Toad In The Hole

Toad In The Hole – Gorgeous little patties of sausage meat, apple and sage, cocooned within soft pillows of Yorkshire pudding. Winner!

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We eat a lot of sausages in the HC house. The kids like them, so it’s a no-brainer. I say the kids like them – Lucy doesn’t eat sausages. But then Lucy doesn’t eat a lot of things at the moment. I’m hoping it’s just a phase. What they do all eat is Yorkshire pudding. They’d eat it by the bucket-load, given half a chance. Thus toad-in-the-hole features quite a bit on our dinner plates. Yes, I feel like a middling-to-poor parent for feeding my kids processed meat and what’s practically cake, but meh. Needs must. And at the moment, with the fussy little buggers that are my triplets, I’ll take any meal that they’ll eat without leaving quantities of food that would keep a pig happy.

Toad In The Hole - Gorgeous little patties of sausage meat, apple and sage, cocooned within soft pillows of Yorkshire pudding. Winner! | thehecticcook.com

This recipe is slightly different to the usual TITH in that you make little patties out of the sausages with a couple more ingredients. You don’t have to. You can make this recipe with sausages, it won’t make any difference. But I like this recipe as the little sausage patties seem to flavour the Yorkshire pudding. I thought Princess Lucy might actually eat them (she eats cocktail sausages FFS) but it was not to be.

Toad In The Hole - Gorgeous little patties of sausage meat, apple and sage, cocooned within soft pillows of Yorkshire pudding. Winner! | thehecticcook.com

Ingredients (Serves 6)

200g plain flour
4 eggs
200ml milk
8 sausages (500g sausagemeat)
1 apple, grated
1 tsp dried sage
seasoning

1. Preheat your oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6.

2. Skin the sausages (if not using sausagemeat) and place in a bowl with the grated apple, sage and plenty of seasoning. I don’t bother peeling the apple, but you can if you’d like.

Toad In The Hole - Gorgeous little patties of sausage meat, apple and sage, cocooned within soft pillows of Yorkshire pudding. Winner! | thehecticcook.com

3. Mix this well (use your hands) and then form into small patties.

Toad In The Hole - Gorgeous little patties of sausage meat, apple and sage, cocooned within soft pillows of Yorkshire pudding. Winner! | thehecticcook.com

You can do this some time ahead, then place the patties on a plate, covered, in the fridge until needed.

4. Make the Yorkshire pudding batter by measuring the flour into a bowl/jug, season well, then break in the eggs and pour in half the milk. Stir this all together, then add more milk until you have a mixture the consistency of thick double cream. If you don’t need all the milk, leave it. You be the judge. Give it a jolly good whisk (a fork will do, but a whisk is better) then pop this in the fridge until needed. The colder the YP mixture is before cooking, the more it will rise.

Toad In The Hole - Gorgeous little patties of sausage meat, apple and sage, cocooned within soft pillows of Yorkshire pudding. Winner! | thehecticcook.com

5. Add a good glug (technical term) of oil to an ovenproof dish/tray. Pop this in your preheated oven for about 5 minutes to heat. Then add the patties and shove back in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until starting to brown. Depending on your sausages (sausage meat), if a fair bit of water comes out of them, drain this off, add a bit more oil and shove them back in the oven for 5 minutes until the oil is hot.

Toad In The Hole - Gorgeous little patties of sausage meat, apple and sage, cocooned within soft pillows of Yorkshire pudding. Winner! | thehecticcook.com
Note:

You can make this in anything really. I’ve used baking trays, pie dishes and casserole dishes. Just add plenty of oil (around 100ml) to prevent the TITH from sticking.


6. Remove the YP batter from the fridge and give it another stir. Then take the patties out of the oven and add the batter to your tray. Pop it straight back in to the oven.

Toad In The Hole - Gorgeous little patties of sausage meat, apple and sage, cocooned within soft pillows of Yorkshire pudding. Winner! | thehecticcook.com

Whatever you do now, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR. If you open the oven door in the first 20 minutes of cooking, the YP won’t rise as well. So leave it.

7. Cook for 30-40 minutes – you’ll know it’s done because it’ll be gorgeously golden and look solid in the middle. Cooking time depends on the dish you’ve used, and how thick your batter is.

Toad In The Hole - Gorgeous little patties of sausage meat, apple and sage, cocooned within soft pillows of Yorkshire pudding. Winner! | thehecticcook.com

I always serve TITH with mash, veg and gravy. You could go to the lengths of making your own lovely onion gravy. However, on a weeknight (and even at the weekend if I’m going to be totally honest) I can’t be bothered, so I use this:

Toad In The Hole - Gorgeous little patties of sausage meat, apple and sage, cocooned within soft pillows of Yorkshire pudding. Winner! | thehecticcook.com

It’s super quick, and simple, and in my humble opinion, tastes pretty damn good. The star of the show is the TITH, so I think that this does the job nicely.

Toad In The Hole - Gorgeous little patties of sausage meat, apple and sage, cocooned within soft pillows of Yorkshire pudding. Winner! | thehecticcook.com

In summary, my top tips for really god-damn-good Yorkshire pudding are:

  • Use enough eggs – this is what makes the YP richer. I tend to use 1 egg per 50g of flour.
  • Whisk the mixture thoroughly to remove lumps.
  • If possible, refrigerate the batter for at least 30 minutes – cold batter + hot oil = good YP
  • Do not open the oven door for at least the first 20 minutes of cooking.

This applies to any YP you’re making.

Happy cooking!

 

Fancy some other sausage recipes? Why not try my Sausage Meatball Spaghetti, or Simple Sausage Casserole 🙂

Sausage Meatball Spaghetti - Super simple midweek dinner that the whole family will enjoy | thehecticcook.com

 

Simple Sausage Casserole - such a simple one pot dish that is gorgeously comforting and really tasty | thehecticcook.com

 

Simple Sausage Casserole

A really simple sausage casserole that should satisfy every appetite in the house.

With four small children I’ve found that organisation is key. I’m a pretty organised individual but sometimes even a small chink in my plan can see utter chaos ensue. I’m not sure how anyone with lots of small children and no organisational skills ever leaves the house. A typical morning is like a military operation – it probably doesn’t hurt I’m ex-military. I’m also a bit somewhat completely OCD, so being organised totally floats my boat.

An example of this is my weekly menu. We have a whiteboard on the back of the kitchen door. On it we write lists of things we need to do, important information, even what days I’ve changed the beds (there’s five beds in this house, if I didn’t make a note, I’d never remember who’s I’d changed when). There’s also the weekly menu. I tend to make it up near the end of the week (a job I absolutely hate) as I do the weekly shop at the start of the week. I try to keep it varied: a mince day; a veg day; a fish day etc. Like I said, this is one of those tasks that bores me to tears.

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See, I’m not kidding…

But it’s a really useful tool. I only buy what we need for the meals that week, so we never have a lot of wasted food (a huge pet hate of mine), and my weekly shopping bill is kept to a minimum. I’m not saying its foolproof. I also keep a stock of failsafe meals. Jacket potatoes. Quesadillas. Filled pasta. It varies. Just in case. But it makes my life easier, which is always good.

This sausage casserole falls into the ‘failsafe meal’ category. It’s unusual for there not to be sausages in my freezer (I’ve told you about my mansize freezer? Literally. You could keep a body in it). The other ingredients are all store cupboard essentials for me. So regardless of what chaos is ensuing around me, I know that I can knock up a reasonable meal if necessary.

Ingredients (Serves 4 adults)

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1 tbsp oil
8 sausages
1 onion, chopped or sliced
2 tsp garlic (frozen or paste)/garlic cloves, crushed
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of baked beans
splash of soy sauce
oxo cube
veg of choice
∼ 100ml water
salt & pepper

1. Warm the oil over a medium heat in a casserole dish that will go from stove to oven (I have a hefty pot that is perfect for this, but if you don’t, just cook everything initially in a pan then transfer into a casserole dish to put in the oven). Add your sausages and brown all over – they don’t need to be cooked through as they’re going in the oven.

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2. Remove the sausages and set aside for a minute. There should be some fat leftover from the sausages – if not, add a little more oil. Soften the onion in the fat until just starting to brown. Add in the garlic for the last couple of minutes, being careful not to let it start to burn.

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3. Chuck the sausages back into the pot, along with all of the other ingredients. Everything. Just chuck it all in there.

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I use carrots, sweetcorn and mushrooms in my sausage casserole as that’s what we like. But use whatever vegetables you want. Or none if you’d prefer.

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4. Give this a stir then bung it in the oven at about 170ºC (fan)/325ºF/Gas 3 for about an hour.

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I tend to serve this with lovely buttery mash and some green veg. The kids love it and it’s super simple to make.

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Happy cooking!

Sausage Meatball Spaghetti

We’re just back from a few days away, visiting family down in Cornwall. It’s amazing the difference a year can make. We stayed in a (lovely) holiday home with the kids, and it was all very …. well …. civilised. Having three children the same age has proven ‘testing’ in many ways. Until quite recently even simple activities, like a trip to the park, or a meal out, were undertaken like a military operation, and with a fair amount of stress. But the girls are getting older, and life is definitely getting easier!

It’s funny taking them out though, they do draw a certain amount of attention. I don’t dress them the same much nowadays. They’re such little independent ladies, it’s nice for them to be seen as different. But it’s kind of cute when we do. However, it does draw more attention, which I’d forgotten.

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We got a lot more comments. The usual “Wow triplets – you’ve got your hands full!” – one man took the effort to lean out of his first floor window to call this to us as we passed. A woman looked slightly aghast as she uttered the infamous words, “…rather you than me…!”.

We’ve had some funny things said to us over the past few years. Folk see triplets, and I think are so surprised, they then say some ridiculous things, and ask some personal questions.

“Did you plan triplets?” – erm …. yes?

“Were they IVF?” (or HIV from one woman) – think about this one, have you ever asked someone with one baby if they’d had IVF??

“Did you have to do it three times in the one night…?” – I’m sure that’s how it works.

But as someone who often opens her mouth before engaging her brain, I don’t really mind. I’d most definitely do the same if roles were reversed.

So before we left, I made this for the family. And got 6 empty bowls in return. Always good. It definitely falls into the ‘quick and simple’ category. The quantities below served 2 adults and 5 children (we had Henry’s friend for dinner), but just change the amount of pasta and quantity of sausages to suit you.

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Ingredients

8 pork sausages
420g pasta
1 tin/carton of chopped tomatoes
2 tsp/cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp of basil (dried or frozen)
∼ 30g parmesan, grated

1. Slice down the length of each sausage and remove the skins. Then separate each sausage into about 4-5 little balls.

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2. In a frying pan, brown the meatballs. As long as your pan is non-stick, there’s no need to add any oil as the sausages will produce their own fat. I did this in two batches so as not to overload the pan. Remove the meatballs and place to the side whilst you make the sauce.

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3. Depending on how much oil is left in your pan from the sausages, add some olive oil and the garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes over a medium heat, but don’t let the garlic start to burn. Add the tomatoes and the basil. Let this cook for a couple of minutes then taste. Add some salt, and if the sauce is quite sharp, a pinch of sugar. Tip in the meatballs and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

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4. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted water until soft.

5. Once the meatballs are cooked, take the pan off the heat and add the parmesan. Stir this through so that it melts through the sauce.

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6. Add the meatballs to the spaghetti and serve.

Sausage Meatball Spaghetti - Super simple midweek dinner that the whole family will enjoy | thehecticcook.com

I served this with some salad and cheesy garlic bread. And for once, a meal I thought the kids would like, they liked! Woo hoo!

Happy cooking!