Food, wine, travel, music
This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner 30 August 2013.
Top 8 sandwiches
Making a decent sandwich is a great way to use leftovers. Even a spread of cold Bolognese sauce is delicious between two slices of sourdough bread. To ring the changes use different types of bread as I have shown here. The best bread can go stale easily, so freeze what won’t be used immediately. Any of the combinations below work with various types of bread, so use your imagination. If mixtures are chopped small, try using pitta bread to keep it tidy. If fillings are smooth and easy to manage, use chunkier brown bread. Sourdough is satisfying and a few slices could get the hungriest adult through the day. For children going back to school this week and next, small portions of my hearty suggestions are best. Aim for a little protein (meat, fish , cheese, egg) for sustenance, carbohydrate (bread) for energy and fat (butter, oil, cheese) to help digest the others and provide flavour. A little saltiness comes naturally with many foods and adding a little sweetness in the form of chutney makes an interesting change. The aim is to make lunches something to look forward to. This week I’m giving no marks for brands, but feel free to mark me out of ten! My recipe for inexpensive hummous is here on my blog.
Roast Chicken and Peanut Butter on WhiteThis is a good way to use up leftovers of any meat. The smallest amount of chicken can be turned into a paste by mashing or liquidizing with plain yoghurt, mayonnaise or cream cheese, but chunky leftovers provide a good bite. The peanut butter can be used instead of butter and can be replaced (expensively) with almond or hazelnut butter. Add shredded lettuce and chopped spring onion for extra vitamins and flavour and a touch of sweetness with a little chutney.
Crisps and Cream Cheese on SodaThis combination is delicious on brown soda bread. I add chopped parsley while it is in season for greenery and extra iron. Choose crisps with the least salt content and make sure children take water to school to avoid dehydration. However, a few crisps won’t overload the system and gives them a treat without the whole packet. The cream cheese provides an anchor. A slice of tomato is good too.
Ham or Pork with Celery on White
Cold sausages can be delicious and allows the fat to be skimmed off. My first choice is cold pork from a joint roasted at home, but occasionally a piece of ham or bacon cooked and sliced is delicious too, or a few cooled down rashers. Cut slices of celery thinly. Butter chunky white bread lightly, mixing in some mustard. Top with the celery and meat.
Black Pudding, Tomato and Relish in the Round
German party bread is good for this where round buns are pulled off a whole. I found a delicious one in ABC, English market and froze some of it for later. Black pudding is already cooked when we buy it, but a little warming or crisping up is good here. Apple is popular with this but needs to be stewed to avoid discoloration. I have paired it with the delicious Irish tomatoes available at the moment. Spread the bread with a little relish instead of butter.
Savoury Scone with Cheese
Even when sweet, scones are delicious paired with something savoury such as cheese. Stretch children’s scope by getting away from cheddar and trying semi soft and hard farmhouse Irish and French cheeses. Spread the bread with a little relish and add gherkins to ring the changes.
Red Pepper and Cream Cheese Ciabatta
The decent crust and compact feel makes this bread useful for sandwiches. Here I stayed with the Italian origin of the bread and paired it with roasted red peppers from a jar. A little goes a long way. I use cream cheese or hummous as a spread. A leaf of lettuce adds further vitamins.
Egg, Cucumber and Olives on Soda
Hardboiled eggs and olives are a marriage made in Heaven and more children like them than parents often realise. Make sure the olives are stoned before mixing with the egg, mashed with a little mayonnaise. As cucumbers are so delicious this year, a few thin slices are good added to the mixture. Remove seeds and watery bits first as in a few hours the slices will ooze liquid into the bread.
Sardines, Tomato and Onion on Rye
Rye bread makes a good textural change at the end of a week of heavier bread. I like the latest Ryvita variety with oats and seeds. Mash sardines drained of most of their oil or water. Mix with chopped tomato, draining off juices. Add chopped spring onion to taste, with chopped parsley, oregano or basil. A little chutney is good too.