Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Odd Names For Food: Toad-in-the-hole

Lamb Chop Shepherd's Pie
Toad-in-the-hole, along with Lancashire hotpot, scouse, faggots, cottage pie and shepherd's pie, bangers 'n' mash, kippers and of course the Sunday roast, is a British dish to be proud of. 

A few weeks ago, I read this blog post about how British food can simply not compete with French food, in terms of names of dishes. Though they did pretty much set formalised cooking and set the rules. Stefan Gates says, "I love the French, but I think Italian food tastes better, Japanese is more refined, Spanish is bolder, British has more character and Scandinavian is more… herring-based." And I tend to agree. 

What our counterparts across the Channel don't have, however, is cool names for their dishes. Yes. I'm talking about spotted dick, trifle, syllabub, bubble and squeak, knickerbocker glory, wet nelly, and plenty more. (Researching this, I didn't realise how rude some of the names are).

I do find it hard to objectively look at British cuisine, simply because I am British. Don't get me wrong. I love British food, and we have come very far as a nation in producing some of the best chefs and best food in the world. But, it's like asking a football fan to objectively decide if their team deserved that free-kick. 

So, when you're having your Italian spaghetti, Spanish paella, Chinese noodles, Indian curry or American Burger, don't forget to consider having British sometime.

What's the most oddly named food you know of? Or better yet, eaten?


Serves 4 (or a very greedy 2)

8 sausages (I used pork and cider)
2 tbsp olive oil
medium eggs, beaten
125g plain flour
150ml semi-skimmed milk
150ml water
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
2 onions, quartered lengthways
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven Gas 7 (220°C/425°F)

Place the sausages in an ovenproof dish (I used two) along with the oil and bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until they start to brown slightly.

Meanwhile, if you have a blender the eggs, flour, milk, water and herbs can be blended in one go. However, if you don't, whisk by hand. Either way, try and get rid of all the lumps. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the batter oven the sausages and evenly place the onions between them. Return to the oven and cook for another 20-30 minutes, until golden-brown.


  1. Toad in the hole is certainly the most oddly named dish I have ever tasted. I must say I love it, really yummy. It's also the first British classic I've cooked.

  2. It's fairly easy to make as well. Apparently, most people think the name comes from its resemblance to a toad popping its head out of a hole. I don't see it myself.