Toad in the Hole

Toad in the Hole

Toad in the Hole

Toad in the Hole is one of my favourite dishes. The one in the picture may look slightly different to most Toads in the Hole because I’ve used chipolata sausages rather than the usual ‘six to a pound’ size sausages. The reason for this is that I prefer beef sausages in my Toad in the Hole to the more usual pork. In the past I was able to buy superb full size beef sausages from a stall holder on my local Farmers’ Market but he’s now retired and is no more. Now the only decent tasting ones I can find are Waitrose Beef Chipolatas and sadly they don’t do a full size version.

For the batter I beat together 140g plain flour, 4 eggs, 200ml milk and salt and pepper. The first rule of good Yorkshire Pudding and therefore Toad in the Hole making is to keep everything very hot all the time. The second is that it will never work in a china or glass Pyrex dish it must be a metal dish, the heavier the better (see rule one, as the ingredients are added to a heavy dish it wont cool down so much).

Put a generous amount of beef dripping if you have it, otherwise sunflower oil, into the pan and place in the oven at 220C until it is truly hot. I then add the sausages for a few minutes so that things comply with rule one and the sausages warm a bit and wont cool the batter when it’s added. Next remove the dish from the oven and place it on the stove over a medium heat before pouring in the batter. Return to the oven for about 25 minutes.

I eat Toad in the Hole with a rich onion gravy and some freshly boiled greens such as curly kale. Make sure these are ready by the the time the Toad in the Hole is cooked because it does not improve by being kept hanging around.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice-Cream

Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice-Cream

Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice-Cream

I don’t know if Ben & Jerry or Häagen-Dazs have ever offered a Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice-Cream, if they haven’t they should. Very, very yummy!

This was my first attempt at Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice-Cream and I’m pretty much satisfied with the result. I don’t think I’m going to tinker with the recipe and will certainly add it to my list of make again ice-creams. The recipe made about 1 litre. It’s made as two separate elements which are then combined at the end.

Firstly, the Peanut Butter Ice-Cream Ingredients:
250ml Whole milk
250ml Double cream
130g Granulated sugar
130g Smooth peanut butter

Put the cream, milk and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter making sure that it’s completely dissolved. Leave to cool.

Ingredients for the Strawberry Jelly
400g Fresh strawberries
3tbs Water
75g granulated sugar
2tsp Cornflour mixed with 1tbs Water

Chop the strawberries up and mix in a saucepan with the sugar and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes before mashing everything up. Add the cornflour and bring back to the boil for a moment. Leave to cool and then chill in the fridge.

Make the Peanut Butter Ice-Cream using whatever method you like (freeze/stir/freeze etc or by using an ice-cream maker/stirrer). Put ‘dollops’ of ice-cream into a plastic container along with ‘dollops’ of the Strawberry Jelly so that one is interspersed with the other but not stirred together. Place in the freezer to fully freeze.

Dal, Carrot Chutney and Butternut Squash Patties

Dal, Carrot Chutney and Butternut Squash Patties

Dal, Carrot Chutney and Butternet Squash Patties

The recipe for Dal, Carrot Chutney and Butternut Squash Patties which follows is taken without alteration from the Daily Telegraph. I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter and although I enjoyed it I’ll make one major change next time – no Tamarind. The dal before the addition of the tamarind was sweet and earthy, just how I like it. I know that tamarind is the predominant favouring in HP Sauce, which I don’t particularly like, but I still put it into the Dal to see if I’d like it! Another comment I’ll make is that the amount of Carrot Chutney, if you follow the recipe, is far more than you need for the recipe quantities of Dal and Patties. Best of the three dishes? The Butternut Squash Patties which were also nice the day after eaten cold.

Serves 4-6
Tamarind Dal
200g mung dal or yellow split peas
250g tomatoes, grated or liquidised
2 green chillies, chopped
4cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ tsp ground turmeric
the juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
a handful of fresh
curry leaves
sunflower oil
2 tbsp melted butter

Carrot chutney
500g carrots, grated
450g golden granulated sugar
400ml malt vinegar
100g fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp mustard seeds
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbsp flaked almonds

Crisp squash patties
500g butternut squash, grated
5 tbsp gram (chickpea) flour
2 mild red chillies, chopped
a handful of chopped coriander
1 tsp nigella seeds
oil for frying

Wash the dal in a sieve under the cold tap until the water becomes clearer. Bring one litre of water to the boil then add the dal, tomatoes, chillies, ginger, garlic, turmeric and a teaspoon of salt. Simmer for about 25 minutes, until the grains soften and break up. Whisk to make a smooth mash then add the lime and tamarind. Before serving, fry the curry leaves in a little oil over a medium heat so they do not burn. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and scatter over the top of the dal. Dribble on the melted butter and eat with hot naan breads.

To make the carrot chutney, boil all the ingredients together, with salt to taste, until syrupy. Allow to cool.

To make the crisp squash patties, mix all the ingredients together and then heat some oil in a pan over a medium heat. Drop a tablespoonful of the mixture in the pan, flatten with a spoon and fry on each side until golden on the outside and soft on the inside.

Lamb Shank with Root Vegetables

Lamb Shank with Root Vegetables

Lamb Shank with Root Vegetables was dinner yesterday evening. I first browned the shanks in a little oil in a Le Creuset casserole pan and roughly chopped two celery stalks, two carrots, an onion and peeled two cloves of garlic. When the shanks were browned I removed them and put all the vegetables into the pan and cooked on a high heat for 3 or 4 minutes before adding a sprig each of parsley and rosemary and six whole peppercorns.

I then added a glass of red wine to the pan and boiled it hard until reduced and syrupy. Then again with a second glass of red wine. Doing this gives a wonderful richness to the finished sauce without the nasty raw flavour of red wine which comes from not reducing it first. Finally I added some stock and returned the shanks to the pan, put the lid on and put it into the oven at 150c for 2 hours.

After two hours I removed the pan from the oven, took the shanks out of the pan, and strained the liquid off. The shanks and strained liquid were then returned to the pan to which was added newly chopped fresh vegetables (these were carrots and swede in my case), a few peeled shallots since I didn’t have any small onions and some small whole potatoes. Then back into the oven for another 45 minutes or so.

This was how we ate the shanks last night but, had we had some, I’d have enjoyed a few boiled greens with the dish.