Recently I was intrigued by a post by my British blogging friends Lesley and Baz of their version of a traditional English meal, Toad in a Hole. You can go here and see their post: http://www.cookingwiththejoneses.com/node/836/
So, I had the “brilliant” idea that I would try it for myself, ala the Julie/Julia thing, and then show you the results, good or bad.
Well, you know how you will start out with a simple little plan, like making one dish, and then your mind starts working overtime, and you start adding and adding ideas, and pretty soon you have alot of other stuff going on too? Yes, that’s exactly what I did. And I ended up having my Midwestern version of an English meal for Hubby and me for brunch on Saturday.
Here’s the blow by blow of how I went from “Plan A”, making just one dish to try, to “Plan B”, trying to make the experimental dish feel “at home” by surrounding it with my version of an British table.
When I went to the grocery to get the ingredients for Toad in a Hole, I was suddenly inspired to look in the international aisle for something else British I could use to make this more than just a one-dish meal. What I came up with was a scone mix and lemon curd.
So, I came home and made the scones. I would serve them with the lemon curd and, hmmm, I wondered if I could make the clotted cream that I had had with them at the tea room ?
I went on allrecipes.com and looked for a recipe for clotted cream. The recipe I found said to whip heavy cream, and then add sour cream and powdered sugar. But, you know I’m going to look for a way to make that a little lighter, and with things I had on hand. So, for my clotted cream I combined light Cool Whip, light sour cream and a packet of Splenda. It was good, and actually tasted very much like what I remember clotted cream tasting like when I had it at the tea room.
So, our meal would be the egg casserole, I mean, the Toad in a Hole, and scones with clotted cream and lemon curd.
Then I remembered the tablecloth that my long ago British friend, Fiona, had given us for a wedding gift. This was certainly a good excuse to get it out of the cedar chest and enjoy it again.
We definitely had to have tea with our English meal so I got out this pretty little teapot that DD had given me.
I was on a roll now. Once I started looking in the china cabinet for things I could add to my English table, I found several things that seemed to fit the look.
Like these salt and pepper shakers my friend Shirley gave us for a wedding gift. I’ve always loved their pretty shape.
I would use this old glass plate for the scones.
I like the way the flowers on the tablecloth “colorized” the design on the plate.
I would need a hot pad for the casserole to set on, so I got out this one that Mama had crocheted at least 50 years ago.
Mama tried to show me how to crochet, but I just wasn’t interested, then. Now, I wish I had learned.
Hmmm. What about the middle of the table? It needed something.
I got out this little vase of silk flowers that somehow seemed appropriately British to me.
And this pretty little vase that DD brought me from her Venice trip that she had watched being blown.
And in decorating, they always tell you to group odd numbers of items, so for a third part of the centerpiece, I got out this glass hand that my friend Mary had given me when I retired.
Not exactly a typical grouping I guess, but I liked the way they were all in the same color group.
For the tea, I would use one of these that I bought last winter. Of course, they didn’t need to be on the table, but I did have them setting there for a while, just because I think they are in such pretty tins.
After I made the pot of tea, since I didn’t have a tea cozy, I used a thick kitchen towel. Now that I see it in a picture, I realize I could have done a much better job of wrapping the pot in the towel if I would have just taken a little more time. It looks like I just threw the towel on top, doesn’t it.
I was very pleased with how my second batch of scones came out, after I remembered to set the temperature on the oven at the “F” temperature … not the “C” temperature! The first batch ended up looking and tasting like some pathetic imitation of an under-baked sugar cookie! These however, in my humble opinion, were perfect! With my pseudo-clotted cream paired with strawberry preserves or the lemon curd, they were delicious.
So, there you have it … my version of an English brunch. Oh, wait a minute, I forgot the reason for all this … the Toad in the Hole!
This is a picture of a picture of the authentic Toad in a Hole that I was trying to replicate.
And here’s a picture of mine. When I saw how the sausage had poked out of the dough during baking, I wondered if that might be the reason for the name. Maybe someone thought it looked like a toad peeking out of a hole in the ground.
These are the steps:
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees (Faurenheit!).
Brown the sausages. I used a package of 12 of the small breakfast sausages. The recipe gives the option of wrapping a piece of bacon around each sausage and pre-baking them for a little while before assembling the casserole. I will try that next time.
Slice a large white onion and some mushrooms and saute them in olive oil.
Whisk together three large eggs, 3/4 C. milk and 3/4 C. flour until bubbles rise to the top.
Put the onion/mushroom combination in the bottom of a pre-heated 9×9 baking dish and put the sausages on top of that.
Pour the egg mixture over the sausages and then cover the top with sliced tomatoes. Bake at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
I got worried about it burning so I took it out of the oven, but I probably could have let it bake another few minutes to brown a little more.
The Toad in a Hole was good, although not as spicy as we tend to make our meals. But still, very good.
And we enjoyed the scones and tea with it.
Needless to say, a little fancier Saturday meal than we usually have, but it was a fun “experiment”.
And, while I was putting all this together, Hubby was out working in the yard. When he came in, he brought me a little last reminder of summer.
The only thing that would have made it better, would have been if it had been an English rose!