A Midwestern Toad in a Hole!


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.

100_5450r   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.

100_5465s   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.

100_5478c   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.

100_5480g  Like these salt and pepper shakers my friend Shirley gave us for a wedding gift.  I’ve always loved their pretty shape.

100_5481c   I would use this old glass plate for the scones. 

100_5481cf   I like the way the flowers on the tablecloth “colorized” the design on the plate.

100_5482c   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.

100_5550v   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.

100_5547v   I got out this little vase of silk flowers that somehow seemed appropriately British to me.

100_5486  And this pretty little vase that DD brought me from her Venice trip that she had watched being blown.

100_5483v   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.

100_5499v   Not exactly a typical grouping I guess, but I liked the way they were all in the same color group.

100_5491c   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.

100_5520g   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.

100_5529y   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!

100_5501h   This is a picture of a picture of the authentic Toad in a Hole that I was trying to replicate.

100_5532g   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!).

100_5508v   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.

100_5513v   Slice a large white onion and some mushrooms and saute them in olive oil.

100_5515b   Whisk together three large eggs, 3/4 C. milk and 3/4 C. flour until bubbles rise to the top.

100_5514   Put the onion/mushroom combination in the bottom of a pre-heated 9×9 baking dish and put the sausages on top of that.

100_5517v   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.

100_5534f   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.

100_5538f   The Toad in a Hole was good, although not as spicy as we tend to make our meals.  But still, very good. 

100_5536   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.

100_5528c   The only thing that would have made it better, would have been if it had been an English rose!

17 Responses to A Midwestern Toad in a Hole!

  1. Hilary says:

    What a fun post. You did a great job of making this meal your own. I found my tummy rumbling – and I don’t even like sausages! I love the way you went all out to make it an English brunch – Sandra style! The rose is lovely!

  2. Sandra says:

    Hilary — I really had fun doing it. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Michael says:

    hello, love the blog. If you love british food check out my blog:


  4. Sandra says:

    Michael — Thanks for stopping by. I’ll definitely pay your blog a visit! 🙂

  5. cathy says:

    wow! If I’d tried all that, we’d have had breakfast at 8:00 PM!!

    Very lovely. When I come visit you, I want this exact table setting! 🙂

  6. It’s always fun to see people enjoying the novelty of things we take for granted! I made toad-in-the-hole for Finnish friends once, and they just couldn’t stop laughing at the name.

  7. Belinda says:

    From the look of your table, it appears that you had a lovely brunch for two. Have a great week!

  8. Sandra says:

    Cathy — I PROMISE you, if you will come and visit (we have an empty bedroom just sitting there waiting!), I’ll do exactly the same table setting. And it will be even more fun, because I KNOW YOU would appreciate it more than Hubby did. It’s kind of a girl thing, isn’t it. We could send Sam and Hubby out on the deck to eat something on the grill — which I’m pretty sure they would enjoy alot more!:)

  9. Sandra says:

    Rachel — Isn’t it really interesting how we often find things that we aren’t familiar with funny? I thought this was a really odd name when I first heard it too, but I’m becoming more familiar with it (mainly because I’ve now made it), and am much more accepting of its name. Do you know how the name came about?

  10. Sandra says:

    Belinda — And you KNOW how Hubby LOVES that fru-fru stuff! 🙂

  11. Karen says:

    Those do look good. Scones, jam and cram and toad-in-the-hole are amongst my favourite comfort foods..

  12. Katharine says:

    THAT’S toad-in-the-hole? I never knew. Now I’ll have to try it, but like Cathy said, it probably won’t be on the table until supper time!

  13. lynn says:

    What a lovely Saturday meal, and a beautiful table you set! Now I want to make scones and lemon curd and clotted cream and toad in the hole. And get a fancy tablecloth and some nice vases and some pretty tea tins 🙂 I know all that must have taken quite a bit of effort, but when you think that you already had all the decorative items on hand, it probably was a fairly inexpensive way to make such a special meal. Great job! Thanks for the inspiration for me to fancy things up a little.

  14. Sandra says:

    Karen — You mean I actually hit on what is USUALLY served with toad-in-the-hole? Great!

    Katharine — It really wasn’t hard. If I hadn’t got into all the table stuff, it would have really been a very simple meal.

    Lynn — I certainly didn’t start out thinking I was going to do all that. But, as you said, since I had it all on hand, it was kind of fun to just drag it all out and see what kind of table I could come up with! 🙂

  15. lesley says:

    Oh Sandra, you’ve done such a good job with this! It reminds me of my Grandmother’s on a Sunday. Although we have moved into the 21st century lol. I have to let you into a secret…if you open the oven door when the toad is cooking, your batter won’t rise, don’t worry it won’t burn, it needs to be on the top shelf. If you try it again, make it in a baking tin, to get maximum heat round it, you’ll find the batter rises above the tin & becomes crispy crunchy. Hope that makes sense. Here’s a bit about the origin of “Toad in the Hole”
    I love trying new things, so leave the light on for me please, I’ll be back to see what’s cooking :o)

  16. Sandra says:

    Lesley — I’m going to print off your suggestions and put them with the recipe so that I can adjust it the next time I make it. I think I will add the bacon too. This was fun. Thanks for inspiring me! 🙂

  17. lesley says:

    You are most welcome Sandra!
    Have a peaceful evening :0)

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