Keep NYE simple with a simple Toad-in-the-hole
PREP TIME: 5 mins
COOKING TIME: 30 mins
IDEAL FOR: midweek meal, crowd-pleaser
2021. Here we come!!
Sayonara 2020 and all your Covid-chaos!
At least we can say, we may be back to normal at some point in early 2021.
What an insane, unreal year 2020 has been.
We personally haven’t suffered from the virus or anyone close to us so we can’t complain and we do feel fortunate.
And we have some good memories of lockdown when the sun was shining.
We could get outside, crack on with some major DIY projects*
(*To the great disappoint of the boys).
But it wasn’t all bad.
After painting or gardening, we’d always finish at 4 pm.
Crack open cold beers, sit by the wood oven as supper was cooking.
And have some good chats together.
Of course, we had our ups and downs like anyone.
But overall, we managed and even had some giggles along the way.
Time to say goodbye to it all and just keep it as a memory.
Which is why for New Year’s Eve I’m going super simple for supper.
It’s a small affair anyway with the restrictions.
So, we just want to kick back, crack open some wine and not have to cook all day.
And who doesn’t love the classic Toad-in-the-hole?
But how did it get that odd name?
Back in the 18th century, toad-in-the-hole was a dish for the poor.
Meat was expensive so this was an easy way to stretch out a meal.
You could use cheaper ingredients and bulk out the meal with what is effectively a giant Yorkshire pudding.
The Yorkshire pud had been invented earlier that century.
It was a popular, cheap way of feeding the family.
But before the mighty sausage came into it, things like pigeon and kidneys were used.
Mrs Beeton, famous for writing the Book of Household Management, in 1861, had several recipes for Toad-in the-hole with beef, kidneys and mutton.
… but never toad.
Apparently, the toad reference is because it looks like toads lying in their burrows waiting for prey to pass by.
Not the nicest reference to a delicious and quick meal.
But hey, these Brits are a little eccentric from time-to-time.
Of course, there are other versions to the name.
Not a lot nicer.
But it includes a golfer putting his ball into a hole.
And, you guessed it, a toad threw it out of the hole he was chilling out in.
So, the hotel chef heard this story.
And created a dish to capture the idea of a toad in a golf hole as a little bit of tongue and cheek.
Either story seems a slightly unusual way of naming a nice dish.
But it hasn’t deterred any of us for loving its simplicity.
And its tastiness.
Quick tips for a tasty toad-on-the-hole
As we all know, it’s not a tricky dish but here are a few little tips.
- Brown your sausages before you pour the batter in
- Take your time mixing the batter – you don’t want lumps
- Whisk the eggs
- Add the flour in slowly so you can combine really well and create a smooth paste
- Slowly add the milk
- Make sure you’ve heated the oil in the pan before pouring the batter in (but if you do Tip.1 that’s already sorted)
- Don’t open the oven until golden… at least 25mins
- sunflower oil
- 8 (good quality) sausages
- 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 large red onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 knobs of unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 level tablespoon vegetable stock powder or 1 organic vegetable stock cube
- 285 ml milk
- 115 g plain flour
- 3 large free-range eggs
- pinch of salt (optional)
- In a bowl add the eggs and whisk. Then slowly add the flour whisking it in to make a smooth paste. Then slowly add in the milk (and a pinch of salt).Set the batter to the side.
- In a tin tray, add 2 tbsps of sunflower oil (or cover the tin by approx 1cm) and place in the oven on your highest setting (my oven goes to 220ºC)Once the oil is hot, add the sausages (carefully) and brown until lightly golden – keep an eye on them so as to not overcook.Next, (and do this as speedily as you can so you don't lose heat), take the sausages out of the oven and (carefully) pour the batter over the sausages and throw in some sprigs of rosemary.Put back in the oven and don't open it for at least 20 minutes (*Yorkshire puddings can be a bit temperamental with rising). Remove from the oven when golden and crisp.
- Finely slice the onions and garlic, fry off in the butter on a medium heat for approx 5 mins, or until translucent. Add a little thyme or rosemary, if you have any and the balsamic vinegar and cook it down by half.Next, add a stock cube or powder and sprinkle this in and add a little water. Allow to simmer.Serve with mash, greens, etc