I propose A toastie
The humble toasted sandwich has been reinvented in these delicious grilled cheese recipes.
BLUEBERRY COMPOTE & ALMOND PRALINE
This was the first dessert toastie that we came up with. It may look like there are a lot of ingredients, but it's really easy and makes a great treat for friends and family.
If you're making this just for yourself, you will be left with some compote and praline but both keep well - the compote for up to a week in the refrigerator, and the praline for three weeks in an airtight container.
Serve with yoghurt and granola, porridge, or over pancakes.
50g (¼ cup) cream cheese, softened
20g (2¾ tbsp) sifted icing (confectioners') sugar, plus extra to serve
2 slices of raisin bread, buttered on one side
For the blueberry compote:
200g (generous 1½ cups) blueberries
50g (5¾ tbsp) icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 orange, plus juice of ½ an orange
For the almond praline:
50g (2/3rds cup) flaked (slivered) almonds
125g (2/3rds cup) caster sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice
For the compote, put the blueberries in a small pan along with the icing sugar, vanilla extract, orange zest and juice. Place over a medium heat. The blueberries will burst and everything will start to get syrupy. Cook for five minutes before taking off the heat and leaving to cool.
For the praline, gently toast the flaked (slivered) almonds in a dry frying pan, then tip them into a bowl and leave them to cool.
Add the sugar to the frying pan and cook without stirring, but giving the pan the odd shake until the sugar is melted and golden (it should reach 300°C/570°F on a sugar thermometer). Be careful as it will be extremely hot.
Add the toasted almonds and lemon juice. Stir well and tip onto a silicone-lined baking sheet. Leave to cool. Once cool, either smash to break up, or cut with a knife.
It is great to eat as it is, but for the sandwich put some praline in a food processor and gently pulse; you get some chunks and sugary dust.
To assemble the sandwich, mix the cream cheese and icing sugar together in a bowl. Place the raisin bread buttered side down. Top one slice with the sweetened cream cheese, then 2 tablespoons of the blueberry compote and a handful of crushed almond praline.
Close the sandwich and cook over a gentle heat in a dry frying pan until golden on both sides. (This sandwich is a bit too delicate for a panini press.)
Remove, sift ½ tablespoon of icing sugar over and serve.
This was a sandwich we came up with for a Halloween special. The beetroot was a given because of its deep bloody red colour.
We pickled it to give it extra zing!
Goat's cheese and chives are a classic combination that work really well with the earthiness of the beetroot.
2 slices of sourdough bread,
buttered on one side
150g (5¼oz) soft goat's cheese
1 tsp finely chopped chives
For the pickled beetroot:
3-4 medium, raw beetroot
2 tbsp olive oil
200g (1 cup) caster sugar
300ml (1¼ cups) white wine vinegar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
200ml (1 cup minus 3 tbsp) water
2 bay leaves
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Trim any leaves or stalks off the beetroot, clean and coat in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Wrap in foil and roast in the oven for 1-1ƒ hours, until the point of a knife can be easily inserted. Remove and leave to cool in the foil, then unwrap and peel off the skin; use gloves or paper towels to stop your hands being stained. Cut into thick slices and place in a sterilised jar.
For the pickling liquor, put the sugar, both vinegars, water and bay leaves in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and gently stir so that all the sugar is dissolved.
Carefully pour enough of the hot liquid into the jar to fully cover the beetroot (depending on the size of the jar, you may not need it all). Leave to cool, uncovered, then spoon the remaining tablespoon of oil into the jar and seal. Leave for at least 24 hours, and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
To assemble the sandwich, place the bread slices buttered side down. Spread the goat's cheese onto one slice of the bread. Place some of the pickled beetroot slices on top, then sprinkle on the chives.
Close the sandwich and cook using your preferred method.
Roasting mushrooms gives them a great, meaty texture that is perfect for this toastie. This takes more time, but - trust us - the flavour is far more intense.
100g (3½oz) chestnut (cremini) mushrooms, quartered
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 slices of sourdough bread, buttered on one side
100g (3½oz) mixed grated cheese
Handful of fresh parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Put the quartered mushrooms in a roasting dish with the garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, mix to coat and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, giving them a little shake half way through.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
Place the bread slices buttered side down and sprinkle the grated cheese over one slice, followed by 1ƒ tablespoons of the mushrooms; there should be enough to cover the bread and ensure you get mushroom in every bite (save any left over for another use).
Add parsley before closing the sandwich and cooking using your preferred method (see right for tips).