Squash and poppyseed toad in the hole
Two carbs, no apologies. If I ever write an album, this will be the title. You can swap up the veg here: most root veg will work well instead of the squash, and leeks will work instead of the onions. Just make sure they are well roasted and not wet, as this will affect the rise of the Yorkshire.
1 butternut squash (approx 1kg), peeled and chopped in to 2cm chunks
4 red onions, peeled and cut into sixths
1 tbsp fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
115g plain flour
1 tbsp poppy seeds
2 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped, plus extra sprigs for topping
100g sourdough bread, crusts cut off and torn into 2cm chunks
Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/gas 5. Put the squash, onion and fennel seeds in a large roasting tray with three tablespoons of oil, and season. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until everything is really soft and golden.
Meanwhile, in a bowl or large jug, whisk the eggs, flour, milk, poppy seeds, herbs and a good pinch of salt and pepper, until you have a smooth batter. Set aside to rest until the veg are ready.
Once cooked, remove the onions and squash from the oven and add a quarter to a frying pan to make the mustard and ale gravy (see below).
Turn up the oven to 230C (210C fan)/gas 8. Put five tablespoons of oil and the remaining squash and onions in a high-sided, 20cm x 25cm dish, and pop in the oven for five to 10 minutes, so the oil gets really hot and the oven comes up to temperature.
Carefully remove the dish from the oven and, working quickly so the oil stays hot, pour the batter evenly over the hot veg and oil. Top with chunks of bread and a few extra sprigs of rosemary, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until risen, golden and crisp – do not open the oven door in the first 20 minutes or the yorkshire crust will not rise well.
Meanwhile, make the gravy and steam some greens. When the toad in the hole is ready, remove from the oven and serve immediately.
MUSTARD AND ALE GRAVY
An all-pleasing gravy that makes use of some of the veg for this toad in the hole. If you are just making the gravy, roast the veg at 200C (180C fan)/gas 6 for 35-40 minutes before you start.
¼ roasted squash (from today’s toad in the hole recipe above)
1 roasted red onion (from today’s toad in the hole recipe above)
1 tbsp plain flour
400ml good ale
Salt and black pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard
Small bunch parsley, finely chopped
Put the cooked squash and red onion in a pan on a medium-high heat with half the butter, and mash the squash with the back of a fork.
Add a tablespoon of plain flour and mix in. Add the ale, little by little, stirring with each splash, until you have a thick, creamy gravy. Simmer for a few minutes, season well, then add the remaining butter, the mustard and parsley.
PHOTO: Emma Lee for The Guardian