Toad in the Hole

When I first arrived in London my knowledge of English was very poor and I owe a debt of gratitude to Children BBC for teaching me quicker than any Adult Education institute. OK, I had to seat in front of programmes aimed at 5 years old which would have been debilitating in any other circumstances but I was determined.

Besides my linguistic ignorance, I had not much of an idea of what food was like. One evening, he presented me with this weird looking dish and when I inquired to what it was, he said "toad in the hole", "toad?" did I reply but the conversation rolled on and I never got to know exactly what I had eaten.

Until the next day, when duly seated with my nose glued to the TV, learning my words, Mr Toad appeared from the corner of the screen. Needless to say that I jump out of my skin. Yes I know, where I come from we catch, disembody and fry frogs, but toads that was pushing it. I was never put right and for a long time I avoided this traditional English dish, with the only excuse I knew "thank you, but I don't eat toad" which everyone found very funny.

Decades later, perfectly bilingual, I sill had problems with the dish, I presume the story was still impacting somewhere on my mind, but the other day I thought "this is silly, it is very easy to make, I have got the ingredients, lets find a good recipe" which I did. On the BBC Good Food web site (yes, auntie Beeb again) sometimes it is nice to go full circle.
Perfect for a quick evening meal, you should try it and spare of thought for good old "Mr Toad"

100g plain flour
1 egg
300ml equal mixture milk and water

Preheat the oven to fan 200C/conventional 220C/ gas 7. Sift the flour and a make a well in the centre and crack in the egg. Beat lightly,then gradually pour in half the milk and water, beating all the time to form a smooth,thick batter. Continue for 2 minutes,then stir in the remaining liquid. (The batter can be made several hours ahead of time, although contrary to popular opinion it is not improved by standing.)

8 rashers streaky bacon
8 good-quality pork sausages
1 onion , thinly sliced
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Wrap a bacon rasher around each sausage then put them, spaced apart, in a large roasting tin (preferably metal). Scatter over the onion and drizzle with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the bacon and sausages are starting to colour and the onion is tinged brown at the edges.
Remove from the oven and quickly pour the batter over the sausages. Return to the oven for a further 35-40 minutes until the batter is crisp and well risen.

Return to the oven until the batter is crisp and well risen. In the meantime
make the gravy. Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan, add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes until softened and lightly coloured. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the mustard, Worcestershire or soy sauce and stock and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for 15 minutes, then taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve the toad with cabbage or broccoli and lashings of gravy.

FOR THE GRAVY (sorry no gravy picture, we don't do gravy in this kitchen)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion , thinly sliced
2 tsp plain flour
2 tsp ready-made English mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
600ml chicken or vegetable stock

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