Over the weekend I came home after a night out and decided to make myself a cup of tea and a toasted sandwich. As I sat in the kitchen contemplating life, my mind wandered to THE toasted sandwich. I think it is completely underrated in society these days. Maybe I'm being biased, I mean I am a major toasted sandwich fan. And, when I say toasted sandwich, I'm not referring to just toasting some slices of bread and putting fillings in between, or making a sandwich and placing it under the grill. I'm talking about toasted-sandwich-maker sandwiches!
I've always been fascinated by the amazing machine that is the toasted-sandwich-maker. My Granny used to have one when I was younger - which is how I first came across this marvelous device. It was such a novelty to have these delicious toasted sandwiches, as we didn't have a machine at home, and it was all I ever wanted to eat when I was at my Gran's.
My love for toasted sandwiches never faded and I must have mentioned it to my husband pretty early on in our relationship, because on one occasion -I can't remember if it was Valentines day or a birthday or something, but he did the most romantic thing - he bought me my very own toasted-sandwich-maker! Now, I know as a woman you're not really meant to be happy when a man buys you a piece of kitchen equipment as a present to mark a special occasion, you're really meant to demand jewellery or flowers at least. But when I got my toasted-sandwich-maker I knew there and then that this was the man that I would marry! Maybe it was to do with the fact that I was a student at the time and I was extremely excited to own my very first piece of electrical kitchen equipment, but it was mainly to do with the fact that he actually listened when I waffled on about toasted sandwiches! And then he fulfilled my lifelong dream to have my own maker! I couldn't but marry him!
Anyway that was over a decade ago and unfortunatley the machine blew up from over-use. There wasn't a major explosion or flames or anything, just sparks from the plug and then it died. I had intended on getting a new one but never really got round to it. Then last year, my gran-aunt got us one as a wedding present! When I opened it I nearly had a heart attack I was so excited. So, for the last year, I've been happy and content having a toasted-sandwich-maker back in my life! And my parents gave me an old retro toasted sandwich book that they came across- which proves I am not alone in my love for the toasted sandwich - someone (Judy Ridgway to be precise!) loves them enough to write a book about them! The book has some great recipes/ideas and also some really really insane ones. I honestly never knew how versatile this machine could be!
One of the reasons these probably taste so good is that you butter the bread on the outside and then usually fill them up with lovely fattening cheese and stuff. But I've been trying to think of healthy alternatives and I've come up with some solutions.
- First of all, use a brown bread, preferably with seeds!
- Then for the butter try go for something that's not just fat. I'm using a sunflower spread at the moment and it tastes good- and because it is toasted and crispy most butters or butter alternatives will taste nice.
- Then for the fillings instead of just loads of cheese and ham or whatever, pack it full of fruit and veg! (Yes fruit - pineapple is lovely! and in the book Judy adds apple to some!)
For these new ones I tried and tested, you will need (as well as your bread, butter and machine!) the following...
For the Greek Salad inspired one
red onion - if you have one
- Prepare and chop the veg and cheese
- Butter the bread on one side
- Place the buttered side of the bread on the toaster
- Add the fillings
- Top with the other slice of bread
- Let the machine work its magic
Then ta da! A delicious toasted sandwich! These are just a couple of recipes, I think I could dedicate a whole new blog to toasted sandwich recipes. Maybe there is such a blog already - I must check. Anyway if you are passionate about toasted sandwiches and have any good filling ideas, do let me know please! And if you don't already have a machine, you should so go get one, it could change your life!!