For all my non-British readers I should straight away clarify exactly what Toad-in-the-Hole is! Simply put it’s sausages cooked in a thick batter (similar to a Yorkshire Pudding). It is a true British classic and one of my favourite comfort foods. It is also an incredibly cheap meal to make and is perfect for using up all those odds and ends in the cupboard and fridge. Which brings me onto the main theme of this blog post – Happy New Year!
Last year when I wrote my first Happy New Year blog post of the year I said how I wanted my blog in 2017 to focus on real food. Food that doesn’t cut everything out but instead includes things in a balanced way. I hope that I created recipes that are not only simple but also a joy to eat, recipes that give you a choice to create a balance between healthy eating that doesn’t cost a lot and recipes that give you that extra treat and comfort when you need it the most. For me food is to be enjoyed and unless myself or anyone I am cooking for is suffering from some kind of intolerance/ allergy then I don’t plan to cut a single thing out. That being said, each year I do plan (and sometimes fail ..!) to cut down on certain things. This year my aim is to eat less bread, cut down on meat and to also try and eat out less. My husband and I are fortunate enough to live in central Berlin with plenty of friends to try and catch up with and restaurants on our doorstep. With both of us usually working late it is very easy to simply pop out for some food on the way home from work. But that of course usually ends up being something quick like a pizza … and washed down with a couple of glasses of wine or beer! This year I am putting less pressure on myself to cook all these endless mid-week meals. In fact, every other week I am also including frozen meals one day of that week that we are tempted to go out. This leaves those ‘tempted to go out days’ the other two weeks of the month (and all the other days we are tempted to go out on top!) free for all those little portions of Chilli Con Carne, Chicken Madras or Fish Pie’s that I make and store in the freezer. But the fact is that last year I noticed I didn’t have enough time to constantly cook meals like this to keep the freezer always stocked for the number of days we worked late. So yes, this year I am allowing frozen pizzas or breaded fish in my freezer. You might be thinking that this is incredibly unhealthy. I always thought the same. But this is still healthier, and a hell of a lot cheaper, than going out for a cheesy pizza or a burger and fries with a load of craft beer or wine! Just by making that simple change two days a month will really benefit me (and keep the home-cooked meals free in the freezer for the other days!).
So here’s to a more realistic 2018. A year that balances eating out with easy food as well as allowing for more time to cook healthy food plus those weekend treats. And just like last year I want to kick start the year with a comfort food, because if there is ever a month that it is needed then January it is! What I like about these Mini Toad-in-the-Holes is that they are perfect if you are cooking for just two people. I use one of those large 4 hole Yorkshire pudding tins and freeze the other two for another day. I actually use Nürnberger Sausages (for those in Germany) as they are the closest I can find to the classic British ones and they are also smaller and thinner which works for these mini versions but you can easily use Cumberland sausages or chipolatas! I avoid serving mashed potato on the side as the batter is delicious and filling enough on it’s own. I serve plenty of veg with it such as peas, green beans and carrots. And of course, don’t forget the onion gravy!
- 8 sausages (Cumberland, Nürnberger or Chipolatas) cut in half
- 2 medium eggs
- Vegetable or sunflower oil
- 75g plain white flour
- 100ml milk (I use semi-skimmed in this recipe)
- Small mix fresh herbs (finely chopped). I use sage, rosemary and parsley or whatever I have leftover.
- Salt/ pepper
- Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
- Once the oven is heated evenly spread the chopped sausages between each 4 holes in a large Yorkshire pudding tin. Add half a tsp of oil in each hole. Pop in the oven for just 2-3 mins to brown.
- In the meantime add the flour, milk and eggs to a large mixing bowl. Using a whisk, whisk until it forms a smooth batter. Then stir in the fresh herbs and season with a little salt and pepper.
- Pour the mixture into a measuring jug. This will make it easier to pour into the tin.
- Take tin out of the oven. Pour the mixture into each hole over the sausages until you just reach the top. Quickly pop the tin back into the oven for around 20 mins or until puffed up and golden. Do not be tempted to open the oven door as this will left all the air out and the batter will be not be as puffed up.
- Take out of the oven and serve immediately.