Toad of Toad Hall

A Quick and Easy Supper Recipe for All the Family

When I was growing up with my two sisters and brother we followed the classic bedtime routine of supper, bath, reading time and then bed.  My mother, who loves to read, made the classics come alive for the four of us.  With the exception of ‘The Hobbit’ –  oh, how that book never seemed to end – we loved that time sitting in our pjs and dressing gowns cuddled up whilst she read to us in calming, sleep inducing tones…  Idyllic sounding, yes?  It was.

One of my faves was ‘The Wind in the Willows,’ and I am not going to pretend that it was purely that I loved the image of Toad of Toad Hall driving around in his motor-car; it was the fact that he made me think of Toad in the Hole.  Even at a young age, anything remotely food related had me engaged from the off.

Back to today.  As we have well and truly left summer behind us now, after a long walk on Wandsworth Common this morning we decided that today was going to be in honour of the Kenneth Grahame classic.

Toad in the Hole with Roasted Root Veg
To feed 2 adults and one enthusiastic toddler

Ingredients and suggested quantities:
6 x good quality herby sausages
6oz plain flour
Pinch of salt
3 x large eggs
2 tsp Dijon mustard
¾ pint whole milk
3 x springs fresh thyme
½ butternut squash, cut into chunky chips leaving the skin on
3 x large parsnips, cut into long thin sticks
½ celeriac, cut into batons
Drizzle of olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Chilli flakes (optional)
Large handful of tenderstem broccoli
1 x tub of homemade chicken or beef gravy from the freezer, of you have some

  1.  Preheat oven to 200 c, then chuck the sausages in a large non-stick roasting tin for 20 minutes, moving them around occasionally so they brown on all sides
  2. In a suitably sized large bowl, sieve in the flour and salt.  Make a well in the middle and crack in the eggs, together with the mustard and thyme
  3. With a hand blender, combine into a smooth paste and then slowly add some milk, bit by bit, whilst continuing to blend to a smooth batter.  Leave to rest for about 30 minutes
  4. Par-boil the parsnips and celeriac in pan together for about 3-5 minutes depending on their size
  5. Drain the veg well and put into a roasting tin together with the squash
  6. Drizzle with olive oil and season with fresh ground black pepper ready to go into the oven – a pinch of dried chilli flakes over the squash jazzes things up a little if you like
  7. When the sausages are done, put the roasting dish on the hob on a high heat.  Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, or a big knob of dripping if you have some
  8. When spitting hot, add the batter the pan and then pop back in the oven at the middle, allowing enough rising room and pop the prepped vegetables in the oven also, on the bottom shelf.  Do this as quick as poss to keep the temperature in the over high, and cook for 35 minutes
  9. In the last ten minutes boil some water and cook the tenderstem broccoli, or trees as they are known in our house
  10. Transfer tub of gravy into a pan and bring to the boil
  11. After 35 minutes, the Toad in the Hole should be nicely risen, browned on top with crispy edges and the ‘toads’ poking though.  The roasted veg will also be done at this time
  12. Remember to heat your plates, and serve

The gravy – after cooking a roast chicken I pop any leftover homemade gravy into a freezer proof tub and chuck it in the freezer for times like this.  It’s a shame to waste all the goodness that goes into prepping a good roast chicken that could be used to enhance another meal at a later date.

The leftover vegetables – I hate waste from an environmental, social and cost perspective.  The remaining butternut squash, parsnips and celeriac that weren’t roasted have now been diced and chucked in a hot deep pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and a bay leaf to brown.  After a few minutes when you can smell all the flavours developing, cover in good chicken or veg stock and simmer steadily for 15 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf and blitz with the hand blender to your desired texture.  Loosen a little with milk or water, and that’s supper tomorrow night sorted.

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