When I was a kid, one of my favourite meals was toad-in-the-hole. Sausages! Batter! What’s not to like?
These days the only times I have toad-in-the-hole are when my partner thinks to make it, which isn’t very often. Until this week, I had never cooked it for myself. But over the past few weeks I’ve been developing my confidence in the kitchen.
First there were the fabulous baker boys, who taught me to make simple biscuits like jammy dodgers and hiker bakes. Then there was Jamie and his fifteen-minute dinners. Actually, I wasn’t all that inspired by Jamie and his book went back to the library inside the first 3 weeks. Now Nigella is there to support me in the Kitchen and I’m enjoying her easy reading style and feeling good about my cooking.
My toad-in-the-hole starts from a Nigella recipe but I’ve adapted it to be vegetarian and made it spicier as I didn’t know what marsala was and mistook it for garam masala.
Our sausages, milk, eggs, gravy powder all came from the Broca Food Market, our favourite local grocer. We get consistently good service in there and the prices of many of their products are cheaper than the Sainsbury’s next door.
- 350ml full fat milk
- 4 eggs
- 1 pinch of salt
- 250g plain flour
- 552g Cauldron Cumberland vegetarian sausages (2 packs)
- 15ml olive oil
I made prepared the batter in advance, while the toddler was having his afternoon nap. To do this, break 4 eggs (I save the shells for crushing and putting in the garden) into a bowl and add the milk. Whisk them together with a handy fork and then add in the flour and salt and continue beating the mixture until it makes a relatively smooth batter.
Chop up the sausages into approximately 4 pieces each.
Put both the batter mix and the sausages into the fridge.
When you’re ready for the next stage put the oven onto max heat and add the olive oil to a roasting dish that will be long and deep enough to take all the batter as well as the sausages. After a few minutes add the sausages and allow them to cook for about 5 minutes, turning them part way through (you can just give the dish a good shake). During the 5 minutes, take the chance to give the batter one final beating with a fork.
Bring the sausages out and immediately pour in the batter. Put the oven down to around 220°C and cook until the side of the batter has risen and gone gold and the centre of the mix has set. Nigella reckoned for up to 40 minutes for this but it took my dish just over 20 minutes to do this. I then turned the oven down to around 180°C and put the dish further down in the oven until I was ready to serve, while keeping an eye on it.
Best Days spicy gravy
- 1 and a half onions, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- A little olive oil
- 4 teaspoons of plain flour
- 400ml stock with Marigold’s vegetarian organic gravy powder
- A sprinkling of garam masala
Heat a little olive oil in a pan then add the finely chopped onions.
After about 10 minutes add the sugar, stir in and cook for 2 minutes more.
Then add in the flour and stir in. Cook for another 3 minutes and then add the stock. (For the stock, boil 400ml water and add the gravy powder. The pack recommends 17g per 250ml but you can use a bit less.) Finally, add the sprinkling of garam masala and stir in.
A serving of vegetables
I steamed 2 carrots and some cauliflower, since both were already in the fridge, so use whatever your family likes.
We served a quarter each to the parents and about 1/8 to the toddler. We cut the toddler’s serving into small pieces. The gravy was a smash hit with toddler, who kept saying “more sauce please”. He particularly loved serving it to himself with a ‘poon’. He ate a bit of everything although he ignored the batter until late on when he was offered some on a fork. Then he had quite a bit before declaring himself finished.
This was a great meal, enjoyed by all including in an unexpected way, which provided two portions for the parents to have one each for lunch the next day. I might even make it when the grandparents come to visit.