Sandwich is widely understood to be slices of meat, fish or vegetables nestled between two slices of bread.
It is consumed around the world for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack and there are some pretty out there creations as well as the classics in almost every country.
Sandwich in this form was beginning to appear in England in the 18th century and consumed by men whilst drinking the night away. It didn’t take long for them to gain popularity among the aristocracy as a late night snack and eventually as a meal itself.
However, the consumption of bread being topped with ingredients is far older than that. In the middle ages, stale bread (or a trencher) would be used by the rich as a plate of sorts to soak up the food juices and then either fed to the dogs or beggars…
Of course, if we look at sandwiches as flat breads being used as a scoop for dips (like hummus) or a wrap for various fillings, then the idea goes back centuries, even millennia.
Special mention goes to: Focaccia. This is of course not a sandwich, but it is a delicious bread, easy to make at home and can be stuffed, dipped, topped or eaten on it’s own. Watch our video tutorial on how to make it at home.
We have a little collection of what we think are THE British classics as well as current favourites. We have done our research and here they are:
The secret of the greatest BLT is fresh and good quality ingredients. There are many variations, but the traditional ingredients are bacon, tomato and lettuce (and bread of course). White fluffy bread is best to soak up all the tasty bacon fat. We recommend using streaky bacon, as you can get it really crisp, which lends a great crunch to the dish, not to mention sweetness from the caramelisation. Fresh lettuce brings satisfying oiliness and more bite to the sandwich (try to stay away from the watery mass produced ‘ready to use’ stuff). Tomatoes need to be deep red, which means they will not be too watery but will have plenty of sweetness and flavour. The only other ingredients we would advocate using is butter for an even more indulgent sandwich. There was a debate at the Academy HQ about butter versus mayo – both fantastic, but slightly salted butter in the sandwich won.
Cucumber sandwich tends to be the one left to last at the afternoon tea plate, but it can be absolutely tremendous! Here we move a little from tradition, by using wholemeal bread, ideally with lots of seeds for a much needed crunch and added flavour. Then combine curd cheese with lots of lemon zest, salt and pepper before spreading on one slice of the bread, topping with lots of thick cut carrot slices, a few coriander leaves, more cheese and finally second slice of bread.
The Egg and Cress
Ok, so during our research, we found that most people avoid egg mayonnaise and yet, when we served them our egg and cress sandwiches, they were gone in no time! There are only a few little tweaks we make to make them irresistible! First – start with home made egg mayonnaise – it is so easy to make and the shop bought stuff falls woefully short of the freshly made version! Simply combine cooked and grated eggs with red onion, chives, cress, mustard, and mayonnaise (only enough to bind everything together, not to kill the flavours). We then use German style rye or pumpernickel bread to take the flavours to the next level.
Stuffed Bread Pakora
This is a traditional Indian street snack – deep fried sandwich! We made ours with paratha for a more bite to the sandwich. Traditionally, it is stuffed with mashed potatoes with lots of spiced – a Bombay Aloo of sorts. We have tinkered with the recipe and used ingredients, which are closer to us. We used lots of spices, crushed Jersey Royal potatoes, fresh peas, tomatoes, paneer and fresh herbs and lots of spinach. The filling was cooked until soft and then stuffed to mixture between 2 parathas. The batter is made from Gram or chickpea flour, spices like garam masala and chilli flakes and water (consistency of lightly whipped cream) – simple and yet incredibly flavoursome! Did we mention it was deep fried?!?!
This sandwich consists of a soft baguette and a wonderful fusion of Vietmase ingredients (such as pickled veg, fish and herbs) and French import (like pate, the wheat baguette and mayonnaise). It was first introduced in the mid 20th Century when Vietnam was part of the French Indochina. It eventually became a staple breakfast or a snack dish. The history of this delectable sandwich, with its crunchy pickled cucumber, carrot and daikon, meat, fish or tofu, mayonnaise AND lots of fiery chilli sauce nestled in a pillowy soft baguette, is not strictly associated with Britain. Vietmanse cuisine is, however, gaining popularity in the UK. We are keeping ours fairly traditional with spice crusted monkfish, quick pickled vegetables, little fresh radish for added crunch and pepperiness, lots of coriander and mint, mayo and hot sauce!