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Japanese hot dogs

5 Oct

Japanese hotdog
On our trip to Vancouver last summer, Japadog was on my list of things to do/try while we were in town.

For various reasons, I didn’t manage to eat one until we were at the airport, about to fly home. Probably just as well…

Japanese hot dogs are delicious, extremely moreish, and could definitely see myself working my way through their kurogoma kimuchi dog (turkey sausage with kimchi and black sesame seeds), ebi tempura dog (prawn tempura on rice) and yakisoba dog (“popular Japanese noodles and aribiki sausage”).

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Choripán with chimichurri

4 Jul

Choripán – or grilled spicy sausage in a toasted baguette – is Latin America’s take on the hot dog.

Argentinians make their choripán with chorizo sausages and slather them in fresh chimichurri sauce – definitely a winning combination.

Choripán are ubiquitous at football matches, making them an obvious choice for our World Cup 2018 cook-off. Continue reading

Smørrebrød

1 Jul

smorrebrod

My mum used to say that you feed the eye as well as the stomach, and that is certainly true of Danish smørrebrød. They are truly little works of art on a plate.

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Zapiekanka

30 Jun

zapiekanka

A zapiekanka is Poland’s answer to cheese on toast. Sautéed mushrooms are heaped onto a split baguette, covered with grated cheese and browned under a grill.

Zapiekanka is an excellent contender to represent Poland in our 2018 World Cup cook-off. Tasty (points all round), cheesy (ditto) and easy (extra points from me).

I even tracked down some Polish ketchup for authenticity. Its spicy sharpness was well received, and definitely worked in Poland’s favour.

The only thing dividing the judges was my younger daughter’s dislike of mushrooms.

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Pljeskavica (Serbian hamburgers)

27 Jun

These enormous hamburgers were a no-brainer to represent Serbia in our World Cup 2018 cook-off.

They’re super-easy to make as well – the only tricky bit was flipping them.

I found it helpful to form the patties on squares of grease-proof paper. I placed them meat-side down on the grill before peeling off the paper. Continue reading

Tuna melt

24 Apr

tuna melt

Whenever I eat a tuna melt it takes me back to my childhood in northern BC.

One of my first friends had parents who belonged to the Royal Order of Elks. My parents weren’t remotely interested in joining clubs, but it looked pretty good to my young eyes.

Her parents got to march in the parade in bright purple jackets. And there were social events, like the summer barbeque or children’s Christmas party that I’d attend as her guest.

But what I liked best about the Elks was going to the lodge.

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Breakfast burrito

8 Feb

breakfast burrito

On Sundays, we generally have a cooked breakfast (though it’s often noon by the time we sit down to eat it).

It’s often a full-on fry-up, heuvos rancheros, eggs benedict, or a homestyle egg McMuffin. But over the last year, these breakfast burritos have shouldered their way into the rotation.

Having experimented with different fillings and methods, I’ve pretty much settled on the version below: spicy hash brown potatoes topped with a fried egg all wrapped snugly in a warmed flour tortilla. Continue reading

Chicken fajitas

1 Sep

Chicken fajitas
Stir-fry goes Mexican… Chicken fajitas are classic mid-week fare around here.

I usually make them with strips of red pepper and onions, – courgette spears (cooked so that they retain some crispness) are a nice addition.

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Kimchi grilled cheese sandwich

23 Apr

Kimchi grilled cheese

Kimchi and cheese probably seems  an odd combination to most people.

Even today, I doubt the average Korean family eats much cheese, and kimchi is hardly a store cupboard staple in Britain (though it certainly is in this British home).

But in this global world, these two unlikely ingredients have met and fallen in love. Kimcheeze anyone? Sorry…

In an attempt to raise the tone, I quote the famous gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin:

The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star.

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Chicken tinga tacos

2 Dec

chicken tinga tacos

Chicken tinga tacos – fun to say, fun to eat… And a great leftover to use in packed lunches throughout the week.

Another bonus of making chicken tinga is the delicious stock that results from poaching the chicken. Sometimes I freeze it, but more often it gets added to soups or risotto over the following days.

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Sweet potato and black bean tacos

18 Nov

Sweet potato and black bean tacos

Sweet potato and black bean tacos are currently the “go-to” taco around here. Last year was all about fish tacos, but the tilapia I favoured has vanished from the fish counter, for one thing.

Also, we are make a conscious effort to have more meat-free dinners each week, and these are helping with that ambition.

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Croque monsieur

10 Jul

Croque monsieur

The croque monsieur is a French café classic. Done well, it’s a toothsome delight of crispy, cheesy deliciousness – too often, it’s a tepid, limp disappointment.

All the more reason to make croque monsieur at home, using good bread, good ham and good cheese, for a great weekend lunch. Continue reading

Turkey burgers

17 Apr

Turkey burgers

Turkey burgers can be pretty dry and tasteless, and it taken some experimenting to produce one I’m happy to eat. I opt for ground turkey thigh mince instead of breast, and add cheddar and anchovy for extra fat and flavour.

Topped with lettuce and tomato, and served in a homemade hamburger bun with a side of sweet potato fries, you have a fresh take on the classic burger and fries.  Continue reading

Baron of beef sandwich

23 Dec

baron-of-beef

Baron of beef sandwiches (or beef dip) has become a family tradition on the evening we (finally!) trim the Christmas tree.

I’m not one for getting the tree up on the first of December. Grinchily resisting the girls’ pleas, I wait until the afternoon they break up from school to start our Christmas celebrations. It feels sweeter and more concentrated that way.

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Bruschetta al pomodoro (tomato bruschetta)

30 Jun

Tomato bruschetta

Bruschetta al pomodoro is simplicity itself – so why write a post about it?

Two reasons:

  1. While the list of ingredients is short and the preparation straightforward, there are a few things worth knowing that can make the difference between a mouthwatering crispy delight and a confused, soggy mess.
  2. I’ve been served so many disappointing, and frankly odd, versions of tomato bruschetta that it seems worth setting down how to do it right.

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Lamb and pea samosas with mint yogurt

26 May

lamb-pea-samosas

Pondering how to use up the remains of a jar of mint sauce that had been hanging about the fridge for too long, I hit upon the idea of making a batch of lamb and pea samosas.

Although I’ve made them for years, I still haven’t settled on a method for making samosas. Sometimes I buy frozen samosa wrappers from the Indian grocers. I’ve also had a go at making my own pastry (not a notable success).

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Rolex

10 Mar

rolex

Ever since our World Cup cooking experience last summer, I’ve been on the lookout for new African recipes. When I came across this video about the Ugandan rolex, I thought it seemed right up our alley.

A rolex is a thin vegetable omelette rolled up in a chapati, and is a popular street food in Uganda. They proved pretty popular around here too, when I made them for brunch last weekend. Continue reading

Chicken satay sandwich

7 Mar

Chicken satay sandwich

Crispy, juicy pieces of chicken coated in spicy peanut sauce and stuffed in a bread roll or hunk of baguette, this chicken-satay sandwich makes a very satisfying dinner served with a heap of Asian slaw.

With meals like this, I always bring the elements to the table so each person can assemble their sandwich the way they like it.

I use chicken thighs, which I find more flavoursome, but chicken breasts would work fine too. The original recipe is from Nigel Slater’s Real Food. Continue reading

Tuna chickpea pitta sandwich

12 Feb

tuna-chickpea-salad

This simple tuna chickpea pitta sandwich is one of my lunchtime staples. I find the mix of textures particularly satisfying. It’s also low in fat and high in protein – the kind of food I’m looking for after recent indulgences.

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Falafel with tahini sauce

22 Jan

Falafel 2

Falafel are another standby from my student days. With one tin of chickpeas you can produce a dozen crunchy little nuggets to eat alongside a salad, or stuff in a piece of pitta bread with tahini sauce.

Traditionally, falafel are made with uncooked chickpeas or fava beans that have been soaked overnight before being  coarsely ground. This results in a nuttier texture than these falafel. While the outsides are crisp, inside they are soft – almost fluffy.

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Grilled cheese sandwich

24 Sep

Grilled cheese sandwich

Mum made two kinds of grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. The first was a crappy, open-face sandwich that involved slapping a plasticky cheese slice on a slice of bread and melting it under the broiler. This was always adorned with a  little ketchup smiley face.

The second kind involved two slices of buttered bread and real cheddar, and was cooked slowly in the electric frying pan until it transformed into crispy-melty-cheesy deliciousness. To my disappointment, we ate a lot more of the first kind… Continue reading

Black bean salad

14 Sep

Black bean salad

This black bean salad has a bit of an identity crisis. Is it a salad? A salsa? A filling?

When I worked in central London, I’d regularly pack this black bean salad for my lunch. It travels well and the  flavours improve over time. I’d eat it as it is, maybe with some crackers,  or use it to fill a wrap. It’s also good mixed with an equal amount of cooked quinoa or other grain.

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Vietnamese salad rolls

2 Sep

Vietnamese salad rolls

A good Vietnamese salad roll is one of my all-time favourite things. When I lived in Vancouver, there was a great Vietnamese place called Vina round the corner from my apartment, and  I would regularly pick up an order of  salad rolls for dinner on the way home from work. Continue reading

Banh mi sandwich

23 Aug

Banh mi sandwich

We’ve been making banh mi sandwiches for a while now, and have eventually settled on a house version. It calls for little meatballs instead of grilled meat, doesn’t include paté, and features cabbage in the pickle instead of the usual daikon radish – works for us! Continue reading

Mexican pork wraps

9 Aug

Mexican pork wraps

These Mexican pork wraps appears in Fern’s Food. As I’ve never come across Cajun seasoning in my local supermarket, I went with a mix of oregano, chilli powder, cumin and garlic instead. I’ve also used jerk seasoning when I have it. Otherwise, I was pretty much true to the original recipe.

I served the pork wraps with a watermelon feta rocket salad. Only when it was on my plate did I notice that both dishes featured the colours of the Mexican flag. Continue reading

Huevos rancheros

3 Aug

Heuvos rancheros

While I’d never let ketchup anywhere near my eggs, I do love the combination of eggs and spicy ranchero sauce. I always poach my eggs in those little poaching pods – my ‘open water’ poaching results are pretty variable – while Adam and the girls prefer their eggs fried. Continue reading

Homestyle egg McMuffin

22 Jul

egg muffin

To my mind, the egg McMuffin is the best thing McDonalds has to offer. Even so, I’d far rather make one at home with a crispy fried egg, vintage cheddar, good quality ham and some chopped green onion. Now that I think of it, I’m not even sure that the girls have ever eaten a “real” one… Continue reading

Baleadas

12 Jul

baleadas

Made baleadas for lunch to represent Honduras in our World Cup cooking challenge. This dish was right up our alley – the tortillas were soft and fluffy, and delicious filled with refried beans, cheese, slices of avocado and topped with chismol – a fresh vegetable salsa. I followed the flour tortilla recipe on the This is Honduras website, but just made my usual refried beans. Continue reading

Fish tacos

10 Jul

Fish tacos

We celebrated Mexico’s appearance in the World Cup with fish tacos and Coronas. We had this dinner the first time Mexico played on 13 June, but I didn’t take any photos so decided to feature them again.

Actually, we have fish tacos pretty regularly — it being one of the few ways that Lyra will eat fish.  I pretty much follow this recipe I found on the Love and Lemons website. Continue reading

Cevapi with “kajmak” and somun

3 Jul

cevapi

I messed up my timing with this Bosnian World Cup recipe. I forgot to start the cevapi or the kajmak the day before, and had to rush the bread along so Adam could eat with us before going out. In the end, I made a rough approximation of the kajmak by mashing some feta cheese, cream cheese and Greek yogurt together… There is a detailed description of this recipe on the Cooked Earth website, which I had every intention of following carefully, but things didn’t pan out that way. We’d all be happy to eat this meal again – and if I do make a proper kajmak I’ll write about it then. Continue reading

Chivito sandwich

24 Jun

IMG_2445_2

This Uruguayan sandwich is a monster. I looked at a few recipes for chivitos, eventually making it with less than half the meat called for. It still defeated everyone but Adam. This website goes into a lot of detail about how to assemble a chivito. Continue reading

Welsh rarebit

14 Jun

welsh rarebit

Welsh rarebit, should possible have gone for something with a more clearly English, but I didn’t… This Guardian article on Welsh rarebit was a good source of info, and I mostly followed their recipe. Couldn’t believe we could need as much cheese topping as the recipes suggested, and even after cutting it back quite a bit, I had more than enough. Served it with a watercress and avocado salad that I found on Epicurious. Continue reading