Toad in the Hole – and the arrival of the veg box
The veg box arrived today. $20 plus delivery, for two enormous bags of fresh locally-grown veg, and a huge red cabbage, the size of a football. In addition to the cabbage was: a giant bok choy, a whole cos lettuce, an iceberg lettuce, a fancy lettuce, spring onions, carrots, 4 whole beetroot, a head of fennel, 4 courgettes and a massive bunch of spinach. The frilly lettuce will go soft first, so that was included in the lunchtime sandwiches, while I planned what next to use.
I’ve never cooked beetroot or fennel before. Hubs and son hate courgette (so that needs to be disguised), and my only previous experience with bok choy was a dismal stir-fry. I settled down with a cup of tea and google, for ideas.
I had a packet of beef sausages to use for dinner, and I’d already planned Toad in the Hole. If you’ve never encountered this quaintly named dish, it’s basically sausages embedded in a large tray of Yorkshire pudding. I’ve no idea where the name came from, but it’s most likely a Yorkshire thing.
I resorted to another old and much-used cookery book for my batter recipe. Delia Smith’s Toad recipe works every time.
To get the ingredients, check Delia’s website here:
To go with it, and to make a dent in the fresh veg, I roasted a medley of vegetables. Sounds posh? It was simply half a dozen small potatoes, washed and cut into chunks still in their skin, mixed with three carrots, washed and chopped, and two of the beetroot, washed, peeled and chopped. I cut everything into similar sized chunks, approx. 2 – 3 cm wide. I dumped the lot into a large roasting tin, sprinkled with a little olive oil and a splash of balsamic, freshly ground pepper and sea salt, and then roasted at the bottom of a hot oven for around an hour, shaking occasionally.
This left the top of the oven for the Toad. I started the sausages in a frying pan, to give them some colour, then heated a smaller roasting tin for them, while mixing the batter.
I made mushroom gravy with a handful of finely chopped mushrooms, as son hates anything with onion in it.
To go with it all, I shredded some of the bok choy leaves, and steamed them for a minute, before adding a little fresh, cold butter and a grind of black pepper. It tasted remarkably like spinach.
Dinner was good! Hubs and son both enjoyed the roasted veg, and agreed they’d eat beetroot again. For my part, the roasted beetroot chunks were AMAZING. Sweet and tender, crispy-salty on the outside but moist in the middle, and they left pink tracks across the plate, that muddled with the gravy. I already love the roasted carrot / potato combo, and I will definitely add beetroot next time.
We’re close to halfway through the planned Lockdown period already. The last two weeks have flown by, and I have to check what day it is by looking at my phone. Our thoughts turn to questions of what will happen at the end of the four-week period. Will we be able to shop normally? Will there be flour in the supermarkets again? Will we revert back to takeaways, or will I be prepared enough to do a mass-cooking session and fill the freezer with homemade meals? I’d like to think so 😊
New Zealand is under Lockdown for at least four weeks. This blog intends to avoid the bad news about rising numbers of victims. It focuses instead on food, and the challenges of cooking fresh meals every day – with the ingredients from my larder. A much nicer message 😊