Posts Tagged: bread

Mar 11

A simple sandwich


There are few foods as glorious as a bacon sandwich, few things as perfect in their simplicity that deliver on flavour in such huge swathes. I write this, of course, having realised I have no bread, no butter and no bacon in the house and my local butcher is, as most are, shut on a Sunday.

That combination of soft, pillow-like white bread, bacon thick enough that it needs a decent chomp to get through with fat crisped so it snaps, a generous layer of butter (for there are no health corners to be cut with this) spread thickly onto each slice of bread and then a good splurt from the ketchup bottle.

Leave the molecular gastronomy to Heston, to Ferran and to Thomas Keller. Give me a bacon sandwich any day of the week.

Aug 10

Daily bread


My mother swears by a commitment to bread – a daily ritual, practice and hard work are the things that lead to a perfect loaf. Me, I’m all about shortcuts when it comes to baking bread. And it appears I’m not alone – Dan Lepard, baker extraordinaire, shared his fantastic recipe with me recently for a simple white loaf via one of the wonders of our modern age, Twitter – although it must be said he didn’t do it in less than 140 characters!

His bread method (which works for a variety of flours) is straightforward, easy and, the best bit, hardly requires any work. If you haven’t turned your hand to baking before, I’d urge you to head out, grab some good quality bread flour and get baking – I’ve been making a loaf every day and scoffing it toasted with loads of butter and homemade mixed berry jam.

Click here for the recipe for Dan Lepard’s simple white loaf

May 10

French Fancy


I’m off for a few days to France and can’t wait to get stuck into some French fare. The cuisine of our neighbours is hugely diverse and much of what we think of as ‘French food’ is only a very small picture of a dynamic and varied food culture.

The people of France are fiercely proud of their regionality and this, in many cases, is showcased most clearly through their food, from the rich, warming cheese-based dishes of the Savoie (any skier will be familiar with these) to the light, fresh, Mediterranean influenced dishes of the South.
I can’t wait to visit the markets, shops and producers, getting ideas and inspiration from a whole new food scene, cooking across long afternoons in a roomy French kitchen.

I’m rather covetous when it comes to food – I tend to save things for rainy days. I’ve still got a jar of honey my sister bought me from Bergerac last year that comes out on special occasions – to garnish thick, Greek yogurt or to be spread, thickly, on toast with lashings of butter.

So watch this space for some Franco-themed food, coming your way!

Apr 09

A quick bite – the open sandwich


Some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten were born out of necessity. Sometimes the most perfect harmony is struck by pure coincidence – the chance leftovers of a number of different meals thrown together with some of the things we always have in the fridge.

For some reason I always have cucumbers and spring onions – probably because they are both quite versatile. Cucumbers are part of one of my weird food loves – Ryvita with cucumber, cottage cheese and Marmite. It’s the sort of thing that makes some people balk but draws a knowing nod from others. You might think itis a bizarre combination but there’s method in my madness – a luscious combination of crunch, cool, salty and creamy. But you’d have to try it to believe me.

The spring onions sit atop many a dish I make – and are particularly good in noodle soups, where the green parts soften and wilt slightly. They add a different type of crunch to salads that an ordinary onion might too. A more ‘green’ flavour.

So – with a little leftover duck and some fancy Poilâne bread (the classic French sourdough loaf) they ended up as quite the luxurious, stylish lunch. You could cook a duck leg off for this recipe – slow roast it in an oven for 2 hours at 130°C before allowing to cool. Alternatively, use duck breast, pan frying for 10-12 minutes.

Open sandwich of duck with cucumber and spring onion

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 duck leg, meat shredded
  • 2 spring onions
  • ½ cucumber
  • 2 pieces good bread about 1 cm thick ( Poilâne is ideal, available in Waitrose)
  • 2 tbs mayonnaise
  • ½ lime
  • 1 tbs Hoisin sauce, optional


Heat a griddle pan on a high flame until hot. Griddle the bread for a minute or so on each side until it has dark lines on it from the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and throw in the shredded duck to warm through.

Finely slice the spring onion on the diagonal. Do the same to the cucumber but then cut each slice into four slivers.

Spread the mayo on to the bread, then top with some of the spring onions and cucumber. Spread the duck on top, then add more of the salad. Squeeze over the lime, season and drizzle over Hoisin sauce if wanted, and serve.

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