By Keighley’s Mike Armstrong, an award-winning master baker with a big passion for baking. See

THIS week’s recipe is toad in the hole and I want you all making it for a family tea.

A delightful and tasty dish, it’s a true Yorkshire classic at this time of year when it’s a little chilly outside and we are looking for comfort food without the holes, dirt, or even toads for that matter!

The origin of the name toad in the hole is quite vague, with some suggestions saying the dish resembles a toad sticking its head out of a hole, hence the somewhat unusual term.

Another suggestion is that it derives from a links golf course in Northumberland, which can often be overrun with Natterjack toads.

At the time an important golf tournament was being played the leader made his putt, only to have the ball promptly ejected from the hole by a rather angry toad that had been quietly having an afternoon nap at the bottom of the cup. On hearing of the player’s misfortune, the chef at the clubhouse devised a dish, thinking it would resemble a toad rising from the 18th hole, and served it that night. Now that is what I call an interesting story to go along with our Yorkshire pudding batter, sausages and onion gravy that we crave after when we come home to the smell of a tasty, warm hearty meal cooking in the oven.

Enter Mr Toad and the hole. You know you’re getting older when you get excited by a good Yorkshire pudding rise, but come on, us Tykes know how to make good Yorkshires in bubbly hot fat – and enough of it is hugely important for our puds to rise well and get the light, crispy outcome.

I’m with Mrs Beeton on this one.

The 19th-century Victorian cookery writer had a good way to use up any old meats that came to hand, making wholesome evening meals for the hungry hard-working family. Most butchers sold off bits and pieces of off-cuts to the working class after a day’s sale.

You can see where I’m coming from now, being a tight Yorkshireman! The toad in the hole was a way of stretching meat a little further, with a batter which meant you could get away with using a small amount of meat with good gravy, making it a true Yorkshire dish!

This is a meal that is meant to go in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves to, drowned with gravy.

Who said toad in the hole was a waste of good sausages? Not me!



Feeds a family of 4


For the toad –

8 good quality sausages of choice

2 good gulps of olive oil or sunflower oil

For the hole –

125g / 4.5oz plain flour

2 eggs

Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

300ml / 1/2 pint milk


1. To make the batter, sift the flour, salt and pepper over a mixing bowl and make

a well for the eggs and milk.

2. Using a whisk, add the eggs and milk a little at a time until you have a lump-free batter.

3. Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge until it’s ready to be used, the longer you leave it the better it will be.

4. Preheat the oven to 220C / Gas Mark 7 and drizzle the oil into a small lipped roasting tin or similar ovenware dish, then part cook the sausages for 20 minutes.

5. Arrange the sausages in the tin and pour over the batter and return back to the oven for around 40 minutes until the batter has risen well and has a golden crisp crust.