A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Guest Post: Onion and Mushroom Toad in the Hole

It's been a while since I contributed to Carolyn's blog. But now that life is settling down here in my new home I'll take a little time to talk about what I'm eating.

A little while ago, The Husband picked up a new cookbook, Eat by Nigel Slater. It’s loaded with a lot of simple yet lovely recipes. The one that immediately made it into our breakfast rotation was Spiced Eggs with Squash. It’s made with butternut squash, spices, and eggs. It’s ridiculously simple and a great way to start the day full of steamed squash.

Flipping through the cookbook the other night we both ‘oohed’ over Onion and Mushroom Toad in the Hole. We gave it a try this weekend.

Toad in the Hole is one of those traditional British ‘use up your leftovers’ recipes. Mix up a Yorkshire pudding and throw some leftover cooked meat in the batter before baking. The Yorkshire pudding rises up like a popover in the pan, forming a bowl (I think this is the "hole") with the meat at the bottom. Serve with some gravy and vegetables and you’re set! Nowadays when the dish is served the meat is usually sausage and it’s usually not leftover from a previous meal.

This vegetarian version featured some of my very favorite things: mushrooms and shallots. It also had a cheese I had never heard of, Caerphilly. I couldn't turn down a new cheese. We went ingredient shopping.

Banana shallots
Dried porcini mushrooms
Plain flour
Grain mustard
Groundnut oil

Our first tweak was to get fresh chestnut mushrooms. They’re a bit like cremini mushrooms. Dried porcini mushrooms were available, but we’re suckers for fresh mushrooms. Plus we’d have leftover fresh mushrooms for other meals over the weekend.

Groundnut oil is peanut oil. The first time I went looking for it I had a “well, duh” moment. Of course that’s what it’s called - peanuts grow underground.

As I mentioned, Caerphilly is one of the cheeses I had never heard about until moving to the UK. It's originally Welsh (named after the town where it was first sold), it’s crumbly and a little tart. The label said 'lemony'. Imagine a harder feta that's much less salty. I liked it a lot. (According to Wikipedia, the town of Caerphilly has a cheese festival every year. I may need to check into this.)

Once we started putting this together we realized this wasn't the healthiest dish in the world. This was pure comfort food.

Our final product was less “in the hole” and more “in a pancake”. We accidentally left out half the liquid (d’oh!) and used whole wheat flour rather than plain. This resulted in a much denser batter so it didn't puff up the way a Yorkshire pudding should. Still, our onion and mushroom pancake was delicious.

Next time, and there will be a next time, I’ll use the proper flour, add all the liquid and add less cheese. As much as I loved the cheese I want to add in some veggie sausage or maybe just more mushrooms. I love mushrooms.

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