefully not too chilly xoxo

  3. Hi Neesie, You learn something new every day ^_^ I've never heard of a toad in the hole. They look really delicious, might try that recipe one day. Thank you very much for sharing. Have a lovely day!


  4. Toad in the hole was one of the first dishes I made in home ec at school!

  5. Hi Eva, thanks for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment. I hope you do give it a go sometime because it is a great dish and so easy to do but really tasty. I'm sure you'll like it.
    Enjoy your weekend :D

  6. Happy memories Beth :) I think the first dish anyone makes always stays in the memory whether for good or bad reasons.
    My first adventure in the kitchen was to make a sponge cake and thankfully was a good experience. Maybe that's why I've always loved to bake and have a fondness to baking a sponge ;D

  7. Wonderful looking I've always wanted to know how to make but heard it was very hard. I'm going to make that gravy tomorrow.

  8. Trust me Carole, it isn't hard to make.
    I do hope you give it a go, then you'll probably be making it regularly. Its great for a mid-week dinner, lunch or supper.

    It really is easy with just the three main points to note:
    *Batter mixed a little in advance.
    *Oven at high setting and piping hot oil in tin or tins.
    *Don't be tempted to open that oven door ~ no matter what!
    You try not to get excited when you see how they rise...it gets me every time.

    I like to make large quantities of the gravy then placing portions in seperate containers for the freezer...to just produce when needed.
    I have to say I've only ever heard one vote against it ...that was my brother-in-law because he didn't like the smell...so if you don't like balsamic vinegar perhaps this gravy isn't for you but if you do....you're in for a delight.
    Let me know how you get on if you do make it ~ I'd love to hear :D


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