Friday, 11 May 2012

Food Waste Friday or Cucumber sandwich, anyone?

This week's Food Waste Friday post was supposed to be about veggie lasagne:

which was Everyday Life On A Shoestring's Friday supper, crafted from left over vegetables and salad.  Very delicious.

But something happened yesterday.  I had a cucumber sandwich epiphany.  It was the Morris Minor's fault.  You might remember that I told you last week that I'm the wife of a 1966 Morris Minor Traveller owner?   Well, yesterday it was making its maiden voyage as a fully resprayed and fully working vehicle (it was purchased 2 years ago for £100, having lain in a garage untouched for 10 years).  And it was doing it in style.  Prom season has started round here.  You know? That thing that didn't exist when I was at school, where Year 11 pupils celebrate the end of their school career by dressing up in princessy ball gowns and smart suits and have a big party in a big posh house.  And of course, as befits this age of celebrity they arrive at their party destination in Limousines, Mercedes, vintage fire engines, and here in rural Wiltshire, gert big tractors.  Or they opt to arrive in our old banger of a 1966 Morris Minor, as did my colleague's son and his friend.

It's been a nail biting week; would the weather hold dry for long enough to complete the final touches of the respray?  Would Travis the Traveller really manage the journey without breaking down?  But by yesterday there was no going back.  And I had a brainwave; cucumber sandwiches were so clearly the most fitting savoury nibble for the pre-Prom mini party.

It pains me to say it, but in all my 44 years, I don't reckon I'd ever tasted a cucumber sandwich until yesterday.  I didn't let that put me off though!  The concept of the cucumber sandwich is so embedded in our English culture that I was pretty sure I could pull the whole thing off without resorting to Google for a recipe (gasp in amazement).  And so I present to you, cucumber sandwiches, Everyday Life On A Shoestring style:

Ingredients:  lots of thinly sliced cucumber, good quality white bread with no crusts (would you believe it - Warburtons even sell a crustless loaf, which had cucumber sandwiches written all over it, and which I succumbed to in a fit of pre-Prom unfrugality), thickly spread margarine or butter, salt and pepper.  

I know it goes against the simple living grain, but if you want the authentic experience please don't be tempted to try making them with healthy wholemeal, or worse still home-made bread!  It just won't be the same!

Assemble it all together and slice into delicate triangles:

So what's the Food Waste Friday link?

Well, I had no idea how many cucumbers it would take to make cucumber sandwiches.  Let's just say I erred on the side of caution and today, Friday, leaves us with surplus cucumbers.

But no worry, it seems I've been missing a trick these last 44 years, cucumber sandwiches turn out to be the most versatile foodstuff ever...Lunch? Check! After school snack? Check!  Kids hungry pre-supper? Check!

I double checked my facts before writing this post, and it turns out that cucumber sandwiches date from Edwardian times when growing exotic veg in hothouses became popular in wealthy homes.  A glut of cucumbers in such residences resulted in the birth of the cucumber sandwich.  Most recipes don't include salt or pepper but a dash of lemon juice, or orange zest instead, however I was flattered that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (a cucumber sandwich of a surname if ever there was one), of River Cottage, follows the ELOAS recipe.

If you don't like your sandwiches simple, variations include cucumber with cream cheese, apple, dill, parsley, mint, salmon, ham or marmite (but not all together).

In short, this Food Waste Friday feast is healthy, simple, frugal and delicious!  Let's hear it for the humble cucumber sandwich!


Food Waste Friday was dreamt up by, to encourage people to use up food instead of waste it.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your creative use of leftover veggies (I love veggie lasagna) and also on discovering cucumber sandwiches :) I've had quite a few cucumber sandwiches in my time because they're often the only vegetarian option in a sandwich platter.

    Good luck using up the rest of the cucumbers :)