Well what do you know…. it’s Random Recipes time again! This month Dom from Belleau Kitchen has set the challenge ‘Store Cupboard Finds’. Delve way, way back into the recesses of the cupboard and finally use that impulsive purchase that has been lurking there for months and possibly years. After liberating said item from the cupboard, select a recipe to use it up and promise never, ever to buy it again. I have taken a bit of poetic licence this month as I’ve been travelling in South America and have come home to all sorts of things lurking in my freezer. A kind of icy pantry, if you will. Some months ago, I won a meat tray at the local club. After eating the sweet little pork chops and working our way through the steak, only the sausages remained. As we never buy sausages (too fatty, not good for you blah blah blah) I thought it might be a long time coming before they were used. Then, the light bulb went on.
In the tradition of wacky English Pudding names – Spotted Dick, Plum Duff, Figgy Dowdy, Poor Knight’s Pudding and Dowager’s Weekend Trifle (OK, I made that last one up for the Downton Abbey fans) I present for your enjoyment: Toad in the Hole. I saw this recipe in Nigella Lawson’s weighty tome ‘Kitchen’ and have been desperate to make it. Something about the image of those cute little patties cooking in the pan and the other photo of the enormous souffle like batter pudding, called to me.
I can’t emphasise how quick and simple this dish is. From fridge to table in less than an hour. Nigella stipulates pork sausages but I only had beef. You obviously want to use a good quality sausage with a high proportion of meat rather than filler. Next time I make this, I’ll be using a Pork & Fennel Sausage. There will be a next time as this looks so impressive coming out of the oven, I’ll be using it to dazzle friends and family. These aren’t the most attractive photos but rest assured this will be a crowd and tummy pleaser.
Toad in the Hole
- 250g plain flour, sifted
- 4 x eggs
- 350ml milk
- pinch of salt
- 6 x good quality sausages
- 2 – 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- extra seasoning and herb garnish
- Pre heat oven to 220c (fan) or 240c (no fan). Oil a baking tray or dish.
- Beat eggs into milk with salt
- Add mixture to flour and mix thoroughly to create a smooth batter. (I know that you usually add liquid to dry but that’s the way Nigella says to do it to get the best batter and it worked for me). Set aside to rest.
- Cut each sausage in half and remove from casing (slit case or squeeze it out). Form into a small patty. You will have 12 patties.
- Heat oil in a frying pan and add patties to pan to brown. Once browned, turn over and brown other side. There is no need to cook them any further.
- Tip patties and residual oil into a baking tin or dish and distribute evenly. Sprinkle with a some seasoning. Add a few sprigs of thyme or rosemary if you have them.
- Carefully pour the batter into the baking dish, trying not to cover the patties. The batter will come up the sides of the patties and they may even float.
- Place dish into oven immediately.
- Cook for 40 minutes or until the pudding is puffed and golden. The pudding will rise very high so make sure you have the dish on one of the lower shelves. It may not need the whole 40 minutes but make sure it is set in the centre as no one likes undercooked batter.
- Remove pudding from oven, walk triumphantly through the dining room to impress your friends and then serve immediately as it will begin to deflate once it is out of the oven.
- Traditionally served with brown onion gravy.
- The batter can be made up to half a day ahead and allowed to rest in the fridge. Just bring it back to room temperature before you use it.
- Likewise with the sausage patties. You can make and brown them and then just store them in the fridge, ready for assembly.
1. open up the cupboard door, reach in deep and pull out the first thing you touch
2. turn to your cookbooks… I don’t mind how you do it this month, choose a favourite, pick it randomly… whatever
3. turn to the index and find the item you’d taken from the cupboard
4. pick a recipe and make it!
I promise to follow the rules to the letter, next month!