I’ll start with a confession. I hate buying sandwiches. If I go out for lunch, I want service with a smile, a proper knife and fork and preferably something hot (say a double baked Gruyère soufflé from a certain One St Martins Lane for example…) However, I know all too well that often it is just not possible to escape the confines of your desk.
Anything from sliced white in a plastic triangle to overpriced ‘pick your own filling’ delis, just don’t float my boat (or my purse). To be fair, this has probably got a lot to do with a Scottish Mother and a Yorkshire Father. Nevertheless, being thrifty doesn’t have to be dull. A packed lunch has connotations of soggy sarnies, whereas it should be something to look forward to all morning and a highlight of your working day. Especially if you can’t escape the office to come and join us at The Cheese Society!
(Most of the bread used is sourced from Wellbeck Bakehouse, and available to buy at our shop, 28 The Strait)
Here are March’s Monthly Selection in all their sandwich glory….
1. Webster’s Stilton: This is a full flavoured, crumbly Stilton, less creamy in texture than its more widely known cousins. The richness to it means that combinations can be creative. And I mean creative. We (my boyfriend is the ever malleable guinea pig) went for Webster’s Stilton with Damson Jam and Rocket. Before you think I am one cheese sandwich short of a picnic, hear me out. Blue Cheese with rich sticky fruit jams is a Spanish classic, this is just an English twist. The salty sweetness is a real fireworks party for the tongue and the added pepperiness of the Rocket gives extra depth.
Bread: This works best with a bread that can hold its own without overpowering. Try the long Italian Ciabatta cut into a good crusty doorstep.
2. Peppered Rosary Goat: A wonderfully fresh goats cheese, with a good amount of lemony acidity that we have come to expect from this well renowned Wiltshire dairy. The distinct pepperiness and citrus tang immediately conjured up a desire to match with a rich, oily fish. After much deliberation, we went for Peppered Rosary Goat with Smoked Mackerel, Watercress and a twist of lemon. Be sparing with the fish though, as you don’t want to overpower the delicate mousse like texture of the cheese. The watercress enlivens the existing pepper of the cheese whilst cutting through some of the richness of the fish. One handy hint; don’t put the lemon on until directly before eating, pop in a little bag and squeeze before devouring.
Bread: We were inspired by the Scandinavians, and think this works best as an open sandwich, preferably on deli rye.
3. La Lorraine: Those who have read my previous blogs, will know I am easily led by a name. I’m a great believer in letting the origins of the food do the talking. La Lorraine is a good, firm, traditional French cheese, reminiscent of a Tomme. It heralds from, surprise surprise, the same area of France as the Quiche Lorraine. And so, our next offering is a ‘deconstructed Quiche Lorraine’ sandwich. La Lorraine, Egg, Lardons and a paprika infused mayonnaise. The flavour combination is a classic. After a couple of rounds of these little beauties we suggest; slice the cheese thickly, but the egg as thinly as you can. After frying off the lardons, pad firmly with kitchen paper to ensure there is no excess grease. Don’t mix the mayonnaise directly with the egg though, to avoid a throw back to the 1970s.
Bread: This sandwich needs something substantial to support it. Go for a traditional farmhouse loaf (we’d vote wholemeal) and don’t be stingy on the thickness of your slices.
4. Holy Smoke: A Single Gloucester with a pretty awesome name in my opinion and my goodness is it smoky. It’s a nice and firm, creamy texture; that means it is almost the perfect cheese for a decent sandwich. Now and again you can’t beat a good old cheese and pickle sandwich. Except, actually, we think you can. Holy Smoke with Pickled Roasted Red Peppers (available at all good supermarkets) and a good selection of mixed leaves. The smokiness of the cheese works fantastically with the charred peppers, whilst their briney saltiness and vinegar prevents the cheese from being too heavy. The leaves bring a lightness and satisfying crunch to the sandwich.
Bread: A decent sourdough would work best, we opted for the Olive Sourdough, as the little black beauties worked so wonderfully with the peppers.
5. Tasty Lancashire: This a beautifully crumbly cheese, to rival any Wensleydale or White Stilton, with a good strong mature tang to it. It’s a good traditional recipe, that means it has a good nutty bite to the finish. Now, who says a cheese sandwich has to be savoury. Crumbly cheeses work classically with fruit cakes, but this Lancashire also works fantastically with Ginger. A classic Jamaican Ginger loaf, sliced with a good hunk of this fresh crumbly cheese and some leaves of fresh mint. We assure you this will be a real treat for the lunch box (try it on Wednesday, to get you over the ‘hump day’) and will definitely cause quite a stir in the lunch room!
Bread: If you fancy something a tad more savoury, we stock a lovely Apple Sourdough which will work well with the mint and Lancashire, though we suggest you also add an extra something, preferably a sharp, tangy chutney to prevent the whole sandwich becoming too heavy.