Day 6 – Toad in the Hole
It’s a straightforward enough recipe, Toad in the Hole. Simply put, it’s tasty sausages (the tastier the better) plunged into a dish of Yorkshire Pudding batter and cooked in a blazing hot oven. It creates a crispy coating around a soft and richly perfumed batter that then encases a perfectly cooked snag. It’s the original dude food.
But it’s not pretty to look at, an indisputable fact made mention of by the name. The nomenclature doesn’t refer to puppies or baby animals or sleeping children or doe-eyes or rainbows or unicorns, Oh No. It references one of the ugliest animals in creation. It could be called warthog in the hole, that might have been worse, but let’s face it, no-one would eat that.
In fairness, although it’s ugly to look at, it hasn’t stopped anyone from eating it, usually because it smells so divine when it’s freshly cooked and it tastes even better. Indeed, it’s a firm family favourite in any house that has a culinary nod to Britain going on.
But oh my goodness it is a photographic nightmare.
The batter contracts from it’s newly birthed fluffy state faster than you can count backwards from ten, receding dramatically and leaving sausages, less than perfect, oddly skewed on an angle, sitting, well, er, proud.
My daughter spied it first and giggled inappropriately, then my flatmate weighed in with her frank assessment and then I mentioned my photography woes on Facebook and the whole thing descended quickly into one great hilarious joke spawned by people who clearly all have a one track mind.
So I make profuse apologies for my inability to photograph this particular food. I can’t take a decent photo to save my life, or so it seems, to protect me from the more than 5000 hits on the Facebook page that followed.
But I can guarantee that it’s bloody sensational eating. Just mask the whole thing in gravy and divert the conversation back to rainbows and unicorns.
1 cup self-raising flour; 2 eggs; 1 cup milk; 1 cup water; salt and pepper to taste; ¼ cup vegetable oil; 6 sausages, or 12 small sausages (chipolatas)
Preheat oven to 220°C. Place a 12 cup muffin tray or a large 30cm x 30cm roasting dish in the oven to heat up.
In a small bowl, place self-raising flour and a pinch of salt and pepper, then add the eggs. Whisk together and add the combined milk and water gradually to make a smooth batter the consistency of pouring cream. Set aside for 20 minutes while the oven heats up.
Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and add a slug of oil. If you are using larger, longer sausages, twist them mid-snag to form twelve smaller sausages and cut them to fit. Cook the sausages for a few minutes on all sides so they brown but are not completely cooked through. Set aside.
Pull out the hot muffin pan or roasting dish from the oven and add a teaspoon or two of oil to each cup. If you are using a roasting dish pour all the oil in. Return the dish to the oven and heat the oil up until it is smoking hot (and by that I really do mean smoking – you should be able to see smoke rising from the surface of the oil after about ten minutes).
Remove the by now smoking hot muffin tray from the oven. Using a ladle or a small jug pour enough batter to come half way up the sides of each cup. Quickly plunge a sausage into the middle of the batter and return the pudding to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes until the puddings are fluffy, crispy and brown.
Serve at once with steamed vegetables, fluffy mash and lots of gravy to prevent coarse laughter.
$6.50 for four people