St. George & Toad in the Hole

The original recipe for Toad in the Hole has nothing to do with sausages. For St. George’s Day we get back to a more traditional (and yummy) version.

This April 23rd (as every year!) is St George’s Day – the patron Saint of (to name just a few countries) England, Georgia, Malta and Gozo, Portugal and Catalunya!

George! (and a bit of William)

Very little is known about the life of St. George that is not myth and legend; he represents traditional English chivalry and bravery, but he was not actually English – in reality he never even set foot on English soil!

George is believed to have been born in Palestine in the 3rd Century AD to Christian parents. He lived in Lydda, near modern day Tel Aviv and joined the Roman army, where he rose quickly through the ranks.

Unfortunately this was not an age of great religious tolerance and George was a Christian in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was tortured and eventually executed by beheading on the 23rd April 303 AD for refusing to renounce his Christian faith by Emperor Diocletian (who had developed a distaste for Christians).

Eleven hundred years later the heroic tale of St George was popularised in a book called The Golden Legend, published in 1483. The decision to make him patron saint was made by King Edward III when he formed the Order of the Garter in St George’s name in 1350; the highest order of chivalry and the third most prestigious honour (inferior only to the Victoria Cross and George Cross) in England and the United Kingdom. April 23, the date of his death in 303 AD, was adopted in the early 15th Century, as the date of the annual celebration.
*Trivia* The George badge is a gold, richly enamelled representation of St George on horseback slaying the Dragon and is worn suspended from the collar.

For some reason St George’s day is (by the English) not celebrated as patriotically as those of other saints e.g. St Patrick (who was also not Irish). We however need very little encouragement to celebrate and so, we thought it would only be right to embrace the day of St George in true English fashion.

Thumbing through the pages of one of our treasured recipe books, imagine our delight when we found a traditional recipe for Toad in the Hole, an English favourite that in this incarnation surprisingly contains beef rather than the all too familiar sausage.

Our version of this great English dish is based on an 1817 recipe written by William Kitchiner M.D. Amongst other things Kitchiner was an optician, an inventor of telescopes and was by all accounts an outstanding cook. He is attributed with the first recipe for the “potato chip” and is also the creator of wow-wow sauce (parodied in the hilarious Discworld novels). What a guy!

So enough with the lecture and on with the grub!

The recipe

Many people will tell you that cooking a Yorkshire pudding that rises as it should is really difficult, but it isn’t – if you follow the recipe you will get something that rises every time.

Serve the Toad in the Hole with whatever you fancy, root veg are popular. We ate it with some sweetheart cabbage that had been lightly boiled and tossed in garlic and butter, and a generous amount of rich onion gravy.

Ingredients

  • Beef dripping60 g
  • Rump steak450 g
  • Medium eggs3
  • Milk350 ml
  • Plain flour185 g
  1. Start off by making the batter. Whisk together the eggs and milk, then slowly add the sifted flour, whisking all the time until you have a smooth batter. Cover and leave to rest for about half an hour

  2. …meanwhile…

  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Once it is up to temperature, put the dripping into a deep baking pan or ovenproof dish about 20-25cm square, and put it into the oven for about 15 minutes so that the dripping gets ridiculously hot.

  4. Slice the raw steak into thin strips and season well with salt, black pepper and a little English mustard powder.

  5. half an hour later

  6. Take the pan out of the oven and carefully pour about a quarter of of the batter into the tin, it should be just enough to cover the bottom. Pop it back into the oven and cook for a few minutes until it has lightly set.

  7. Lay the strips of steak on top of the set batter in the pan, pour over the rest of the batter and return it to the oven for about another 45 minutes.

  8. When done it will be crisp, brown and puffy and it should come out of the dish easily without sticking.

2 thoughts on “St. George & Toad in the Hole

  • May 12, 2016 at 11:23 am
    Permalink

    Never heard of cooking the batter at the bottom before adding the meat before, it’s a good idea. I’ll stick to my sausages but am going to give that method a go.

    Reply
  • May 23, 2016 at 2:34 pm
    Permalink

    First time I’ve seen cooking part of the batter first. I love toad in the hole but might give this recipe a go!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *