For my fifth recipe in my collection of recipes-with-interesting names series, I have returned to more familiar cuisine and made Toad in the Hole. I don't ever think about the strangeness of its name, but I guess to a person who didn't grow up with British cooking, it would sound as odd as ants climbing the tree did to me the first time I heard of it.
Like many of the dishes with more unusual names, there is not a definite answer on where the name came from. The most common theory I have seen is that the dish is meant to look like a toad sticking its head out of a hole. Personally I can't see it. However, toad in the hole didn't always have to have sausages, and sometimes was used as a way of stretching out leftover cooked meat- perhaps there was more of a resemblance then.
In the past I have nearly always used Delia's recipe for Toad in the Hole. But when I decided to make it for my blog, I was more conscious when eating it that Delia's recipe didn't contain enough pudding for me. I am admittedly a fan of stodge and carbs, but even so, the amount of batter seemed a bit mean. Perhaps a bit silly, as the idea behind toad in the hole is that it is a way to stretch out meat, and a high sausage-to-pudding ration should be seen as a good, more lavish thing- but in the case of this recipe I would have rather had less sausage in return for more pudding. If you were serving it with mashed potato, which I wasn't, than maybe it would be enough carbohydrate.
So, I turned to what has always proven successful in the past- Felicity Cloakes' 'How to Cook the Perfect...' recipe column. Her recipe is interesting- the batter includes wholegrain mustard and some ale, and instead of browning the sausages in the oven, you brown them in a frying pan. Her suggestion of adding the batter to the hot roasting dish before the sausages was new to me too, but it really made a difference- the bottom of the Yorkshire pudding part stays crisp. The additions to the batter don't overpower, but do add a more savoury note.
As always, it was a great recipe, and I wanted to share it here. I did, however, make a change and increase the batter quantity by half. This made a very pudding heavy toad in the hole, which to me is perfection, but is probably not for others. Felicity's recipe does use more batter than Delia, if you are worried the original recipe doesn't have enough.
I like to serve my toad in the hole with some kind of green, and a cidery onion gravy.