Toad in the Hole
For overseas visitors, Toad-in-the Hole is one of those menu items whose name tends to diminish rather than enhance their appetites . It would be a shame if they couldn't be persuaded to sample one of Britain's, traditional , much loved dishes. There is often much relief and amusement when they find the "toads" are merely flavoursome sausages emerging from a "hole" within a crisp golden-brown, savoury batter pudding. Some say that the habit of enclosing meat in a batter or pastry casing dates back to Roman times - certainly Epicurius makes reference to food wrapped or enclosed in some way and it is said that the in C18th wrapped mutton in suet was known as Toad-in-the-Hole - not what you expect if you order it today. Throughout culinary history , thrifty cooks have used batter puddings to make a meal go further. ( In some parts of the country it is still not uncommon to have a batter pudding served before the main part of the meal.) Toad-in-the-Hole served with potatoes, mustard, gravy and a helping of green vegetables is still a cheerful and economical meal.
Preparation time 15 Min's
Cooking time 25-30 Min's
Pre-heat oven to 220C ( 210 if using fan -oven) (425F) ( Gas mark 7)
1lb(450g) good, local, pork sausages
( As so many varieties with different herbs added are now available - you can choose your favourite sausage. This could be done with beef sausage but it's then not as traditional . Vegetarian friends say quorn sausage will work but they fall apart sometimes ( the sausages that is rather than the friends ! ) and I have seen one recipe that advocated adding chunks of black pudding to the mix though personally I have my doubts about this.)
2 tblespoons Vegetable oil ( or dripping if you still use it)
6oz ( 175grms) Plain flour
Pinch of salt
1&1/4 pints (725ml) Milk
Mix the flour and salt in a mixing bowl - make a well shaped depression in the middle of the mixture with the back of a spoon ( or the end of the egg) and break the eggs into it. Add the milk slowly, stirring gently with a wooden spoon as you do and then beat the batter well, so that it doesn't go lumpy. It should end up smooth and like thin cream. Leave it be whilst you sort out the sausages:
Put half the oil in a frying pan and fry the sausages - turning occasionally until they are lightly cooked ( you don't want them overdone as they will cook more in the oven)
Put the other oil or dripping in a shallow oven proof dish or baking tin and put in oven to heat for a few minutes only ( be careful as you want the oil very hot but don't forget about it - Fire Hazard ! When the oil is hot put sausages in the dish and pour batter around them. Cook in oven for about 25-30 Min's when the batter should have risen round them and the sausages will be beautifully crisp and dark within their golden bed.
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