I've often heard tales of people eating Yorkshire pudding as a starter; I've even heard of leftover ones being served for breakfast with marmalade, which I've tried myself on several occasions.
When I opened my meat-and-chicken restaurant, Tramshed, in east London, I made a conscious decision to serve a large Yorkshire pudding as a starter with a creamy chicken liver pâté – and it's gone down a storm with customers.
You can have a lot of fun with filled Yorkshire puds, whether you use leftovers from your Sunday roast or make them fresh for your meal. There's a huge variety of toppings that will work – and the kids will love making them, too.
Yorkshire pudding mix
2 eggs, beaten
180-200g plain flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4tsp dripping or duck fat
Whisk the eggs with the milk and a third of the flour, then whisk in the remainder of the flour (or enough to make a fairly thick batter); season.
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7, preferably in fan mode.
Heat 4 large Yorkshire pudding moulds, with a teaspoon of the dripping in each, for about 10 minutes in the oven.
Once the moulds are warmed up, pour the Yorkshire pudding mix into each, and bake the puddings for about 10 minutes – until they have risen and are starting to colour.
Now turn the oven down to 200C/gas mark 6 and continue cooking them for a further 10-15 minutes, until they are crisp.
Remove the puddings from the oven and keep them warm until the accompanying topping is cooked.
You can vary the vegetables you use in this curry or just use one, such as the cauliflower or chickpeas.
3tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled, halved and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small piece of root ginger, scraped and finely grated or chopped
½tsp ground turmeric or 1tsp fresh, peeled and finely grated
1 small medium heat green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1tsp mustard seeds
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp garam masala
A good pinch of curry leaves
8 florets of cauliflower, cut into even-sized florets (large ones halved)
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large potato, peeled and cut into chunks
Juice of half a lemon
250ml vegetable stock
2tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently cook the onion, garlic and spices on a low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetables and the stock, season with a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil.
Stir well, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook on a very low heat, stirring every so often, for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the lid and continue to cook on a slightly higher heat until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Add the coriander, season if necessary, and serve spooned into the Yorkshire puddings.
Bangers and mash
I do love bangers and mash and served like this, it's a notch up from a toad-in-the-hole. You can use chipolatas or normal-sized sausages, or if you want to get really adventurous, you can use cooking chorizo.
12 chipolatas or 4 normal-sized, good-quality sausages
4 servings of mashed potato with butter and milk added
For the onion gravy
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1tbsp vegetable oil
1tsp tomato purée
2tbsp red wine
2tsp English mustard
1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
500ml beef stock
Fry the onions in the vegetable oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan until they begin to colour, stirring well. Add the butter and continue to cook for a couple of minutes until they brown nicely, add the flour and tomato purée and cook on a low heat for 30 seconds or so.
Slowly add the red wine, mustard and Worcestershire sauce, then gradually add the stock, stirring well to avoid any lumps forming. Bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for about 20 minutes until it has reduced and thickened.
Meanwhile, make your mash, then grill your sausages, either under the grill or in a ribbed griddle pan, for 4-5 minutes, depending on size. To serve, spoon the mash into the Yorkshire pudding, stick the sausages in the mash and spoon over the gravy.
Braised beef in Yorkshire ale
Try to buy beef from one cut rather than just diced stewing beef, which is often a mixture of cuts and will take different cooking times.
600g of braising beef, preferably flank, skirt or silverside, cut into rough 2-3cm chunks
250-300ml Yorkshire ale
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp chopped thyme
Vegetable oil for frying
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1½tbsp plain flour
½tsp tomato purée
1½ltrs beef stock (a good cube will do)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan, lightly flour the meat with ½tbsp of the flour, season with salt and pepper and fry the meat on a high heat until nicely browned.
Heat the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently fry the onions, garlic, thyme and bayleaf for a few minutes until soft. Add the flour and tomato purée and stir over a low heat for a minute. Slowly add the ale, stirring constantly to avoid lumps forming. Bring to the boil and simmer until it has reduced by half.
Add the beef stock and the pieces of beef, bring back to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer gently for about 2-2½ hours until the meat is tender (you could use a pressure cooker and it will cook in half the time). It's difficult to put an exact time on braised meats, sometimes an extra half an hour may be required, depending on the meat itself. The best way to check is by actually tasting the meat.
The sauce should have thickened to a gravy-like consistency; if not, dilute a little cornflour in some water and stir into the sauce and simmer for a few minutes. To serve, just spoon the beef into the Yorkshires.
Ice-cream and marmalade
There is no reason why you can't serve a Yorkshire as a dessert; I've even made one for the restaurant baked with cherries, which is a bit of a take on the French clafoutis. You can adapt this idea how you wish, by varying the flavour of the ice-cream, homemade or bought in, and serve things such as chocolate sauce on the ice-cream, perhaps with some honeycomb.
8 or so balls of good-quality vanilla ice-cream
8 spoonfuls of good-quality or homemade marmalade
To serve, warm the marmalade in a saucepan, scoop the ice-cream into the Yorkshires and spoon the marmalade over.