Nevermind the “rain in Spain”…Cape Town is reinventing the phrase at the moment. What with gusts strong enough to rip out age-old giant trees at their roots, hail heavy enough to cover the city in a blanket of white, and rain of the horizontal variety – yip, I would vehemently declare that winter has settled in! And in this weather there are fewer places we would rather be than in front of a raging fire, wrapped in fleece with a glass of velvety red in hand and some good company in tow either in the form of a partner in crime, a Baby and Johnny classic, or a respectable (or not so, depending on your mood) book. And then there is the sensorial requirement in the taste-bud department that seals the deal…and there you have it – winter fantasy complete.
When I think of cosying up, I think of home…and not my own…but the kind where it all started – the place where a chunk of our hearts remain long after we fly the nest to create our own. Because my folks are largely what I would call ‘nomadic’, choosing to live and work in somewhat exotic and far reaching places – home has always simply been where Mom and Dad are.
When I think back to being small when troubles were no bigger than the kind such as bartering in mud cakes and post three-hour swim finger wrinkle syndrome – I think back to times where there was no greater delight than Moms “Mac and Cheese” or Dads specialty. Although my Mom has always ruled in the kitchen department, my Dad (having spent varsity holidays working in kitchens around the UK) has always fancied himself a dapper hand when choosing to be in the kitchen, or in front of a big black pot on the coals. Whilst Mom has too many to mention, Dad has crafted himself a nifty list of specialties including: (of course) potjie complete with melon-sized dumplings immersed in gravy, Vietnamese chilli prawn stir-fry that sends your taste-buds into swing, Olde English style fish and potato wedges in their skins, turkey wrapped in bacon set to smoke for hours, and most recently (I am told) blue cheese and broccoli soup to send you pleading for more…but most famously (aside from his heavy-handed gin and tonics) would be none other than “Toad in the Hole”!
This was the dinner I remember begging for as a child. It is the dinner that creeps into my dreams, makes me long for home and brings on instant craving. So I cannot think of a more perfect dish to complete my fantasy and am delighted to share it with you, courtesy of Mr. Keith – and with love all the way from Doha, Qatar, UAE (note the authentic camel candle holder Mom dressed the table in to take some shots for our readers) ~
DAD’S TOADIE (made for two/ increase quantities as needed)
- Mix together (old fashioned hand mixer preferred although you can use the electric option) 2 eggs, with an equal volume of milk and a pinch of salt
- Allow the froth to settle for about 10 minutes
- Sieve equal volumes of flour (±150 g) into the egg/milk and mix thoroughly or until there are few lumps
- Pour mixture through sieve into separate jug to remove last of the lumps and leave to stand
- After 2 hours, add 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of cold water and mix again
- Gently brown good quality porkies in a hot pan (don’t cook through)
- Place roasting dish or steel skillet with oil in into a very hot oven, remove when sizzling and add porkies
- Pour the batter over the sausages and place straight into a hot oven for 25-30 minutes or until the ‘hole’ has risen and the ‘toads’ look cooked
- Accompany with mash and veg all drenched in a thick brown onion gravy, and get stuck in!
Being utter perfection in a bowl I would be hesitant to experiment with the hearty peasant flavours of this dish – but I might be quietly tempted to dip into my bag of tricks and experiment with Eat.Arts Turkish Sumac by rubbing into the sausages before cooking, OR even to add to the aroma of the dish by seasoning the porkies with Eat.Arts Indonesian Nasi Goreng before cooking.
So, all in the name of rain – share with us your idyllic dish to capture this soulful moment in glorious perfection…is it heat, meat, cream, complex cuisine or simply a touch of carefully selected spice that floats your boat? We want to hear from you – send us your perfect dish to accompany a fireside picnic and stand a chance to win a spectular Eat.Art Curries of Origin Food Gift.
Only slightly exhausted mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual and performing arts. Having worked with the eat-art team before, she is thrilled, and slightly bewildered to have been asked to (take time out from juggling and) add some spice to the eat.art blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.