Toad In The Hole

Thursday 16 July 2009

A delightful and tasty recipe I discovered shortly after I arrived here was a lovely dish called Toad in the Hole. I had often heard about this British delicacy but had never had any idea of what it was let alone ever had the chance to try it. I soon learned that it had nothing to do with holes, dirt, or even toads for that matter!

The origin of the name 'Toad-in-the-Hole' is quite vague. Most suggestions are that the dish's resemblance to a toad sticking its little head out of a hole provide the dish with its somewhat unusual name.

From wilkepedia I learned that Toad in the hole originated in the town of Alnmouth in Northumberland. Alnmouth has a links golf course which can at certain times of the year be overrun with Natterjack toads. It was at just such a time, that a golf tournament was being played and the leader made his put only to have the ball promply ejected by a rather vexed toad that had been quietly asleep in the bottom of the cup. On hearing of the players misfortune, the chef at the towns hotel where the players were staying devised the dish, thinking it would resemble a toad rising from the eighteenth, and served it that night.

Now that is what you call a dish with an interesting history to go along with it. But then again, I am discovering that this is true of most of the food over here. It all has a lovely history to go along with it, which is truly delightful!

I found a recipe in a Delia cookbook, her "How to Cook" series and I tried it out. (You can always rely on Delia) This was the cadillac of Toad in the Hole recipes and included a lovely version of an onion gravy as well. I was hooked!!! It quickly became a family favourite, although I have since found a much easier way of doing it.

To be sure, it is quite simply sausages baked in the oven with a delicious Yorkshire pudding batter baked around them, but there is an art to making a good one. I made this for my boys the first time they came over for a visit and they fell in love with it. I always serve it with mashed potatoes and steamed carrots . . . and a good gravy is a must!!!

*Toad In The Hole*
Serves 2 to 3
Printable Recipe

2 large Eggs
4 oz (125g) Plain Flour
1/4 Pint (150ml) Milk
1/4 Pint (150ml) Cold Water
Salt & Pepper
6 Good Quality Herby Sausages of your choosing (I like Cumberland myself)
2 tbsp Lard or Dripping or Cooking Oil*

On a low heat cook the Sausages in a frying pan on all sides until nicely browned and sticky. Do not prick the skins! Allow to cool.

Crack open the eggs into a large measuring jug and beat well. Add the milk and water together, mixing it all together really well. Set aside.

Sift the the flour into a large bowl and season with a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Make a well in the centre. Gradually whisk in the liquid mixture, whisking until you have a stiff but smooth batter with no lumps. Allow to rest for half an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 205*C/425*F. Slip the lard or oil into a deep sided baking tin and place just this in the oven. Once it is quite hot and the fat is sizzling, quickly, but carefully, take it out and rest on the top of the hob. Pour in the Batter mixture. Then add the Sausages, parallel to each other, the length of the tin.

Place back into the oven and bake for around half an hour until the batter is puffed up, golden brown and crispy. Serve cut into squares with fluffy mashed potatoes and a delicious gravy of your own choosing.


  1. I love Toad in the Hole. It's one of those staples of the English table that I think everybody has their own recipe for. I like to serve it with peppery white cabbage but it is de rigeur to have mashed potato and gravy. Gotta have mash! After a good plateful you won't want any PUDDING (see Oak Cottage), just a nice comfy armchair by the fire to sleep it off!

    love, Angie, xx

    1. It is true that the origins of "Toad in the hole" came from golf but I,ve read that it was at Embleton golf club on the coast of Northumberland 18th Century in a golf tournament a frog or toad jumped from the hole as the ball was entering. This enraged the golfer who flattened it with his putter was disqualified for ungentlmanly behaviour! The chef that night concocted a dish of sausages and batter pudding in recognition of the bizarre event naming it toad in the hole. I,ve heard Peter Allis telling the story so it must be true. Alan Wright

    2. The Sauage cooks on top of the batter? Yes No

    3. Butterfly Cottage, you panfry the sausage first until browned all over and then you lay the sausages in the batter and cook in the oven. For this recipe you must precook the sausages first. The baking pan with some fat is heated in the oven until sizzling, then the batter is poured into the hot pan and the sausages quickly laid over top and the whole thing goes back into the oven for another half hour until the batter is crispand golden, and the sausages are completely cooked.

  2. I was at your other blog earlier. This blog of your is equally lovely too. I heard of toad in the hole when an English friend mentioned it many yrs ago but did not know what it is. Now, I do. I shall keep visiting your lovely, lovely blogs. I can imagine it must be really pretty where you live :)

  3. Dear Marie I discover thee English Kitchen with DELIA SITE I have lovely friends there and I love her kitchen!!!This look amazing and nice, xoxoxoxoxo Gloria

  4. I want to love your site but it attacked me with music.

  5. I can't wait to try this!
    I'm going to try to make it for our gathering in Boston on te 16th.
    Btw, who sings this song?

  6. I find it best to make the batter without water. Simply beat 3 eggs till fluffy, then add in about 3/4 cup of flour and mix well - add milk to pancake consistency and beat well. Set aside for half hour. I use the same recipe for Yorkshire puddings.
    FYI your music although lovely maybe construed by some as intrusive.

  7. Lovely, lovely blog, and an excellent perspective, but the music is atrociously intrusive.

  8. i am trying your recipe today, after using my own for years.
    the poster who doesnt like the music, if you dont want to hear it turn your pc's sound off.

  9. Toad in then the hole with mash and gravy it is for tonight! We had watched a DVD of "Dads Army" last week was part of the "plot". Had Toad in a Hole many times when stationed in UK, 50 years ago. Here in Seattle area real( british) sausage is available.
    Jack, Mukilteo WA

  10. Simon, Princeton NJ29 November 2010 at 17:22

    I'm very fond of TitH, I like a sprinkle of herbs in the batter, and a half tsp of white pepper in the gravy gives it a wonderful warming flavour for winter.

  11. I love your site and wanted to know what can I use in a recipe for Faggots and peas instead of Pig's Caul? Also what other liver would you recommend instead of pig's liver? thanks for the help.

  12. I'm sorry anonymous, but there is no suitable substitution for either of those things without compromising the recipe. If you want a traditional faggot it must be pig's caul and liver.

  13. Thanks a ton for sharing this recipe.
    Used it to develop an Irish varient that I have called Frog in the Bog

  14. I love toad in the hole with sliced red onions scattered into the batter.......yummy

  15. I love Toad 'int Hole.
    My Mother used to cook it slightly different in the 1950's and 1960's.
    Instead of whole sausages, she used to buy sausage meat, manipulate it into small meatballs and drop them into the batter.
    Is this because meat was rationed after the war and the cooking procedure stuck?

    1. That is very likely Malcolm! It would certainly be a great way to make a small amount of meat stretch further!


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