Thursday, February 28, 2013

High Tea and Family Events

Ever since purchasing Pippa Middleton's book, Celebrate, I've been anxious to make Toad-in-the-Hole with Onion Gravy, and it finally happened for last night's high tea/supper meal.

Due to a snow storm in our area, I didn't venture out to the meat market or grocery store. Instead I made do with what I had on hand, using parts of Pippa's recipe, and parts of Jane Garmey's recipe in Great British Cooking.

The only sausage I had in the freezer was Johnsonville's Italian Sausage from my hubby's leftover football tailgate stash.  It worked okay, but next time I'll use the called for pork breakfast sausages instead. Even though I've visited England twice, I've never eaten Toad-in-the-Hole or seen it prepared, so fixing this dish was a bit like shooting in the dark.  To all of my readers across the pond, humble apologies if this is a poor resemblance of Toad-in-the Hole. It was a fun, simple dish, the kind that "downstairs" residents at Downton Abbey probably would have eaten! ;-) I think it could easily be adapted to individual savories at an informal afternoon tea if made in individual ramekins.  I just might try it that way next time! 

It seemed like the perfect time to initiate my newly acquired Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles dishes.  We loved the Yorkshire Pudding and Onion Gravy, and I will definitely make this dish again using the proper sausage.  A cup of hearty English Breakfast tea was the perfect accompaniment!

When my children were home, suppertime was usually when we'd talk about their activities.   They're grown and gone now, but I've decided to share some of our February family activities with you, over this high tea/suppertime post.

Brooke is my ten year old granddaughter.  She attends Washington Elementary School, where she's in the fifth grade.  Every year they have a school-wide art contest in honor of George Washington's birthday.   This year Brooke's art work took first place.  She was recognized at a school assembly, and given a $50 gift certificate.

Below is her art project of George Washington.  She definitely doesn't get her artistic abilities from her Nana!

Around the same time Brooke was busy with her art project, our other granddaughter, Isabella, who is seven years old and in the 2nd grade, was busy preparing an animal project that she and her classmates presented to their parents.  Izzy's animal was the Zebra, and below is her project. 


Izzy sharing Zebra information with another classmate.

And, of course, baby sister, Ellie, came to see Izzy's presentation wearing her cute Zebra outfit to show support!  ;-)

Lastly, our youngest son, Jeremy [Izzy's and Ellie's daddy], participated in "Polar Plunge 2013" on Feb. 23rd at U of M's stadium in Ann Arbor.  He, along with 300 others, took a plunge into an outdoor pool of  icy water, on a 32-degree day, to raise money for Special Olympics Michigan. Brr!  Jeremy is a high school Athletic Director and Assistant Principal.

While Jeremy was taking the plunge, I was comfy and warm at a matinee showing of Safe Haven with my daughter and two older granddaughters.  It's a "must see" suspenseful, romance film based on Nicholas Sparks' novel of the same name.   I needed a cup of tea afterwards to calm my nerves! ;-)

[Internet Photo of Safe Haven's leading characters.]

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Today I'm joining Bernideen's Tea Time Blog for "Open House"


  1. Lots of fun "doings" to discuss over supper. Your new dishes look just lovely and I'm sure the Toad in the Hole was delicious. I've read about that one but never tasted it. Congrats to your granddaughters and bravo to your brave son! Brrr, makes me cold just to think about that water.

  2. Wonderful family news! Congrats! I make toad-in-the hole every so often. Grew up with it in my Brit family. Always a favorite. But never did it with gravy. You need to find real British banger sausages which taste different. Saag's has them in the US and so do a couple of other makers. The best is Cumberland sausage, but I hardly ever find that here in the US.

  3. What a proud grandmother. I would be too. I have been wanting to see this movie. Thanks for the recommendation. Good for you trying out this new recipe too. I am not a pea lover, but the rest looked quite good.

  4. I've never had Toad in the Hole, but I have had Yorkshire Pudding many times with beef roast. Don't you love the British names for food? Your son is very brave to jump in that freezing cold water!!

  5. High tea --- on beautiful china --- and cute grandkids who are great artists! Great post!!!

  6. Congratulations to both of your granddaughters. The painting of George Washington is excellent. I would have given this first prize too. Wish I could have seen the presentation on Zebras. I know I would have learned some interesting facts. '-)

  7. Hi Phyliss,
    I enjoyed seeing your lovely family. Being a Grandma is the best! Your Toad in the Hole looks good. I bet my grandsons would like it if only for the name! By the way, your High Tea looks great on your transferware dishes!

  8. Your high tea sounds absolutely delicious, and I so enjoyed seeing your family's budding young artists--and the Polar Plunge, too, although that would give me an instant heart attack!

  9. What darling granddaughter and talented, too!! The toad-in-the-hole looks great to me. I'll have to check out Pippa's book. I have four JB Old Britain Castles dinner plates and I just love them. They're such a nice size...not too big. I need some more pieces!!

  10. I meant to put "granddaughters" in my comment!

  11. Dear Phyllis,
    I love Toad in the Hole! I used to make it when my kids were little from a friend's recipe who lived in London. I think you have found a new comfort food. Yes, I think the other sausage will suit it better next time. I never made a gravy so might have to look into that.
    What a fabulous picture of George. Great job, Brooke.
    Can't wait to see that movie. Julianne is one of our favorites. She is so talented in so many ways. I love her country album and of course, her dancing and choreography. The commercials for it look great. Tissues needed, I bet...

  12. Hello Phyllis
    Nice to see the events your family is involved in, Brooke did an amazing likeness of GW.
    My mother made toad in the hole growing up but we never had gravy with it. I don't eat sausages these days so don't make it although hubby would love it.


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