The only one other time I made it (Delia's Toad in the Hole) it wasn't exactly a success, but 3 years on maybe things have changed.
It did, on the whole, go down better than the first time. But due to the 'pudding' rising so spectacularly, I had to open the oven earlier than advised in the recipe to lower the oven dish to stop it burning on the top oven element. I don't know whether this was the reason the pudding stuck to the bottom of my terracotta baking dish. Not enough oil certainly wasn't an issue. So one child didn't eat the burnt bits, and all three found the gravy too vinegary.
Jamie Oliver's Toad in the Hole
8 large quality higher-welfare sausages
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 large red onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 knobs of unsalted butter
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 level tablespoon vegetable stock powder or 1 organic vegetable stock cube
285 ml milk
115 g plain flour
3 large free-range eggs
- Mix the batter ingredients together with a pinch of sea salt, and put to one side. I like the batter to go huge so the key thing is to have an appropriately-sized baking tin – the thinner the better – as we need to get the oil smoking hot.
- Put 1cm of sunflower oil into a baking tin, then place on the middle shelf of your oven at its highest setting (240–250ºC/475ºF/gas 9). Place a larger tray underneath it to catch any oil that overflows from the tin while cooking.
- When the oil is very hot, add the sausages – keep an eye on them and allow them to colour until lightly golden.
- At this point, take the tin out of the oven, being very careful, and pour the batter over the sausages. Throw a couple of sprigs of rosemary into the batter.
- It will bubble and possibly even spit a little, so carefully put the tin back in the oven, and close the door. Don't open it for at least 20 minutes, as Yorkshire puddings can be a bit temperamental when rising. Remove from the oven when golden and crisp.
- For the onion gravy, peel and finely slice the onions and garlic, then simply fry off in the butter on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until they go sweet and translucent. You could add a little thyme or rosemary here, if you like. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow it to cook down by half.
- At this point, I do cheat a little and add a stock cube or powder. You can get some good ones in the supermarkets now that aren't full of rubbish. Sprinkle this in and add a little water. Allow to simmer and you'll have a really tasty onion gravy.
- Serve at the table with the Toad in the Hole, mashed potatoes, greens and baked beans or maybe a green salad if you're feeling a little guilty!
1. There are very few timings in Jamie's method. Browning sausages in a hot oven took considerably longer than I would have imagined. But the quoted "50 minutes cooking time" is probably about right for a total cooking time.
2. My batter stuck. Why? I used a terracotta baking dish and wonder if metal might have been better.
3. I would use considerably less vinegar than stated in the recipe. Maybe just 1 tbsp, or use red wine instead. There is also no measurement of water to add. I wanted quite a lot of gravy for a family of 5 and know that you usually add 500ml water to a stock cube. So I added 300ml of just boiled water. I also wanted a slightly thick gravy so I added 2 level tbsp of plain flour to the cooked down onions just before adding the boiling water.