French Bread Pizza

(Serves 4)

One long french loaf
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
1 tblsp vegetable oil (preferably olive)
1 medium can or packet of chopped tomatoes in puree
(or 1 can chopped tomatoes and 1 small can puree)
mixed herbs (we like basil, oregano and parsley)
about 100g/ 3 oz grated cheddar cheese
Other toppings to taste, eg: chopped green pepper, chopped mushrooms, sliced peperami or
chopped ham

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes (and puree if used) and herbs, and simmer gently for about ten minutes, stirring from time to time, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Cool slightly.

Carefully cut the french loaf lengthways, horizontally, so you have two long flat surfaces. Then cut each piece into two or three pieces. Place crust-side down on a large baking sheet, lightly greased. Spoon the tomato mixture evenly over the cut surfaces, covering completely. Add toppings of your choice if wanted, and then sprinkle grated cheese all over.

Cook in a medium oven for about 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

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Serve this with various salads or cooked vegetables. It has to be one of the quickest, easiest, and most popular recipes I know. You can adapt it to suit your family's tastes. It's fresher and nearly as quick as buying ready-made french bread pizza which must be cooked from frozen, and considerably less expensive.

Use 2 smaller loaves (baguettes), or 6 large hot-dog buns, or several bread rolls. This freezes well, so either make the tomato sauce in advance and freeze separately, or - if you have room - make the whole thing and freeze instead of putting in the oven. Cook from frozen, for about 20 minutes, or thaw and cook as above. You can also freeze left-overs and reheat in the microwave, or thaw and eat cold.


Toad in the Hole

(to serve 3-4)

12-16 thin sausages - any type you like, meat or vegetarian
15g (about 1tblsp) margarine or oil
250g (about 2 cups) flour
2 eggs
600 ml (about 2½ cups) milk

Pre-heat the oven to about 200C. Cook the sausages with the fat in a large fairly shallow dish, such as a lasagne pan, in a hot oven until lightly browned. Alternatively, if you're in a hurry, fry them lightly in a little olive oil on the stove then transfer to an oven-proof dish.

Put the flour in a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre, beat in the eggs then the milk. When the sausages are ready, pour the milk mixture into the baking dish with sausages, and cook for about 30-40 mins until the mixture is well-risen and lightly browned.

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People from outside the UK often wonder what this recipe is. Don't worry, there are no frog's legs! Use whatever brand of sausages your family likes best - it works well with pork, or pork and beef, or even vegetarian sausages. If you have some meat-eaters and some vegetarians in the family, simply cook meat and veggie sausages as preferred in appropriate sized dishes, then divide the egg/flour mixture between them. If you have people who are lactose intolerant, soya milk works as well as ordinary cow's milk.

I usually serve this with green vegetables or baked beans, baked potatoes (if we're feeling hungry) and tomato ketchup. Some people like it with gravy.