A friend of mine was suggesting something fun to cook in celebration of Ireland’s imminent victory played away against old rivals England in the 6 Nations Rugby Championship. One of us mentioned Toad in the Hole, as classic an English dish as one can find and a suitably juvenile play on words. There is a bit of the teenage sniggerer in many of us and when I found myself in the butcher’s later in the morning, I had to buy some Toulouse sausages (another pun, in case you didn’t get it) to make this simple and extremely lardy (Perhaps like the English rugby team?) dish.
Game time arrived and things went pretty OK with our brave Boys In Green holding the Saxon Army to 3 points to 0 at half time. The second half got off to the perfect start when a distant cousin of mine (for he is that) Rob Kearney ran in a perfectly worked try, subsequently converted to give us a 3 to 7 lead. A further 3 points from a Johnny Sexton (no relation but my eldest was in his class in college) stretched our lead to 3 points to 10. This was going to be sweet! We were on the road to giving them a good kicking and my evening meal would be great sport.
There is a saying in rugby that the game isn’t over until the final whistle blows (Not many fat ladies singing in rugby). England came back at us and brave Irish defending led to a penalty and 3 more points to the dastardly men in white. Soon thereafter, Danny Care (definitely no relation) scored a pretty impressive breakaway try and another non relation converted. 13 to 10. And so it remained until I slunk from the TV room to the kitchen to prepare the English classic Toad in the Hole with Onion Gravy.
The Toad in the Hole Ingredients
- 4 big fat Toulouse sausages
- 120 grammes of flour
- 120ml of milk
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
The Onion Gravy ingredients
- 3 onions
- A couple of cloves of garlic
- 250ml of beef stock (I used previously prepared ‘beef bombs’ and added water.)
- 250ml of cheap red wine (I could not bring myself to use good stuff with the taste of defeat in my mouth)
- Half a tablespoon of flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
First add some vegetable oil to an oven dish.
Place the sausages in and put them into a 200º C oven for 10 minutes. Use the 10 minutes to prepare the batter. First sieve the flour, add the eggs and milk.
Take out your pent-up frustration and defeat anxiety by beating them into a nice batter.
Take the half-cooked sausages out of the oven. and pour the batter around them.
Pop them back in the oven for another 25 minutes. Use that time to make the onion gravy. First chop the onion. I like mine cut thick for this. Chop the garlic fine. Add them to a medium hot pan with some olive oil. fry / reduce them for a while before adding the flour.
Add the stock or ‘beef bombs’ if yo have them and then the water if needed.
Add the wine, season and stir it all together and put on a lid and simmer until the Toad in the Hole is ready. Serve them together and try to put your bitter feelings aside.
England deserved their victory. But, think of the positives. Be proud of what Ireland has achieved. We have beaten both Wales and Scotland. Italy and France to come. We can still win the championship. Just next time, I will avoid getting my culinary celebration organised before we have something to celebrate. It really leaves a bitter taste. Toad in the Hole indeed. Mind you, we have them at home next year…