Use your loaf

Barbara Wilson

Sandwiches are among those foods that can be either really good or really bad. A simple sarnie can be an absolute joy to eat or sometimes you might really wish you hadn’t bothered. I can think of few things I hate more than one of those sandwiches which was made just too long ago to be enjoyable.

Bread made soggy by tomato juice. Crusts curling up and dry after being left out too long. And the same old fillings appearing again and again. At the other extreme, a sandwich can really hit the spot.

Whether it’s a pre-packed sandwich from the supermarket when you’re starving, a made-to-order bagel or a warm, toasted roll filled straight from the pan, there is a sandwich for every occasion, no matter how much time you do, or do not, have.

If you prepare a packed lunch every day, you might just be running out of ideas, especially if you are wanting to limit yourself to the low fat options. You don’t have to be stuck with a slice of ham or a slice of cheese.

Try experimenting with sauces and seasonings to add extra flavour without the extra calories. Mustard, chutney or pickle and horseradish or apple sauce are all great additions to roast meat sandwiches.

Rub bread with the cut surface of a clove of garlic or even chilli for a bit of a kick. Pile on tasty salad leaves such as rocket and watercress or loads of fresh herbs for more flavour and no fat. Remember that butter, margarine and mayonnaise will really add to the number of calories in your sandwich so do without or replace them with lower fat options such as reduced fat hummus, extra light cream cheese, tzakaki or raita or even a little pesto.

Lightly toss salad with low fat dressing before filling your sandwich – you won’t miss the mayo. Or go for interesting breads – pitta are just the right size and so handy, a couple of slices of seed loaf give that gorgeous flavour and texture, or maybe you prefer a slice of crispy baguette. Granary or fresh, moist, wholegrain bread can’t be beaten.

And there’s loads of things to do with a bit of left-over roast chicken: chilli heads can mix it up with plain yoghurt, chopped peppers, sweetcorn and chilli powder; get a curry kick by adding plain yoghurt, mango chutney, sultanas and curry powder to cooked chicken pieces; or how about marinading the chicken in the fridge overnight in soy sauce, garlic and ginger or even Chinese 5-spice.

My favourite sandwiches include a Greek-style lunch – loads of salad, some tuna fish, a bit of crumbled feta cheese and a few olives stuffed into a pitta bread, and, of course, a steak sandwich.

Tear open a fresh roll, rub one surface with garlic and spread horseradish sauce over the other. Cook very thin pieces of steak under a hot grill for a few minutes and fill the roll. Top with watercress, slices of grilled beef tomato or even roast vegetables if you have more time to spare.

Sandwiches don’t always have to be savoury. Sweet breads such as panettone, English muffins, barm brack (raisin bread) or cinnamon and raisin bagels make great sandwiches too, especially when lightly toasted.

Stir a spoonful of icing sugar into a tub of low fat cottage cheese or extra light cream cheese, pile on top of the bread and top with fresh fruit. Or try Greek yoghurt with fruit and honey or even low fat peanut butter with chopped banana.

Sensational sandwiches really are simple!

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