How to make Adrian Mole’s toad-in-the-hole with onion gravy

    How to make Adrian Mole’s toad-in-the-hole with onion gravy

    By Ella Walker . Published 2020-11-22


    This is the ultimate autumn dish.

    Who doesn’t love a warming supper of toad-in-the-hole? All that crisp batter and succulent sausages.The inspiration for food writer Kate Young’s version comes from The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4, by Sue Townsend: ‘Nigel got thrown out of school dinners today for swearing at the toad-in-the-hole, he said it was ‘all bleeding hole and no toad’.’


    (Serves 4)Hole:120g plain/all-purpose flour3 eggsPinch of salt300ml milkToad:2tbsp butter1tbsp flavourless oil (or beef dripping if you have some)8 fat sausages5 stalks rosemary (optional)10 sprigs thyme (optional)Gravy:1tbsp butter (or oil, if you prefer)3 small red onions, sliced into semicircles1tsp brown sugar2tsp Worcestershire sauce1tbsp plain/all-purpose flour500ml beef stockSalt and pepper


    1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6. Tip the flour into a bowl, make a well in the centre, crack in the eggs and whisk. Add the salt and then whisk in the milk until you have a smooth, runny batter. Set aside for 15 minutes, while you cook the sausages.
    2. Add the fats to a pan, heat until bubbling and fry the sausages over a medium heat until they are cooked. Allow them to blacken and blister in places.
    3. Scatter the herbs over the sausages, stalks and all. Pour the batter into the smoking hot pan, around the cooked sausages. It may spit a bit, so protect your arms with a tea towel. Put the tin straight into the hot oven. Bake for 25–30 minutes, pulling it out when the batter is risen, crisp and browned it patches.
    4. While the toad-in-the-hole is in the oven, make the gravy. Melt the butter in the saucepan and, once it is bubbling, add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat until softened.
    5. Add the sugar, stirring until it has dissolved into the butter. Pour in the Worcestershire sauce, and stir through. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to coat the onion. Pour in about 100ml of the stock and whisk until the sauce surrounding the onions is smooth. Add the rest of the liquid and bring to the boil, stirring with the wooden spoon until thick. Remove from the heat and warm again when you’re ready to serve. Season to taste.
    6. Remove the toad-in-the-hole from the oven and serve immediately. Make sure that everyone has plenty of crispy bits from the sides of the dish and a generous slug of the gravy.
    The Little Library Cookbook by Kate Young, photography Lean Timms, is published by Anima

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