Friday, 25 January 2013

Holy Grail Cooking #3 : Toad in the Hole with Onion Gravy

This is the third in the series of Mumtopian recipes - ones which are that holy grail of family cuisine: easy, quick, cheap and tasty. 

The King is not mad-keen on sausages but when combined with Yorkshire Pudding and onion gravy, he acquiesces. Prima is a big fan of Yorkshire Pudding as well and Secundus loves sausages, so this meal, which is based on recipes found in Eat Well Spend Less by Sarah Flowers (£9.99, How to Books) has been a success so far. I do extra Yorkshire as it is so filling and I love it!

Feel free to adjust according to what is in your cupboard and fridge / what is in season/ what your budget allows. 

Ingredients for the Toad in the Hole:

From the store cupboard: 
Cooking fat of some kind. I used the fat drained off the mince from a bolognese, just to be frugal but I know this isn't as healthy as olive oil. 
150g plain flour 
400ml milk. We were nearly out of fresh milk so I decided to open some longlife milk and use this for cooking - my kids prefer to have fresh milk on their cereal etc. Normally I wouldn't bother with organic UHT milk, but this was on special offer. The remaining milk I poured into the milk container that was already in the fridge so it combined with our usual sem-skimmed, and it didn't taste too bad in coffee. Tip from my dad: With cartons, it is much easier to pour out liquid if you make a small hole with a skewer in the top of the carton furthest away from the spout. 
Seasoning to taste

Fresh/ from the fridge: 
Two small eggs. Free range, go on, don't be mean to the hens! :)
6 or 7 thin pork sausages, good quality. I got ours from our local butcher and they were hardly any more expensive than the ones we get from Asda.

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ gas mark four. 

2. Sieve the flour into the bowl and then make a little "well" in the middle. Crack the eggs into the "well". Adding the milk bit by bit, mix the batter with a balloon whisk. I do this by hand, for the exercise, but you can use a blender. 

3. Place a deep ovenproof dish, with some cooking fat in the bottom, into the oven. You want the fat / oil to get really hot. After about ten minutes, place the sausages in the hot ovenproof dish. Let them cook in the oven for about ten minutes more. Alternatively, you can grill the sausages while the fat is heating up in the dish, but don't overcook them or they will go black in the oven. 

4. When the ten minutes is up, give the batter mix one more whisk and add the seasoning. Take the dish out of the oven. Pour the batter over the sausages.

5. Return to the oven. Check after thirty minutes. The Yorkshire should be rising and going golden. It may take about 45 minutes to cook. You want puffed up Yorkshire and nicely browned sausages. 

Ingredients for Onion gravy:
From the store cupboard: 
A dash of oil, or use the fat from a roast.
4 onions
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely (I don't have a garlic crusher)
2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp of red wine
Cornflour to thicken
I tsp Marmite
350ml home-made stock

1. Fry the onions and garlic in the fat or oil on a low heat. They will take about 15 minutes to soften.

2. Add the red wine and vinegar and continue to heat until reduced by half.

3. Stir in the Marmite once the onions and garlic are nice and soft. Add the stock a bit at a time, stirring well. Allow to cook gently on the top of the woodburner, so that the gravy thickens. Add cornflour to thicken if necessary or more stock if too thick. 

We enjoyed this meal so much I forgot to take a final photograph!

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