THIS week Charlotte Seddon is sharing her recipe for toad in the hole.

Flintshire amateur cook Charlotte, who reached the semi-finals of this year’s MasterChef, says the meal takes an hour and 15minutes to prepare (plus 15mins the night before) and will serve four.

The Leader:

Charlotte said: “Over the summer I have been growing some of my own veg and the onions are now ready for eating, as a result, I’ve been having various dishes which can use them up.

“This family favourite as a treat for the kids going back to school is a winner.

“The onion gravy might look like a bit of a faff, but my husband would vouch that it’s worth it. If you are stuck for time you can always cheat with some instant gravy.

“You might question the use of Marmite, but it’s a secret ingredient used a lot in high end restaurants which adds a lot of depth to gravy and even if you hate it I would urge you to give it a try. “When it comes to sausages, I think it’s worth paying for better quality ones from your butchers. Bebbingtons near Chester and Hawarden Farm Shop do amazing sausages with a wide variety of flavours, so support your local butcher if you can. Yorkshire pudding batter mix is always best left overnight so try and be prepared and make the batter the night before.”

The Leader:


Toad in the hole:

200g plain flour

6 free range eggs

475ml whole milk

8 good quality sausages

65g beef dripping

Knob butter or olive oil

The Leader:

Onion gravy:

2 onions

50g beef dripping

500ml rich beef stock

150ml ale

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp Marmite (optional)

1 tbsp plain four

2 sprigs thyme

1 sprig sage

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp butter

The Leader:


1. Place the flour in a bowl and season with salt and pepper then make a well in the centre

2. Crack the eggs into the well then mix with a fork or whisk until combined

3. Add the milk a bit a time until it makes a good batter, cover and rest in the fridge overnight

4. Preheat the oven to 200degrees

5. Put the beef dripping in a roasting tin (around 30cm x 25cm) and put it in the oven to heat up the dripping

6. Heat a frying pan over a high heat and brown the sausages in a frying pan with some butter, they just need browning on the outside not cooking through so have the heat high and keep them turning

7. Remove the batter from the fridge and give it a quick whisk as it will have separated

8. Working quickly and carefully remove the roasting tin from the oven and place in the sausages (the dripping should be smoking hot and the sausages sizzle a bit when they go in) the pour the batter in until it comes just over half way up the depth of the sausages

9. Put back into the oven and cook for 50mins-1 hour (although try not to open to oven door until you are sure its cooked)

10. Whilst the toad in the hole is cooking make the gravy by peeling and slicing the two onions

11. In a large frying pan over a medium heat melt the beef dripping and add the onions and sprinkle with a pinch of salt

12. Cook for 20-30minutes until the onions have completely caramelised and gone a deep golden colour, if they start to burn at the beginning turn the heat down slightly

13. Sprinkle over the flour and mix into the onions allow to cook for 1 minute

14. Add in the ale, turn the heat up to medium-high and continue to stir for a minute and wait for the ale to thicken with the flour

15. Then add in the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, Marmite and herb sprigs

16. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20minutes

17. When the gravy is ready add the balsamic vinegar remove the herb sprigs and mix through a 3-4 small knobs of butter to give it a glossy finish

18. When the toad in the hole is ready remove from the oven and serve with the onion gravy and some peas