Toad in the hole

The glory of this dish depends wholly on the sausages you use. So often its ruined due to the cheap, tasteless varieties that are sold prepacked, stuffed full of breadcrumbs and fatty minced pork. The humble sausage should be thought of more as a delicious parcel of meat and herbs carefully blended to give delicious results. We’re so lucky to have butchers, bakers, fishmongers and other specialised foodshops staffed by experts who are only too pleased to advise us on what to buy and how to cook it. Butchers all over the country have delicious recipes which have been carefully guarded and handed down through the years. The best sausages should be packed with freshly minced meats, herbs and spices as they’re a real delicacy – and they turn the dish into a gourmet feast.

Serves: 4; Prep: 15 mins; Cook: 1 hr plus 30 mins standing; Cost £6.75; Cals per portion: 720

Ingredients: 225g / 8oz plain organic flour; 2 free range eggs; 600ml/1 pint of organic milk; 1 tbsp vegetable oil; 2 onions, sliced; 8 large, quality sausages

  • Sieve the flour into a large bowl with a pinch of salt. Both these points are important as the sieving adds air to the flour which is needed for light crispy batter, and salt should always be added to flour to prevent it tasting bland.
  • Make a well in flour and whisk together eggs and milk with lots of freshly milled black pepper and a pinch of salt. Pour milk into well and whisk until fflour has been drawn in and a smooth batter is formed. If it’s lumpy, keep whisking like mad to break up the lumps which are formed by pockets of flour.
  • Preheat oven to Mark 7 / 220oC / 425oF and leave batter to stand for 30 mins to allow the starch particles to burst. Heat oil in roasting tin and cook sausages and onions for 20 mins, then pour over batter and bake for 40 mins until it is well risen and crispy.

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