Picnic Sandwiches for Sandwich Week

Wednesday 14 May 2014

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Sandwich week is coming up from the 19th to the 25th May and what better way to celebrate it than enjoying a good old fashioned picnic!  We British love picnics and we love sandwiches.  Combining the two together puts us right in our element!

The Unilever Kitchen recently sent me a sandwich hamper containing a variety of flavour packed sauces and condiments to use in creating some delicious sandwiches including . . .

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A nice jar of my favourite mayonnaise Hellman's, along with a variety of Hellmann's Mayonnaise flip top containers in A Zing of Lemon,  A Spark of Chili, A Touch of Garlic,  A Twist of Pepper and A Hit of Caramelized Onion.   I love, LOVE these flip top bottles.  They are convenient to use and to carry about in picnic baskets and for al fresco dining!  Easy to use and easy to enjoy!

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Also included were a variety of the Colman's sauces in flip tops (their new Fiery BBQ Chilli sauce as well as their new Chunky Burger Sauce) and some good old fashioned Coleman's English Mustard (the Toddster's favourite) and a jar of their grainy mustard.

The challenge was to enjoy some of these sauces and condiments and make good use of them for Sandwich week 2014.


The British are real sandwich lovers, which is why you will see in the shops (even newsagents) no end of variety of ready made sandwiches for purchase.   I have often found however  (with the exception of the ones from M&S), they are usually very disappointing, dry, dull, tasteless and half empty.  It is so much better to make and take your own!


Easy and more delicious.   Making your own sandwiches doesn't really take a lot of effort or time.  There are a few rules I like to follow however, which help to make sure that my sandwiches are the tastiest on the block.  And now yours can be too!
  • Spread any sandwich which is going to have a wet filling generously with butter, and right to the edges, so as to prevent any sogginess.
  • Use a sturdy bread which will hold up to the journey and standing for several hours.
  • Spread the filling generously and to the edge. Helps to prevent dry corners from being discarded in the trash later on.
  • Cut in half so that you have rectangles. This shape is a lot easier to pack and a lot easier to eat out of hand.
  • Wrap well in greaseproof paper (wax paper) or cling film to help keep them fresh and store in a sturdy container to help keep them from becoming crushed.
  • Don't forget the napkins. If you have followed my advice and generously filled them, you will quite happily need them!  

I always keep tins of tuna, salmon and ham in the larder, along with a variety of condiments.  That way I can always rustle up some tasty sandwiches at the drop of a hat.  If we get up one morning and the weather's right . . .  a picnic is only a few minutes away.     These are two of our favourite sandwich fillings that I make.  


*Ham Salad Filling*
Makes 2 or 3, depending on how generous you are with your filling
Printable Recipe

Savoury chopped ham, combined with some crunch, and tasty bits.

1 (200g) tin of cooked ham
(or 200g of cooked ham, chopped finely)
(You will end up with roughly one cup of ham)
1 TBS good quality mayonnaise (I use Hellman's)
1 heaped tsp of  mustard (Coleman's is the best)
(if you like extra texture, use a grainy one)
1 TBS sweet pickle relish
1 TBS finely chopped gherkins
1 spring onion, trimmed and chopped
freshly ground black pepper
Bread (choose a sturdy one)
softened butter

Mix together all of the sandwich ingredients. (Ham, mayo, mustard, pickle relish, gerkhins and onion.) Taste and add pepper as required. Butter your slices of bread to the edges with softened butter. Spread half of the slices with the filling and top with the rest. Cut in half to serve.

If taking out, wrap well and then store in a sturdy container. 


*Tuna Salad Filling*
Makes 2 or 3 depending on how generous you are with your filling.
Printable Recipe

Tasty tuna with some crunch and savoury bits.

1 (200g tin) of albacore tuna in spring water, drained and flaked
(The regular sized tin.  Not the smallest nor the biggest  You get about
1 cup of tuna when drained)
1 TBS of lemon pepper salad cream (Or Hellman's Twist of Pepper Mayo)
1 TBS of good quality mayonnaise (Or Hellman's Zing of Lemon Mayo)
1 TBS sweet pickle relish
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
1 heaped TBS of finely chopped red onion
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bread (choose a sturdy one)
softened butter

Mix together all of the sandwich ingredients. (drained tuna, salad cream, mayonnaise, pickle relish, celery, and red onion) Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Butter your slices of bread to the edges with softened butter. Spread half of the slices with the filling and top with the rest. Cut in half to serve

If taking out, wrap well and then store in a sturdy container.  

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Another favourite is my pressed picnic sandwiches.  These will want to be started the night before you want them so that you can give them plenty of time for the flavours to meld together and blend into the perfect mix of deliciousness.   Three hours will do it, but ideally overnight is best if you have the time. 

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These are the easiest and the tastiest of picnic sandwiches.   They are simply layers of meat and cheese and vegetables compressed between two layers of crisp chewy Italian Slipper bread, or Ciabatta as it is called.   

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You line the bottom half of the loaf with a good layer of tangy grainy mustard mayonnaise . . . and the inside of the top of the loaf with a tasty layer of  soft herbed cheese.  This helps to prevent the bread from getting soggy.   You wrap all of those layers tightly in cling film and then compress them just so . . .  and then when you are ready to pack up your lunch, just slice the compressed loaf into single sized servings.  Wrap each one well and pack them into your basket ready to go.  

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*Pressed Picnic Sarnies*
Makes 5 to 6 servings
Layers of color and beautiful flavors.  Perfect summer picnic fare!
1 Ciabatta loaf, cut in half length wise
(If you can get them the sun dried tomato or olive Ciabatta makes for a really fun sandwich)
3 TBS grainy mustard 
3 TBS mayonnaise
Garlic and Herb Boursin cheese
1/4 pound thin sliced roast turkey
1/4 pound thin sliced ham
1/4 pound thin sliced German Salami
4 slices gouda cheese
4 slices of edam cheese
4 slices emmental cheese
Roasted bell peppers
sliced sweet gerkins
sweet pickled jalapeno peppers (or any other hot pickled pepper you like)
chopped marinated olives
thinly sliced red onions
thinly sliced ripe tomatoes
Fresh basil leaves
Fresh rocket leaves      

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Spread the mustard and mayonnaise on the bottom of the ciabatta. Pull out some of the inner bread on the top half and discard.  (You can blitz it into bread crumbs and freeze it for another time.)  Spread the insides of the top half of the ciabatta with the Boursin cheese. Sprinkle the chopped olives over top and layer on the slices tomatoes, and some more  rocket leaves.  On the bottom crust of the ciabatta, layer rocket leaves and some basil leaves.  Add the sliced red onions. Layer on the meats.  Top with the cheeses.  Add a layer of roasted peppers, gerkins, and jalapenos.  Cover with top layer of ciabatta.  Press down lightly.  Wrap the  entire ciabatta tightly with several layers of plastic cling film, making sure it is well covered.  Place the wrapped ciabatta onto a chair and sit on it.  (I know this sounds silly, but it's the secret to a nicely pressed sandwich!)   Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.  Remove from the refrigerator.  Cut way the plastic wrap and cut into individual sandwiches.  You should get 5 or six sandwiches depending on the size of your Ciabatta!  These are delicious!    

Of course you don't have to go out and about to enjoy Sandwich week.  There are plenty of pretty tasty things you can do right at home to enjoy them, Al Fresco . . .  without leaving the comforts of home.

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These grilled steak sandwiches are beautiful.   You spread one slice of toasted sour dough  bread with the scrummy garlic mayo . . . and then you top it with two nicely grilled sandwich steaks.  Just look at those lovely char marks . . . yummo!!   

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You pile another slice of toasted bread with fresh rocket leaves and several  deliciously caramelized slow roasted tomatoes . . . just look at them . . . all sticky and slightly sweet, garlicky, herby . . . deliciously mouth wateringly scrummo . . .   You put that all together and you have a sandwich made in Heaven!!   Delicious enough to be restaurant fare . . . but created and eaten in the comfort of your own home.  

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*Grilled Steak Sandwiches*
Serves 2  
These are fabulous.  You can make them as a full sandwich, or as an open face sandwich.  I like them open faced myself.  But Todd likes them doubled.  This is a two hander!
4 thinnish sandwich steaks
4 thick slices of sourdough bread
olive oil for brushing
fine sea salt
cracked black pepper
garlic mayonnaise
a handful of rocket leaves
slow roasted tomatoes  

Heat your grill pan or barbeque grill over medium high heat.  Brush the steaks and the bread with a bit of olive oil.  Season the steaks with salt and black pepper.    Grill the bread for about a minute per side until the bread is toasted and you have some nice grill marks.  Remove and set aside. Keep warm.   Add the steaks and grill them until done to your likeness.  (Two minutes.  We like ours rare. ) Turn them a quarter turn halfway through grilling the first side to give you good grill marks.  Repeat on the other side.  Place two slices of bread onto each of two heated plates.  Spoon garlic mayonnaise onto one slice.   Place the rocket on the other slice.  Place two steaks on top of the garlic mayonnaise.  Top the rocket with a few roasted tomatoes.   Serve immediately.   

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*Slow Roasted Tomatoes*
Makes as many as you like
This is an easy and delicious way to deal with the garden glut of tomatoes!  Great to use in salads or soups, with pasta etc.
ripe garden tomatoes
a few cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
(The amount depends on how many tomatoes you have.)
fresh basil leaves, shredded
fresh oregano (optional  can use dried)
sea salt flakes
coarsely ground black pepper
olive oil
Preheat your oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Lightly oil a roasting tin.
Cut your tomatoes in half crosswise and place them, cut sides up, in the roasting tin.   Sprinkle with the minced garlic, shredded basil and oregano leaves if using.   Sprinkle with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.   Drizzle with some olive oil.  (Don't drown them.  For a full 9 by 13 inch roasting tin I would only use about 2 TBS)
Roast uncovered in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
They are now ready to use as you like.  We like them at room temperature served with some torn buffalo mozzarella and some salad leaves with a drizzle of Balsamic vinegar and a scattering of Parmesan flakes.   You can also blend them and use them in soups, on toasted bread as bruschetta, or Steak Sandwiches, etc.  Blended just as they are, they make an excellent Pasta Sauce!  

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*Better Than Grandma's Potato Salad*
Serves 4 to 5

Much better for you than the mayonnaise laden potato salad of yore, yet still every bit as tasty and healthier with the addition of lots of green vegetable crunch and snap!  

2 1/2 pounds of waxy new potatoes, halved or quartered if large
6 large radishes, trimmed and finely sliced
a large handful of fresh chives, finely snipped
1/2 of a punnet of mustard cress, snipped
a large handful of fresh haricot beans, trimmed and cut into two inch lengths
a handful of frozen petit pois, thawed and drained
1 TBS minced fresh dill weed
For the dressing:
2 TBS creamed horseradish
2 TBS good quality mayonnaise
the juice of half a lemon
4 TBS good quality olive oil
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil.  Add the potatoes and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender, adding the green beans during the last five minutes.  Drain well and then tip in to a large salad bowl. Toss in the peas.  

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour them over the vegetables.  Season with some sea salt and black pepper to taste.  Allow to cool.   Add the radishes, chives and cress, folding together gently.   Serve at room temperature.

And of course . . . what would a picnic be without something sweet to end it all on . .  . and not just anything sweet, but Lemon Drizzle Fairy Cakes . . .  

Scrummy cakes flavoured with Lemon, stuffed with lemon curd and baked, then brushed with a sugar and lemon syrup while still hot and then topped with a tasty lemon drizzle icing when cool for the perfect lemon treat!  Little jelly lemon slices on top make for the sweetest decoration!


*Lemon Drizzle Fairy Cakes*
Makes 8
Printable Recipe

Lucious lemon flavoured fairy cakes, filled with some lemon curd, and then soaked with a lemon sugar mixture and then finally topped with a lemon drizzle icing and some sweet little lemon jelly slices! Oh so Scrummy Yummy!!

For the cakes:
140g self raising flour (1 cup)
4 ounces butter (1/2 cup) (115g)
115g caster sugar (2/3 cup)
2 large free range eggs
2 dessertspoons of lemon curd
the grated zest of one lemon
more lemon curd for filling the fairy cakes

For the topping:
the juice of 1/2 lemon
2 TBS caster sugar

For the icing:
4 ounces icing sugar (1 cup) (no need to sift)
the juice from the other 1/2 of the lemon

To decorate:
mini lemon jelly slices  

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Line 8 muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.

Put all the fairy cake ingredients into a food processor. (with the exception of the additonal lemon curd to be used for filling the cakes.) Blend together for 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Dollop about 1/2 of the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Top each with about 1/2 teaspoon of additional lemon curd, then cover with the remainder of the cake batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the centre of one comes out clean.

While the cakes are still hot, and before removing them from the tin, mix the lemon juice and sugar together until the sugar dissolves somewhat. Prick the cakes all over with a toothpick and then carefully spoon the lemon/sugar mixture over the top, allowing it to soak in. Let sit for about 10 minutes before removing from the tin to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the icing, whisk together the icing sugar along with enough juice from the other half of the lemon to make a drizzeable icing. Spoon this over top of the cooled cakes and then top each with a couple of lemon jelly slices. Delicious!!  

Many thanks to the people at Unilever for sending me this lovely sandwich hamper.  Also included were some bread, a picnic blanket and a lovely bread board shaped like a slice of bread!


  1. I love sandwichs and these look absolutely georgeous Marie:)

  2. Hi Marie, I thoroughly enjoy your blog and try to have a read daily to see what deliciousness you have created!

    I actually came across it whilst searching for a lemon drizzle cake recipe and found one on your blog which I now make on a regular basis for my family. Having had such success with that, I decided to make these delightful looking fairy cakes today. I'm not sure what went wrong but my lemon curd sank to the bottom and after adding the lemon juice/sugar syrup (I didn't use it all as there was a lot) they became a little too sodden. They still taste lovely but don't look as pretty as yours (my icing always seems to look messy - too runny no doubt!). I will make them again, hopefully with better results next time.

    Everything you make always looks so delicious and appetising that I want to eat/make it all! Your husband is a very lucky man indeed!!

    I will continue to follow your lovely blog - keep up the great work Marie! xx

  3. Thanks for your comment Victoria. I don't know why that happens sometimes, that the lemon curd sinks. Some lemon curds are thicker and heavier than others. It's important that only only add the amount given as anymore definitely will sink. This is a case where you definitely need to err on the side of caution! Is it possible your lemon for the syrup was really large? I always seem to have just enough. For the icing, add the lemon juice a bit at a time, whisking as you go, until you get just the right consistency and then stop there. Humidity seems to have a lot to do with the way these things turn out for some reason. I hope you have better luck next time! Thank you so much for your very kind words reference my page. I do put a lot of work into it. Where do you live by the way??? Sometimes there is a difference between British and North American ingredients, such as flour, etc. that can give varied results. The only sure way is by weighing ingredients I think. A good pair of kitchen scales will solve those problems! xxoo


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