Well, that didn’t go well did it! Looking through the freezer I decided I’d cook a ready-meal of Toad in the Hole. I’ve no idea why I bought it, don’t ask … it seemed like a good idea at the time. I’d been disappointed when I read the instructions that said it had to be cooked for 40 minutes – but I’ve a #zerofoodwaste policy in the house and if I buy food, I have to eat it (er, except this food fail which is inedible).
It was taking up far too much room in the freezer, so today it had to go. This toad in the hole’s been in the freezer since the middle of March, I was fed up of moving it around ….. today was it’s finest hour. I figured I’d cook it then tell you how it tasted “er, kind of OK/passable” and that as a foodcheat it was 2 points up the evolutionary scale from a piece of regular cardboard… but that’s not how the day worked out.
So, firstly, I read the packet – I can’t tell you the manufacturer’s name as I’ve been on the phone to them about this food fail and they’ve been very decent about it all. The packet was simple and easy:
- Pre-heat the oven (200°C for a regular oven; 190°C for a fan-assisted oven). When using the mini oven I always turn the heat down a little as it’s a small oven so suffers less heat loss; I usually, therefore, always choose the fan assisted temperature. So 190°C it was. I pre-heated my oven for five minutes. I was using my mini oven in “oven mode” which is the bottom heating element only.
- Remove the packaging and the plastic film – I did this.
- Place it on a baking tray – yep, did this.
- Bake for 40 minutes. So that was it, I was 40 minutes away from a hot dinner.
Now, I don’t just turn the knob and walk away; I stood there and cooked it in 10 minute timer bursts because, well, I never leave anything unattended. After three lots of 10-minutes, the toad in the hole was rising. Now, to be honest it wasn’t looking that appetising, but it was hot food, so I was prepared to put up with its short-comings if only to learn never to buy another.
So, we are 30 minutes into the 40 minutes’ cooking time. Temperature’s at 190°C and it’s time to turn the dish around. The instructions don’t require any turning round, I just couldn’t help but to fiddle… you know how it is. So I opened the door and grabbed one corner, expecting to be able to just “spin” it round by 90° or maybe 180° (that would depend on how I felt about the colour and how it was rising once I’d spun it round a bit).
Unfortunately …. this happened:
The bottom of the cooking dish had welded itself to the baking tray! The slightest touch of the side/lip made it tear away from the sides.
This is not a good sign.
Melting plastic of any sort is not edible, it’s potentially poisonous.
So, instead of being 10 minutes from eating my lunch I was now in a position of having NO lunch and having a spoiled baking tray (an unusual size that will need special sourcing!)
I actually couldn’t believe it – so I gave it a few more tugs… but the bottom was welded tight to the baking tray. I’d turned the oven off by this time, of course…. this dinner was going nowhere except the bin.
I could even lift up the whole of the baking tray by lifting the lip of the dish – that’s proper welding for you! The welded plastic was so tight to the baking tray it wasn’t budging one inch!
When it’d cooled down, I removed the Yorkshire pudding and sausages to look at the dish it’d cooked in. Bear in mind this is within the correct temperature range AND only 30 minutes into a 40 minute cooking time.
That’s not right is it!
I will stress: I did nothing wrong. I followed the instructions. I have cooked without a disaster for 40 years.
So I double- and triple-checked the packaging…. I had followed the instructions TO THE LETTER. This wasn’t me!
It’s Not Me!
I will repeat, this isn’t ME at fault here; I followed the instructions …. but it happened to me.
I’ve now spoken to the retailer of the branded goods and I’ve contacted the manufacturer of the baking dish. Maybe there was a faulty batch … but I’ll certainly think twice before I ever use a PET-style dish in my mini oven again. Maybe the manufacturer can shed some light on it.
So let’s see….
The retailer has been good enough to make things right by me when I phoned to let them know I had a problem, which is why no names have been mentioned here. But, dinners are off the menu until I can replace the baking tray for my mini oven as the base of the PET dish is welded tight to the tray and can’t be scraped off – and I am not about to start messing about heating up plastics in a small space just to see if it comes off when hot again!
When using a mini oven, even “as an oven” with only the bottom element being used, be aware that there is the chance this will happen to you. If you can decant the contents into another dish then that might be a wise move!
Food Cheat for a Toad in the Hole:
I think my best advice to you would be to buy a ready-cooked Yorkshire pudding and use that, to be honest. I just thought I’d try one of these frozen Toad in the Hole dishes for the first (definitely the last!) time.