Here is another installment in the midweek meal ideas – a couple of great British classics with a twist this time – real fireside suppers for when the weather is getting wild and windy.
‘Toad in the Hole’ with red onion & balsamic gravy (from Jamie Oliver)
• sunflower oil
• 8 large good-quality sausages
• 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
• 2 large red onions, peeled and sliced
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• 2 knobs of butter
• 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 level tablespoon
• 1 tbsp good-quality vegetable stock powder
• 285ml milk
• 115g plain flour
• a pinch of salt
• 3 eggs
Mix the batter ingredients together, and put to one side. I like the batter to go huge so the key thing is to have an appropriately-sized baking tin (the thinner the better – the oil needs to be very hot).
Cover the bottom of a baking tin with the oil, then place this on the middle shelf of your oven at its highest setting (240–250ºC/475ºF/gas 9). Place a larger tray underneath it to catch any oil that overflows from the tin while cooking. When the oil is very hot, add your sausages. Keep your eye on them and allow them to colour until lightly golden.
At this point, take the tin out of the oven, being very careful, and pour your batter over the sausages. Throw a couple of sprigs of rosemary into the batter. It will bubble and possibly even spit a little, so carefully put the tin back in the oven, and close the door. Don’t open it for at least 20 minutes, as Yorkshire puddings can be a bit tempermental when rising. Remove from the oven when golden and crisp.
For the onion gravy, simply fry off your onions and garlic in the butter on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until they go sweet and translucent. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow it to cook down by half. Add the vegetable powder. Sprinkle this in and add a little water. Allow to simmer and you’ll have a really tasty onion gravy. Serve with your Toad in the Hole and a mound of mashed potatoes.
100g pudding rice
700ml semi-skimmed milk
Can of Nestles Dulce de Leche
Heat oven to 150C. Butter a heatproof baking dish, then tip in the rice and sugar and stir through the milk. Cook for 2 hrs or until the pudding wobbles ever so slightly when shaken.
Layer the rice pudding in serving glasses with Dulce de Leche and top with hazelnut brittle
2 oz sugar
Roast your hazelnuts and leave them and a baking tray lined with a layer of grease proof paper ready to go close to where you are working with your sugar. Put the sugar in a small saucepan and add 1 tbsp of water. Put on the heat and let the sugar melt. Don’t stir it or fuss around with it at this stage. As soon as the big bubbles of sugar disappear it will colour very quickly so be vigilant as can burn in seconds! As soon as the sugar has a nice golden brown tint (and smells candyfloss-ish) take it of the heat, add the hazelnuts and stir through. Spread onto the baking sheet in a thick layer, working quickly and leave to cool. When cool, chop roughly into chunky shards and use to decorate your puddings.