As an Australian, toad-in-the-hole didn’t play a big part in my culinary upbringing. Indeed, the first time I was really aware of it was when I first read The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ at the age of nine. Adrian’s best friend Nigel complained about toad-in-the-hole being served as a school dinner (something else we didn’t really do in Australia, land of the lunchboxes) – he got in trouble for saying it was “all bleedin’ hole and no toad”. But my toad-in-the-hole would hopefully please Nigel as it is packed with loads of goodness.
Instead of just baking a few bangers in batter, I like to throw in an assortment of vegetables – it is an easy way to get your five-a-day and, if you anticipate leftovers, it means you throw this together once and then you don’t need to cook up any accompaniments the next day. Just bung the leftovers in the microwave or gently warm through in the oven the next day. Easy! The batter serves as the carbohydrates base for a festival of bangers and veg in this toad-in-the-hole.
This particular fully loaded toad-in-the-hole features onions, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, red pepper and mushrooms for the added vegetables, but pretty much any vegetable you fancy will work here. It is a great way to use up vegetables before they turn to compost in the fridge.
I covered the toad-in-the-hole in a coating of grated cheese, using a mix of red Leicester and some lovely onion-infused cheese that my Munching Matilda partner, Sam, gave me as part of a very generous present after my husband and I fostered Lucy the Boy Cat for a couple of weeks.
I served it with Vegemite gravy – it’s a simple butter-and-flour roux, a couple of crushed garlic cloves and a good dollop of Vegemite, with boiling water stirred through until it was the consistency I like.
And, of course, if you don’t eat meat, this toad-in-the-hole works just as well with meat-free sausages and topped with a bacon alternative and vegan cheese.