Toad in the hole is one of those inexplicably odd British phrases and no one really knows where the name comes from. A lot of people think that it comes from the idea that the sausages look like frogs peaking up through the batter…..I know, weird. But there is not really any evidence for this, and there is not a consensus on the correct origin. In the end, who really cares about the name when basically it gives us an excuse to combine Yorkshire puddings and meat in one dish. That’s all that toad in the hole is: Yorkshire pudding batter poured over golden sausages (or traditionally just cheap cuts of meat). It’s easy and quick enough for a weekday dinner, but also a nice idea for Sunday dinner since you don’t have to make individual Yorkshire puddings, which can be a bit of a faff.
Use whatever sausages you like in this dish – flavoursome types with lots of herbs or spices will give a lot of extra flavour, but whatever you have in the house will work. Apple is the perfect accompaniment to pork and the chunks of apple in the batter soften during cooking to give bursts of soft, sweet flavour. And, of course, we couldn’t have toad in the hole without a rich onion gravy to smother over the top.
Ingredients (serves 3-4) 1 egg 100g flour 300ml milk 8 sausages 1 apple, cut into wedges
1 tbsp olive oil Small knob of butter 1 large white onion, thinly sliced 1 tsp soft brown sugar 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar Small glass of red wine 1 tbsp corn flour 600ml beef stock
Method 1. To make the batter, mix the egg into the flour with a little of the milk until you have a thick paste. Slowly pour in the rest of the milk and whisk until smooth. Add a pinch of salt and leave aside for later – you can make this a couple of hours in advance and just cover with a dish towel.
A girl can’t live off cakes and bakes. This may be controversial, but, sadly, it’s true. This week I have a few savoury recipes for you, and today’s one is the perfect weekday meal during the colder months of the year: few ingredients, quick and comforting. It really is just a case of bashing some ingredients into the oven and letting them work their magic. You can also adapt the recipe according to what you have in your cupboards – use whatever variety of tinned beans and tomatoes you have, add a red onion or sprinkle over some chilli flakes.
Ingredients (serves 4) Olive oil 12 Cumberland sausages 2-3 tsp Dijon mustard 2 red peppers 1 tin cherry tomatoes 1 tin butter beans, drained 1-2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Method 1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6. 2. Add a glug of olive oil (about 1 tbps) to a roasting tray and heat in the oven for 5 minutes. 3. Use scissors to cut your sausages apart and add to the roasting tray, moving the sausages around in the hot oil. Cook for 20 minutes, shaking half way through. 4. Add the mustard to the sausages and cook for another 10 minutes. 5. Chop the peppers into chunky strips and add to the roasting tray. Cook for 10 minutes. 6. Finally pour in the tomatoes and beans and season with the oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for a further 10-20 minutes until hot and bubbling.
Serve with fresh bread and steamed vegetables, as we did, or with a side of mashed or baked potatoes. We guzzled the lot between 4 people, but if you want to make the sausages go further (say 2 per person) then I would add an extra tin of both tomatoes and beans, so that there is enough to go round.