For some weird reason, I always think that the British classic, Toad in the Hole, is perfect for a Saturday Lunch. Not Sunday or Monday, or even Thursday for that matter. Saturday. I can't exactly explain why, there's probably a regressive, childhood thing going on there. Toad in the Hole is easy to make. It's filling. It's cheap. It's also delicious. This is Comfort Food at its best.
If you happen to be American, you are probably now wondering how on earth us Brits can eat one of those slimey, knobbly creatures? Sort of less appealing then a French grenouille, I hear you cry. But as much as I am curious to sample one of those tantalising little critters, the 'toad' is, in all probability, English slang for sausage. It's a bit like Welsh Rabbit (which ain't a rabbit), or Scotch Woodcock (which ain't a woodcock, either).
Back to the Toad: Heat your oven to 220C (425F). Get hold of some decent, fat, organic sausages and chuck them into a roasting tin with a few knobs of lard. You could have fun experimenting with different types of sausage. The better your sausage, the better your Toad in the Hole will taste. Cook the sausages in the oven for about ten minutes. My latest sausage discovery has been Sainsbury's Taste the Difference British Pork & Caramelised Red Onion Sausages. These are utterly delicious! Sweet, juicy, slightly spicy, lots of lovely caramelised flavours going on in there.
Meanwhile, mix up the batter. Sieve 4oz (110g) of self raising flour into a bowl, and add a pinch of salt and some pepper. Make a hole or a "well" in the centre of the flour, and pour in 5 fluid oz (150ml) of semi-skimmed milk into the hole. Crack in an egg, too. Mix the flour, milk, and egg up very gradually with a wooden spoon. Beat well, and then add the same amount of milk, again. Pour the finished batter over the sausages, and cook them in the oven for a further 45 minutes or so, until the Toad is risen and browned.
The Onion Gravy is a cinch. You slice up some onions, and brown them in a frying pan. If you add a few pinches of sugar and salt, this will help them to caramelise. You want them to get brown and a bit burnt. This is a good thing. Add a tablespoon of flour, and let it cook in the oniony fat. Once the onions and flour are brown enough, you can deglaze the pan with some stock, water, and perhaps, a slug or two of white wine. Instead of gravy browning (what's that?), I use a few drops of Soy Sauce, which will give the gravy an even richer colour and taste. A teaspoon of redcurrent jelly is not a bad plan, either. Onion Gravy should be thin.