Toad in the Hole

If you believe some cookery writers, Toad in the Hole - this generous dish of hot, crispy batter with flavoursome pork sausages - goes back to Roman times! Most of us will have first encountered Toad in the Hole as children and the name would have convinced us that it was fun to eat. But it's a wonderful meal for grown-ups too. Delicious and easy to prepare, it's also a thrifty way of feeding a crowd.Served with lashings of onion gravy and green peas on the side, this is autumn dining at its best.

Toad in the hole is a traditional English dish consisting of sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter, usually served with vegetables and onion gravy.

The origin of the name "Toad-in-the-Hole" is often disputed. Many suggestions are that the dish's resemblance to a toad sticking its head out of a hole provides the dish with its somewhat unusual name. It is also sometimes called frog in a toad. An 1861 recipe by Charles Elme Francatelli does not mention sausages, instead including as an ingredient "6d. or 1s. worth of bits and pieces of any kind of meat, which are to be had cheapest at night when the day's sale is over." An even earlier recipe is found in Hannah Glasse's 1747 The Art of Cookery, where she presents a recipe for Pigeons in a Hole, essentially Pigeons cooked in a Yorkshire pudding batter. A wartime variation on the original uses pieces of Spam in place of sausages.

The recipe itself is rather simple. A pan is placed into the oven and heated for about 15 minutes while the batter is prepared. The sausages and batter are added and cooked for half an hour. With frozen sausages, the meat is placed into the dish while heated. It is normally accompanied by gravy (often onion gravy), vegetables and potatoes, often mashed.