Tag Archives: Yorkshire puddings

Meals for not much: toad in the hole

There are very few areas in which I feel on solid culinary ground. But the Yorkshire pudding, or anything involving Yorkshire pudding mix, is definitely one of them. It’s not a skill; it’s heritage. I might pronounce ‘bath’ the long-vowel way now (CURSE YOU, SOUTH-EAST), but under the skin I am still a Yorkshire woman. I know what parkin is; surely that should qualify me.

Anyway, toad-in-the-hole is one of the greats. Cheap and comforting, involving good quality sausages buried in a veritable mound of Yorkshire pudding. As we normally have milk, eggs and flour in the house, all we need to buy is sausages. I don’t usually measure out quantities when I make this, but today I was precise as you please. Here’s the recipe.

1. Preheat the oven to 220 C (about 430 F). Take out a large rectangular casserole dish, ceramic or pyrex, and grease it thoroughly. The best thing to use is lard, but if you’re squeamish about lard, you could use vegetable shortening or vegetable oil. Plop six to eight sausages in the bottom. Six is ample, eight is voluptuous. See how you feel.

2. Put the dish with the sausages in it in the oven for 20 mins. You could also, if you wanted, add chopped onion. If so, put the sausages in the oven first, then add the onion ten minutes later.

3. For the Yorkshire pudding mix, break three eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add 400 ml milk and water, in whatever ratio you want. I always thought that milk and water was the accepted recipe; now I think my parents might just have wanted to save on milk. I usually do half and half, but using all milk would be fine too.

4. Add 160 g plain (all-purpose) flour, a little at a time, whisking energetically. For English readers: do not use self-raising, unless you want flat Yorkshire pudding. And no one does, honest. Your mixture is done when you can lift the whisk, and the batter flows smoothly down into the bowl in a glub-glub-glub fashion, rather than dripping like water. Whisk in a circular motion, so you can put as much air into the mixture as possible. The more air, the higher the pudding goes.

5. Once the sausages have been in the oven for twenty minutes, take out the casserole dish, toss in the Yorkshire pudding mixture all over those babies, and put back in. Do this as quickly as possible. Once they’re in, RESIST the temptation to open the oven door. It is a fatal mistake.

6. Take it out after about 25 minutes, or when the Yorkshire pudding is mountainous and golden. Serve with vegetables (optional) and gravy (mandatory). Feeds four greedy people, or two for two days.

Enjoy!

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Sunday

Sunday means matching shirts.

Often it means getting crosser and crosser the later we are for church, but today I was in a delightful zingy mood after I zipped up one of my (larger) pre-pregnancy skirts and it did NOT result in a flesh volcano. Woo! So I decided not to mind very much about the lateness, and danced Henry around to Postman Pat for ten minutes when we should’ve been sterilising bottles and such. It was one of those days.

It was also one of those days where you get halfway through making roast pork and remember a) you don’t know how to make roast pork; and b) you don’t really like roast pork. I hacked it to pieces, cooked it for far longer than necessary, and decided not to mind very much about this either, since the Yorkshire puddings were quite shamelessly outshining everyone else in the room with their brilliance.

Pork crackling is lovely, don’t you think? As long as you don’t remember what you’re eating while you’re eating it. Also, sometimes you get a piece that is chewy instead of crispy, and then you end up chewing this endless glutenous mass for minutes and minutes, until you start to worry that you’ll never be able to swallow it and move on to your mashed potatoes.

Even though I tried very hard this time, I still made too much Yorkshire pudding mix. So there was obviously nothing else to do but make toffee sauce pancakes for tea.

Here is what Henry thinks about toffee pork milk:

Each to their own, I suppose.

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Home is where the Sculpture Park is

The Americans would laugh, but sometimes the distance between north and south in this country feels like a continent.

We made an unscheduled trip to West Yorkshire this weekend, to visit my dear, lovely, seriously ill grandma. We hadn’t been up there for well over a year, and I hadn’t seen Grandma for longer than that. It was an unsettling return, at first. The roads were familiar but not: I knew them, but couldn’t visualise where they led to. Even the buildings looked different: the older churches and factories are made from a blackened, ancient-looking stone that I’d forgotten about until I saw it again. I kept wanting to go somewhere that was home, then remembering that it didn’t exist anymore. We drove to the hospital, and I was pelted with fragments of childhood memory that were welcome and disturbing in equal measure.

And then – family. A precious afternoon with my grandma, then an evening with cousins and their little families, who’ve known me longer than just about anyone. What a release it was, not to have to be impressive or charming or competent. They all, without exception, call me ‘Rach’, something I haven’t managed to get anyone down here to do, even after seven years of trying. I could’ve cried with relief, though I didn’t, as I was too busy eating sausage, mash and Yorkshire puddings (of course).

The next afternoon we took my sister to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Acres of land dotted with hundreds of works of art, and a brilliant place to while away a Sunday afternoon. Which we know perfectly well, because we spent half our Sunday afternoons here as children. We ate a picnic under our favourite gigantic metal statue of three duelling, holey giants, then took the old trail we remembered. It was an utter, joyous delight, an oasis of childhood in the middle of an often humdrum adult existence.

We belong wherever we are loved.

That was then...

...This is now.

And now – back to normality. When I think about the number of things I’ve got to do this month, all the air gets squashed out of my lungs. So I don’t think about it. It’s bad for the running.

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