Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Two New Meals

Last week, I attempted two new meals, following a pair of recipes from Norma Miller’s Halogen Oven Cook Book – which is where the cookies I recently told you about also came from.

I am able to say that both meals were prepared to an edible state but I’m still left with several questions and a feeling of uncertainty, as I prepare to re-attempt at least one of them this week.

First up, I decided to tackle a recipe for stuffed aubergines. It states that you can also use sweet potatoes instead and after looking at the box of aubergines and thinking back to the egg plants of Sam and Max Hit the Road from the early 1990s (not to mention that irritating country-western-wannabe, who looks suspiciously like an egg plant…); anyway, I bought a couple of potatoes.

There was no instruction to deviate from the stated cooking times for an aubergine or two and so, I left it at that; wrapping each sweet potato in tin foil as well.

While that was baking, I could get on with preparing the filling – where most of the hard work was done with my Mini Chopper:

It doesn’t look terribly appetising to me, either! Once the aubergines sweet potatoes are out of the oven, you’re supposed to hollow them out with a spoon and to add to the discarded portion to this mix, before filing.

Stuff them? I couldn’t even dig my spoon in!

I found this to be very difficult. You could not easily cut in to these potatoes with a spoon. They were peeled before baking. Perhaps I should’ve gone with my initiative and boiled them before placing in the oven?

I made a mistake in directly following the portions for a 2-person serving and was unable to finish the lot. It tasted okay. No burning and nothing to turn my stomach. But there was nothing to entice me back in to trying it again, either. It’s supposed to include mint, which I didn’t bother to buy as I couldn’t imagine when I might use it again.

New Meal No.2 was an attempt at toad in the hole – something I was certainly going to look forward to!

Shopping in Lidl, they didn’t appear to have any large pork sausages and so I went for these brockwursts, as they were cheaper than other kinds of wurst on the shelves and also the price of pork in other supermarkets I’ve previously been to. Smoked bacon was never a concern.

Again, I got to use my Mini Chopper – this time to dice the red onion.

This was then added to a casserole dish of chopped sausage and bacon which I’d sliced across its width… Should I have gone lengthways? I really should’ve researched the appearance of this dish before I started!

I’d already halved the quantities for the meat and onion portion of this dish, as I would be eating it alone. But when I came to make the batter (above), I thought nothing of it and made enough for two people…

I wasn’t convinced I’d browned the brockwursts enough before adding the batter mix but the bacon looked alright.

I’d removed the lid from the dish before placing it in the oven. As you can hopefully see above; there wasn’t a lot of room between the top of the bowl and the heating element of my halogen oven (although, I could’ve fitted the extension/riser ring). Should I have cooked it with the lid on?

When it came out at the end of the cooking cycle, it looked delicious on top but, as I dug in deep for my first serving, it looked a lot like some of my failed cake experiments – very soft and wet underneath.

Toad in the hole – not at all like I remember!

I ate a good 65% (the meat was fine) before discarding the rest in the bin. I’m at a loss to account for why this happened, considering I was following a recipe written for halogen ovens… Unless it’s meant to a series of recipes that can be adapted for halogen ovens….?! I got the impression I could’ve tried cooking it for a bit longer still.

Did I use too much batter? Was I wrong to use such a large open dish?

Thanks for reading and I hope this doesn’t put anyone of their meals!


4 responses to “Two New Meals

  1. redjim99 06/10/2014 at 21:44

    Maybe a wider dish to spread the batter. I laways heat oil in the base very hot before pouring in the batter. Cook the sausages before adding to the mix. Might help but I’ve never used a halogen oven. Hope it helps, I could send my Mums recipe for batter over if you want. Hardly ever fails me.


    • Olly Parry-Jones 06/10/2014 at 21:47

      Thanks very much, Jim. I think I put the oil in with the meat at the same time but it may not have been hot enough either.

      Thank you, if you can forward the recipe, I’d be very grateful and it’d be good to see how it compares.


  2. Ruth Livingstone 08/10/2014 at 16:32

    Hi Olly. For the toad-in-hole, you really need to use proper sausages. And, as Jim said, the pan needs to be very, very hot. I don’t know anything about halogen ovens, but in a normal oven you would use a metal dish with a flat bottom, pour in some oil, heat in the oven with the temperature turned up until the oil is smoking hot, and then pour in the batter mixture.
    (But I’m really not sure why I’m giving you cooking advice, cos my husband does all the cooking at home. He makes a really good Yorkshire pudding and he says toad-in-the-hole is just a Yorkshire Pudding with sausages inside!)

    • Olly Parry-Jones 08/10/2014 at 19:06

      Thanks, Ruth – in which case, I think I definitely did get my oil hot enough. I have another casserole dish I might try next as it’s a bit shallower. Thank you for your advice! 😉 I also love Yorkshire puddings!!

I welcome your thoughts.

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