|Toad in the Hole|
Toad-in-the-hole is a quintessential English dish. It originated in England in the 18th Century as a typical peasant food. The humble toad-in-the hole was first mentioned in a cookbook in 1749 by an English cook named Hannah Glasse. Yet in her cookbook, The Art of Cookery, plain and simple copyright 1747, Hannah used pigeons instead of sausages. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Mrs Beaton put the dish back on the menu in her book, Book of Household Management. This time sausages were used instead of pigeons. The sausages, which resembled toads, were baked in a Yorkshire pudding.
The name, Toad-in-the-Hole brings a nasty image of toads being boiled and baked in a pie. It doesn’t sound too appetizing. Images of witches come to mind boiling poor toads in their cauldrons then baking them in a sweltering oven before feeding them to their victims. However, the name came about from the description of the pigeons or meat baked in batter from Hannah Glasses’ cookbook. In her cookbook she described the dish as a cooked meat baked in the middle of a pudding (batter). Since the toad sticks it’s head out of a hole, and hides in muddy holes in damp places during the day and pounce upon an innocent victim; this reminded folks of the similarities between the toad and the sausage poking itself out of the batter. However silly this name was for the dish, it caught on. Curiously enough, there is an old English pub game called Toad-in-the-hole. The game has its origins in East Sussex. The game is played on a wooden board with a hole in the middle and a moveable plank or drawer on either side that resembles the coin levers in launderette washing machines. The object of the game is to try to get four of your coins which are lovingly called ‘toads’ into the centre hole. The player who succeeds in landing his toads inside the hole scores two points. The dish consists of sausages baked in a Yorkshire pudding batter and served alongside mashed potatoes and greens.
2 Pork sausages per person
3 ounces all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 ounces milk
2 TBS water
2 whole eggs, well beaten
2 TBS vegetable oil or fat
1. Preheat oven to 400º F (220º C).
2. To make the batter, into a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt. In a jug pour the milk and beaten eggs. Add Water and mix well.
3. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well with an electric mixer.
4. Put the batter in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, pour oil or fat into a 9X13 inch pan or a shallow oven-proof dish.
6. Put the sausages in the prepared pan.
7. Cook the sausages in the oven for 10 minutes until they sizzle and the fat is VERY hot.
8. While the sausages are cooking take the batter and with the aid of an electric mixer add air into the mix by whisking it thoroughly.
9. Pour the batter over the sausages and return to the oven.
10. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the batter is nicely risen.
11. Remove from oven. Serve.
Serve the Toad-in-the Hole with onion gravy and mounds of mash potatoes.
Here's a fun game you can try. It's called Toad in the Hole game. Make your own virtual Toad in the Hole. Bon Appetit!