The article took me back to childhood and favourite meals. Being of English origin, one of my favourites was my Mom's 'Toad-in-the-hole'. A strange name for a dish but, in short, it’s sausages cooked in what is essentially Yorkshire pudding. (There is no research, by the way, that suggests that it was ever made with toads!)
As my Mom is a cook who uses a pinch of this and a cup of that, the recipe she used isn't written down anywhere. Jamie Oliver's version is the next best thing!
Cooks In: 50 minutes
· sunflower oil
· 8 pork 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
1. Whisk the batter ingredients together with a pinch of sea salt, and put to one side. I like the batter to go huge so the key thing is to have an appropriately-sized baking tin – the thinner the better – as we need to get the oil smoking hot.
2. Put 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil into a baking tin, then place on the middle shelf of your oven at its highest setting (240–250ºC/475ºF/gas 9). Place a larger tray underneath it to catch any oil that overflows from the tin while cooking.
3. When the oil is very hot, add the sausages – keep an eye on them and allow them to colour until lightly golden.
4. At this point, take the tin out of the oven, being very careful, and pour the batter over the sausages. Throw a couple of sprigs of rosemary into the batter.
5. It will bubble and possibly even spit a little, so carefully put the tin back in the oven, and close the door. Don't open it for at least 20 minutes, as Yorkshire puddings can be a bit temperamental when rising. Remove from the oven when golden and crisp.
6. For the onion gravy, peel and finely slice the onions and garlic, then simply fry off in the butter on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until they go sweet and translucent. You could add a little thyme or rosemary here, if you like. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow it to cook down by half.
7. At this point, add a stock cube or powder. Sprinkle this in and add a little water. Allow to simmer and you'll have a really tasty onion gravy.
8. Serve at the table with the Toad in the hole, mashed potatoes, greens and baked beans or maybe a green salad if you're feeling a little guilty!
We usually had this served with mashed potatoes, greens and baked beans.