I was going to bake, but a friend came over bearing gifts of pumpkin ale (for hubby), apple pie (for kiddies), and a bottle of wine (for me)... so the wine was drunk, the pie was eaten, and the baking was scrapped until next week. Seriously, I wish you could have tried the pie... it really is heaven in a slice... It's from my local farmer's market and, come the holidays, you have to get your order in early and the line is out of the door.... it is that good, and the reason why I will never bake an apple pie!
Anyhoo, on Sunday, I was feeling comfort food (a side effect of the wine, I think) and wasn't up for cooking a full out Sunday roast (remember, I was aiming for a zero effort weekend) and so, I decided to cook the next best thing... Toad in the Hole. To all those not familiar with this dish, don't worry, I'm not into cooking amphibians... this is merely the name of a sausage dish... the hubby said, 'it's like sausages cooked in a fluffy pancake batter'... and that is it in a nutshell.
I love this dish, but I shied away from making it for years, as I could never get my batter to rise... always ending up with sausages encased in what looked like a flat pancake... Then, my Mum told me that I had to get the fat so hot that it's smoking. Armed with this new found knowledge, my batter is like that of a souffle (although my kitchen is quite smokey!)...
When making this dish, I like to get a real good sausage... I have to say, when I first came to the States, I found the sausage selection a little weak, but in the 6 short years I have lived here, I'm finding more varietals available... Whole Foods offering the best selection (and I don't need any excuse to pop there), so I picked up some Irish Bangers for this dish... I did forgo the wine aisle... but could not resist the Pumpkin Silk Milk (pumpkin soy milk).... Oh, how I love this!
Anyways, the Toad in the Hole came out a treat... served with some lovely mashed potatoes, mixed with chopped scallions/ green onion / spring onions (I think I've covered all the names for this onion here), and topped with a tasty mushroom and onion gravy. Comfort on a plate... Yummy! If you want to have a crack at this, I've popped the recipe below... It's a great mid-week meal... but, remember, 'to have your fat so hot it's smoking'!!!
Have a great start to the week!
Toad in the Hole
Canola oil or Sunflower oil
8 sausages (good quality & a decent size)
300 ml of milk
4oz of Flour
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 475F / 240C.
2. To make the batter; in a large bowl, add the flour and salt. Crack the eggs into the middle. Add the milk; all at once, and then beat with a hand whisk, to make a smooth batter. Pour the mixture into a jug and set aside while the oven heats up.
3. Add around ½ inch of canola oil to a baking tin. I use an 8 by 8 brownie tin. You want your tin to be as thin as possible, so that the oil can get nice and hot! Place the tin on the middle shelf of your oven and pop a cookie sheet underneath to catch any oil that overflows…
4. When the oil is very hot, add your sausages and brown them in the oven… you don’t want to cook them through, just give them a light colouring.
5. Once the sausages have a light golden hue, take the pan back out of the oven (being very careful, as the fat should now be smoking hot), and pour your batter over the sausages. Pop the pan back in the oven straight away (you don’t want that oil to cool down) and close the oven door…. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR AGAIN FOR AT LEAST 20 MINUTES!!! If you open the door… you’ll end up with a flat batter… I know it’s tempting to see what’s going on, but just set the timer and leave it be!
6. After 20 minutes check to see what’s what… If it’s golden and crispy, it’s ready.
I served mine with mashed potatoes, mixed with sour cream and scallions. Topped with a mushroom and onion gravy… Mmmmm…