Not sure why toad-in-the-hole is called toad-in-the-hole. Perhaps it used to be made with real toads – I know the Tudors used to eat all sorts. Although, I guess if you were to consider eating a toad, serving one up in a giant Yorkshire pudding wouldn’t be a bad serving suggestion – especially if you dipped it in mustard.
However, my instincts (and Wikipedia) have informed me that it is much more likely to refer to ‘toads waiting for their prey in their burrows, making their heads visible in the earth, just like the sausages peep through the batter’… How disappointing – although, I did discover that toad-in-the-hole used to have the catchy name of ‘meat boiled in a crust’.
Anyway, rest assured that my recipe for toad-in-the-hole is surprisingly easy, delicious and free from amphibians. What more could you want?
Veggie toad-in-the-hole Serves 2 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 40 mins /V You’ll need: 20cm oven proof dish and an electric whisk
2 tsp rapeseed oil
6 chilled vegetarian sausages, I use Cauldron
3 fresh thyme or rosemary sprigs
75g plain flour
100ml semi skimmed milk
Pinch of ground nutmeg To serve
Wholegrain mustard, gravy and tender-stem broccoli
1. Preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan/ 428°F/gas mark 7. Grease a small oven-proof dish (roughly 20cm) with oil and add the 6 chilled vegetarian sausages, along with 2 tsp of rapeseed oil. Shake the sausages until they’ll evenly coated in the oil before adding 3 sprigs of thyme or rosemary. Cook the sausages in the oven, on the middle shelf for 15 mins.
2. Meanwhile, make the batter by measuring out the flour in a medium sized bowl. Add a good crack of salt and pepper, along with a pinch of nutmeg and give it a stir. Make a well in the flour and crack the egg into it. Using a hand whisk, combine the egg with the flour and slowly incorporate the milk until you have a thick but smooth batter. Switch to an electric whisk and mix for a couple of minutes. Leave the batter to rest while the sausages cook.
3. Carefully remove the sausages from the oven and discard the herbs, leaving any detached leaves. Pour the batter slowly into a corner of the dish and allow it to spread out evenly between the sausages.
4. Return the dish to the oven and bake on the top shelf for 15-18 mins, or until the batter has puffed up and is a lovely golden colour. Spoon out onto plates and serve with mashed potato, gravy and your choice cooked vegetables.