Toasties for Dinner
We’re in our 83rd day of lockdown in Sydney. And still going with the promise of an end in sight, though no one is game to set a date yet.
For our household of 5, it’s been a matter of bunkering down and weathering the storm, as we used to during our cruising days. Back to homeschooling and studies for the kids, house projects for Mr T and I, thankful for the ability to connect online. Just like on long passages, everyone goes about their day at their own pace with the highlight of the day being pre-dinner drinks (otherwise known as aperitif, sundowner or cocktail hour) followed by dinner itself. Dinner is invariably home cooked, served at the dinner table, where everyone is expected to sit ( a family tradition the kids were taught since birth ).
Unless, life happens and it is much easier to go with the flow than try to stick to dining rules.
Take last Friday Night.
The family was all over the place. One was out working, one had an assignment to complete, and the football was on TV. A sit-down dinner wasn’t going to work, and take-away pizza was strongly suggested. This prompted me to canvas the contents of the fridge and pantry where a whole shelf of opened items stared at me. Think
stinky washed rind cheese, various spreads and sauces, vegetables, cold meat, and more… Add sliced bread and dinner idea was a no brainer: make your own toastie!
The idea was to put all ingredients on the kitchen counter, let everyone build their own sandwich and cook it either on the sandwich press or the jaffle maker.
The rule was that there was no rules! Prep was minimal: only the mushrooms and onions needed pre-cooking, Shelley buttered the bread slices, I sliced up the cheese and vegetables.
Mr T went traditional and simple, with a cheese and tomato toastie, which he took to the TV room ( sorry. no photos, he was quick to disappear ).
Shelley piled up turkey and cheddar slices on mostarda.
Our resident vegan, Marc, was catered for with grilled zucchini, red onion, tomato and olive spread. He tried garlic dip for creaminess, and while it tasted good, the whole toastie didn’t hold together as it would with melted cheese. I suspect a jaffle would work better in that case, because all sides are sealed.
I was the only one keen on the stinky cheese ( which was very fancy French L’affine du Chablis and L’Artisan Washed Rind Rouge ), paired with grilled onions and mushrooms. A very robust flavoured toastie that was!
Anne returned from work just in time for me to make her a turkey, lingonberry jam and brie toastie. She could have cooked it herself, but I was just being a mum….
I am rather hesitant to write a recipe for a toastie, as I am sure most people know how to make one. But here is a simple guide on how we threw our “ Toastie party ”. Feel free to use different types of items to suit your taste and what’s on hand.
You will need:
Equipment: a sandwich press and jaffle maker ( a heavy pan or oven grill will work too )
Bread ( the vessel ): sliced white bread, sliced sourdough
Cheese ( what holds the toastie together ): cheddar, washed rind, brie,
Meat: smoked turkey breast
Vegetables ( best pre-cooked ): grilled onions, mushrooms, zucchinis, tomatoes
Sauces and spreads ( for extra flavour ): mostarda ( italian fruit condiment ), lingonberry jam, olive tapenade
- Butter the bread slices on one side. Add the filling on the un-buttered side and top with other slice buttered side up. I know it sounds obvious, but I’ve forgotten that step before and the sandwich didn’t come out as golden and delicious as it should have!
- Pre-cooking the vegetables means they won’t get soggy inside the bread and the toastie will cook much quicker. One exception is the tomatoes, raw is ok.
- Cheese is the glue that holds a toastie together.. That’s a challenge for our vegan resident, whose toastie kept falling apart. Until we spread some garlic cream. I am sure that avocado would work too, though we have not tried that. And, no we haven’t tried vegan cheese either ( we’re no quite there yet )