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British Food! Toad in the Hole, Make this Awesome Dish Flour, Eggs and Sausage delight, (Not Pigs in a Blanket.)
What a Strange Name!
Good British comfort Food
One of the things I miss most about leaving England, is the great British Institution, the Local Pub. For those who don't know, the Pub is short for Public House usually managed by the licensed Victualer association. As this implies, it is a place where the weary traveller may quench his thirst and partake of victuals to set them up for the completion of their journey. Nowadays, Pubs, usually referred to as "the Local" are places where one can enjoy a pint of beer (usually warm) drawn from the cellar through taps on the bar and partake of good pub food. It is sad that British Food has such a bad reputation as so much of it is wholesome and satisfying as befits a country that is often rainy and damp.
Pub food is usually very simple. In recent years, pubs have progressed from offering bags of chips, or crisps as they are known in the UK, to offering nutritious simple food at very reasonable prices. That said, some pubs have gone overboard and many now sport fully fledged dining rooms with extensive menus at prices to match. Traditional Pub food is often centered around the traditional British Banger. Bangers and Mash with or without baked beans, Bangers in a bun with or without mustard and / or pickles, and Toad in the Hole.
Bangers are the good old British sausage, nothing fancy, not spicy hot, but very satisfying. Toad in the Hole is an inventive way of serving them. As a child we probably had this dish once a week as it was a hot favorite, easy to prepare but tasty and very scrumptious. It is an assemblage of simple basic batter and sausages. Some cooks make it more upscale by adding herbs and spices to the batter. The dish originated in the mid 19 century when it was made with small pieces of meat scraps, today it is a staple pub dish and economical family meal.
This is how I make it:
6 big Sausages (not chipolatas), Just under a pint of Milk, Tblspn Beef Dripping (or substitute)
4 eggs, 8 ounces Self Raising Flour, Tsp of Salt, Shake of Pepper, Herbs if liked
Prepare a pint of standard Yorkshire pudding batter by making a well in the center of the flour in a deep bowl. Break the eggs into the hole beat into the flour gradually adding the milk and beating well until you have a batter that easily drops off a spoon. Leave it to rest in the fridge ideally for half an hour or more.
Prick the sausage skins with a fork in several places and gently fry until the fat starts to ooze out. The idea is to make the dish much more healthy than the original. Remove from the pan and place on kitchen paper (It is important that they are not cooked at this stage)
Place a tablespoon of beef dripping in an oven proof dish of appropriate size. Heat the oven to 425 F and heat the dish and dripping When piping hot, carefully place the sausages in the pan and tip the batter over them. Make sure the dish is of a size so that the batter is at least an inch deep and make allowances for the batter to rise at least that high again. Place in a hot oven for about half an hour until the sausages are cooked and the batter risen to a golden brown with the browned sausages poking through. If you require or acquire the taste for herbs or spices, add them just after you pour the batter over the sausages. A knife inserted into the batter should come out clean when the dish is properly cooked.
Serve Toad in the Hole on its own, or with vegetables for a full meal. A good Toad in the Hole should be crispy round the edges and soft in the middle yet firm when tested as described above. The sausages should be cooked through and browned on top. If your local pub doesn't serve it, try making it yourself and enjoy a thoroughly British dish. Enjoy!