Warmer weather just invites us to have tea outdoors. We're lucky to have an enclosed garden. It is so quiet and peaceful in our garden, pretty amazing if you think that the front of the house is facing a busy road. The old trees and greenery make our garden a perfect spot for a leisurely tea. Tea and cakes go well, but so do sandwiches. When I was asked to create freestyle sandwiches with Lurpak, my first thought was those quaint classic cucumber sandwiches.
Of course, there are cucumber sandwiches and there are cucumber sandwiches. They could be soggy little horrors, which are sometimes served at parties. But if you prepare them the right way, they are truly one of the simplest yet elegant and tasty British classic dishes. A national institution. And they're perfect for an afternoon tea, delicate and delicious yet not too filling so you have some space left for dinner later. They might quaint and Victorian, but don't discard them as an old-fashioned trend.
Choose a good sliced bread. My guys prefer Warburtons sliced bread for sandwiches. Sasha with his autism won't eat any other bread, which makes it tricky when we have to travel. Imagine how odd it might look to the airport check-in people, if they decide to open my suitcase. Probably nobody else takes sliced bread to Italy. Italians make all sorts of wonderful tasty breads, but their sliced bread is really not good at all. But going back to our cucumber sandwiches.
First prepare the cucumber. Peel it or leave the skin on. I actually prefer the skin on, especially with young cucumbers. Slice the cucumber thinly. It's up to you, whether you prefer it sliced in circles or thin ribbons. Or even cut into flower shapes with a cookie cutter, I have seen these sandwiches on Pinterest, they look cute, but of course, you waste some of the food by cutting it into fancy shapes.
I used an OXO Good Grips simple mandoline slicer (which I reviewed back in February, see my blog post Valentine's day menu) to slice the cucumber into thin strips. Arrange the slices on a big plate and sprinkle with salt. Leave it for 15 minutes, then pat dry the ribbons with a paper kitchen towel on both sides. The mandoline makes a fiddly job of even slicing very easy and quick.
Take the bread slices and remove the crusts. Butter each slice well.
We have tried many brands of butter spreads, and it's Lurpak that we go back to again and again. I believe it's one of the tastiest butter spreads.
Arrange the cucumber ribbons over the buttered bread, then cut the sandwiches into neat triangles.
If you have access to fresh flowers like primroses and violets, you might like to prettify your sandwiches with a few flowers. I have plenty of them in the garden, all organic and untreated by any chemicals, so they are safe to eat.
For a more substantial sandwich spread, go Scandi and prepare a platter of sandwiches with a herring butter. You will need some pickled herring either from the deli or get a variety in a jar. I like Elsinore Herrings in sweet & spicy marinade (found in Waitrose, but might be available in the other supermarkets or delis).
|Rye bread & herring butter sandwiches|
Finely chop the pickled herring and mix with soft butter spread and chopped fresh dill. Spread the herring butter over the sliced rye bread and decorate with more dill or lemon slices.
Tuck in at once!
In both recipes I used Lurpak spreadable Lighter slightly salted. It is a blend of Lurpak butter and vegetable oil. It is easily spreadable even straight from the fridge; contains no palm oil, hydrogenated fats, artificial colourings or preservatives.
What are your favourite open sandwiches?
Disclosure: I received a £5 supermarket voucher to cover the cost of products. All opinions are mine.