The Great British Sarnie Debate
Yesterday our founder Jonny claimed that he had invented THE PERFECT SANDWICH. This, I feel, is an extremely bold claim.. and one that needs to be opened up for discussion.
His ground-breaking combo consisted of the Pret tuna mayo and cucumber baguette with (wait for it..) two boiled eggs sliced and added to the baguette.
After a very heated discussion (not least because his fish and egg sandwich was a pretty tyrannical presence in our small office) we established the following criteria for a bangin’ sarnie.
- Good bread - this is the main event, so choose wisely. Our top contenders are the classic baguette, an oil based bread like focaccia or ciabatta, or the trusty sourdough.
- Go big on condiments. Nobody ever said, 'this sandwich is too juicy' - but we've all heard 'this sandwich is a bit dry'. Whatever your weapon (mayo, sriracha, BBQ), fire at will.
- Do you salad justice - buying high quality tomatoes or giving your veggies a little love in the form of seasoning, dressing or roasting your garnishes.
- Don't go direct from fridge to sarnie. Whether that’s warming up your fried chicken or allowing your salami to come up to room temperature, this will make a big difference.
Assembly is key- you have to constantly be aware of the tectonic shift. The biggest offender of sarnie slab avalanches is sliced tomato or slippery cucumber. Make sure slices are side-by-side, and you've got adequate roughage (e.g. lettuce).
This week I ask - what is your ultimate sandwich? Hit me up on email.
This week's tip: Transforming Root Veggies By Making an écrasé
By Phil Howard, master of Banquist's Contemporary British course and Michelin Star Chef
An ecrase simply translates to ‘crushed’ in French - and this simple method from my Lesson 3 Banquist course crushes it.
Adding butter to the pan whilst cooking root vegetables is a technique taught in culinary schools but under-utilised in home kitchens. It poaches root vegetables to make them sweet, tender, and glossy - allowing the beautiful flavours of butter to penetrate into the vegetables as they absorb the cooking stock.
Start by cutting vegetables (turnips, carrots, squash, suede etc.) and arrange them in a single layer in a large saucepan. Add a few knobs of butter and a pinch of salt. Add water to nearly cover the vegetables; lay a piece of parchment paper on top; and simmer. When the veg is nearly tender, remove the paper and allow any remaining water to evaporate off for another 5 minutes. Then simply crush with a fork into the desired consistency. Et fini!
In my opinion, this can transform humble vegetables into elegant side dishes.
This week's recipe: Hot Charred Cherry Tomatoes
By Yotam Ottolenghi, Author of Simple and Master of Mezze
I spent the majority of last weekend pinching super sweet cherry tomatoes from my mother-in-law's greenhouse. For some reason the taste of tomatoes straight off the vine cannot be beaten. Or perhaps it was the thrill of potentially getting caught stealing all her tomatoes...
This Ottolenghi recipe is everything I love about the fruit and more. It has reignited my obsession with roasted garlicky tomatoes.
And that little sprinkle of sugar makes ALL the difference.
- 350g cherry tomatoes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ¾ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp light brown sugar
- 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 5g fresh oregano: 3 sprigs left whole and the rest picked, to serve
- 1 lemon: finely shave the skin of ½ to get 3 strips and finely grate the other ½ to get 1 tsp zest
- 350g extra thick Greek-style yoghurt (such as Total), fridge-cold
- 1 tsp Urfa chilli flakes (or ½ tsp regular chilli flakes)
- flaked sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.
- Place the tomatoes in a mixing bowl with the olive oil, cumin seeds, sugar, garlic, thyme, oregano sprigs, lemon strips, ½ teaspoon of flaked salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix to combine, then transfer to a baking tray just large enough to fit all the tomatoes together snugly. Roast for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are beginning to blister and the liquid is bubbling. Turn the oven to the grill setting and grill for 6–8 minutes, until the tomatoes start to blacken on top.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, combine the yoghurt with the grated lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon of flaked salt. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Once the tomatoes are ready, spread the chilled yoghurt on a platter (with a lip) or in a wide, shallow bowl, creating a dip in it with the back of a spoon. Spoon over the hot tomatoes, along with their juices, lemon skin, garlic and herbs, and finish with the picked oregano and chilli flakes. Serve at once, with some bread.
Your questions answered
“Many recipes call for small amounts of wine, is it possible to freeze the leftover amount? Will freezing it damage any of the properties? (PS I'm not opposed to drinking the remaining wine...if I HAVE to!). " From Georgia in Birmingham
Answered by Nigella, Domestic goddess and silk dressing gown advocate
Both red and white wine can be kept frozen and it is a good way of making use of leftover wine, though I would only recommend using it for cooking once it has been frozen. It should be fine for up to 3 months.
Because of its alcohol content wine will not freeze completely solid, it will remain a little soft around the edges. For that reason, freezing in ice cubes is a really neat way of stopping your fridge from looking like a murder scene.
There is no need to defrost the wine before using. As it is not fully frozen it will thaw almost as soon as it hits the hot pan or liquid. Great for stews and gravies that are lacking in a little oomph!
This week's recommendation: Posh Cow Whipped Butter
We recently discovered Posh Cow Butters and boy are we happy about it. After dipping my pinky into their Blossom honey and cinnamon whipped butter, I was instantly hit with SO many ideas on what I could smother it on. Unfortunately, after this daydream, I only had half the tub left, so I may need to restock before testing these out.
I would also recommend trying their butter whipped with seaweed - delicious slathered generously on grilled fish and asparagus, steamed jersey royals and a squeeze of lemon. Or perhaps just on a hunk of warm bread...
Long live fancy butter!