Thursday, 2 February 2012

Toad in the Hole

One of the things that I miss most about my Grandma was her perceptiveness of when something was wrong.  She had an uncanny knack of knowing in advance when I was going to have a bad day and she always seemed to manage to cook 'Cheering Up Dinner' on those days, before I came home from school/college/work with another tale of woe.

Healthy food.  One of my five a day :)
Cheering Up Dinner was either her Roast Chicken or Sausage and Potato Bake.  Both were simple meals to make, but the love that went into making them always made them that little bit more special.

She'd probably be horrified by me publicly writing some of the things I've written about on my blog.  She always used to tell me not to try not to wear my heart on my sleeve.  She was a very private person and I don't ever remember her seeing her cry.  It wasn't that she didn't care, but she'd been bought up to have a stiff upper lip and she was my rock throughout my turbulent early years.

That's why I still miss her so much today, even though she passed away nearly eight years ago.  Especially on bad days.  And even more so when those bad days happen to be Thursdays.

So today, I decided on another of my favourite meals that she used to make.  Toad in the Hole.  I watched her make it many times, but I wouldn't have a clue how to make it without a recipe.  Hers was different in that she made it in a Pyrex casserole dish, and rather than the batter being crispy, it was full of top quality pork sausagemeat and rib-sticking stodgy Yorkshire pudding batter (it was a good four inches deep!).

My mum will tell you that she hates Toad.  It's because of the stodge.  But until I asked her to make it for me one day, I never knew that it could be all lovely and crispy.  See my mum, the ex-chef, makes it the proper way.  And apparently she likes it like this (although never makes it for herself).

Of course, none of the recipes available were rib-stickers like my Grandma used to make.  So I went for one from Good Food - mostly because it's easier to look at the recipe on the phone rather than heft a huge Cookery Bible into the midst of the unpacking of the weekly shop (Ocado were late again).  Pretty much all of the recipes I read were the same except some added herbs, some added mustard.  Despite this recipe using mustard, I chose not to because I couldn't be faffed to dig around in the back of the cupboard for it.

The other tradition I went for was serving it with Cauliflower Cheese.  We always had this.  I'm sure Toad with onion gravy and mash is lovely, but we always always had it with cauli cheese.  And although it was crispy rather than stodgy, I really enjoyed it as it didn't leave me feeling like a weeble.

A real special treat to end a rather pants day.  And worth every single one of the five miles I ran at 5am in -3 temperature without gloves (could only find one) and in 3/4 length running tights (couldn't find the long ones in the dark).

Once I'm back to my 'happy' weight, this is definitely going on the treat list - especially for Rubbish Thursdays.

Recipe can be found here.

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