I was telling an American friend that I I did not have to cook the crew’s meal that day as we were all given the day off after the boss left. But I did mention that we had a very interesting dinner: TOAD IN THE HOLE… Toad in the hole, what?
His reaction was exactly how I reacted upon hearing those words 25 years ago. When we arrived in Greece, in 1984, we were sent to an English school and there I have learned a few things about the British culture, from the habits afternoon teas and their odd sounding food like spotted dick and toad in the hole.
I was out of the boat and sent a message to Stephen to defrost the bangers. How I got those bangers is story to tell. My weekly shopping routine ended us up in the different area near Whole Foods…the organic store in the US. Not much having time left before I need to go back to the boat and cook lunch, we decided to shop there.
So I gave Stephen things to grab and put Selina at the meat section to order what I needed. Little did I know she bought some bangers.
I told Stephen maybe I will make a full English breakfast but by the time I made it back to the boat it was almost lunch. I egged him to do some bangers and mash.
I showed him where the potatoes were but then I heard him opening cupboards that I checked on him if he needed something else.
Flour… flour on bangers and mash? Then he asked for a baking dish. Oh dear… certainly he was up to something. Then came out the eggs and milk.
He had a wicked grin on face and said, Toad in the hole…
Oh my , been ages I have not eaten one. I was watching him prepare our dinner when he actually ordered me to help and do the gravy. Onion gravy, there he goes chopping and frying onions while I prepared the gravy and when it was almost ready to pull it out from the oven, my cook “ordered” me to set the table.
Toad in the hole as Delia Smith said , “’is a simply wonderful creation from the humble origins of British cooking.”
Here is how he cooked it as he said:
Toad in the hole batter…. Done steve’s way!
Put some plain flour in a mixing bowl.
Make a hollow in the middle and break two eggs into it.
Break up the egg yolk first then mix the beaten egg into the flour to make a dough… If it is runny, add some more flour, if it is still powdery then add another egg.
Then add milk until you get a smooth creamy batter.
Put the mix in a cool place, or even the fridge.
While doing the above, prick the sausages and place them under the grill to brown off and drive out some of the fat.
Then turn the oven to maximum heat and place a suitable metal baking tin into the oven with some oil or butter in it. Wait until the oil is smoking hot, and remove the tin from the oven.
Immediately pour in the batter and place the sausages in it too. Return to the oven as quickly as possible. Reduce oven temperature setting to about 220 centigrade.
It will usually take about 20 – 30 minutes to cook… Wait until the batter has finished rising and is golden brown.
Try to avoid opening the oven too often and loosing the heat.
Remove from oven when done and don’t forget to serve with Bisto gravy!
It’s the temperature shock that is important for the batter to rise. The batter is exactly the same as a Yorkshire pudding. Add salt to the mix to taste… I don’t but I don’t like salty food.
It was yummy yum indeed, thank you Stephen for all the great times in the galley, the times I dragged you walking and for partly writing this piece…