I have a couple of confessions before I get onto the exciting bit of this blog post.
I have a severe case of pantry jealousy. I want Nigella Lawson’s pantry. I am sure on the most stress filled days sitting in there surrounded by such foodie delight would calm my soul. I am the kind of woman who panics if there isn’t a plethora of tins in my pantry. I have been known to go out and buy a couple of tins of beans and tomatoes just so there’s something in my pantry. Yeah, it’s weird, I know.
I have a couple of foods I struggle to cook, I will maybe confess others in future but for now I will just tell you that Yorkshire Pudding and I are not good friends. I want to be able to cook it well, I love eating it and my Dad makes gorgeous yorkshire pudding but nope, up until today my efforts have been pretty poor. Some just haven’t risen at all and others have half-heartedly popped their head above the tin.
And now onto the Success. I made Nigella Lawson’s version of Toad in the Hole and it worked, it worked, it worked. Now, Toad in the hole is not actually an amphibian cooked in anything. No frogs or toads were harmed in the making of my evening meal. No, toad in the hole is what we Brits call Yorkshire pudding with sausages in it. So now you know.
I’ve tried several different recipes and today I just happened to have my Nigella Kitchen book to hand, I looked and there was a recipe for toad in the hole. I decided to give it a go. Nigella is the mother of several of my staple recipes (butternut and sweet potato soup will be coming soon!) and so I trusted her to lead me well. And she did, oh she did.
Toad in the Hole Nigella Lawson Style.
350 ml Semi Skimmed Milk (Nigella calls for full fat but I never have it in!)
pinch of salt
250g plain flour (no need to sift!)
Tablespoon (15ml) veg oil
6 sausages (as good quality as you can get and whatever flavour you like!)
You’ll also need a roasting tin. Nigella’s is round, I used a rectangular one. Mine was about 30cm by 20cm but I think I will use my slightly bigger one next time as the base on this was a bit thick (but still delicious)
Here’s another variation on Nigella’s recipe. I think you definitely HAVE to prepare your batter in advance. I swear it rises better if it’s had some time to sit. An hour in advance or a day or anything in between. It doesn’t matter, just let it rest.
So pour 350ml milk into a bowl and add 4 eggs. Whisk these together until all combined. Now add in your flour bit by bit until you have a batter like this:
And put it aside for as long as you’ve got. When you’re ready to prepare your toad in the hole pour the oil into the roasting tin and put it in the oven at Gas Mark 7. This is another me adaptation, but it seems to have worked!
Now the next bit is totally a you decision. You can put the sausages in as they are, just brown them in the pan OR you can squidge out the sausage meat and make little balls out of it and then fry them. I dry fried my meaty balls of sausage in my frying pan, there’s enough oil going on without me adding any more. :)
Squidging out the sausage meat gives you the option to pimp up your balls. Add spice, herbs, whatever you fancy or just used a highly flavoured sausage in the first place, it’s up to you!
Now you need to work quick for the next bit. Have your sausage and your batter ready to rock. Now swipe you’re oil from the oven and lower your sausages into it. Try not to splash hot oil on yourself! Now follow the sausage quickly with your batter. It WILL spit and splutter and this is good, good, good.
At this point I worried. I really did. I wasn’t sure my batter made enough noise on entry but I wanged it in the oven and prayed. My Toad in the hole cooked for 45 minutes. While it was in the oven I boiled and mashed some potatoes, prepared some Kale and cauliflower and made some gravy (yes, sorry, just gravy granules and boiling water, no recipe needed for that :p) and then I opened the oven door.
And made a whole lot of happy, excited noise. IT HAD RISEN!
*drools a little. Wipes tear from eye* Yes, It was a proud moment. My pudding had risen to the highest heights! I am sure it’s the highest my pudding has ever risen and I think if I use a bigger tin next time I might get higher.
I can tell you it tasted wonderful. The base was a little thick but even that tasted fluffy and not claggy or scrambled eggy like some of my previous disasters had. So thank you Nigella Lawson. You’ve helped my conquer my fear of Yorkshire Pudding and helped me bake a good’un that the family gobbled up eagerly, not a scrap left at the end!