Ode to the toasted sandwich

As a student living in catered halls of residence a staple part of my kit was a toasted sandwich maker. Value bread and plastic cheese, voila hot lunch without having to leave my room. Ah those were the days when I could eat a cheese toastie, packet of Wotsits, Fuse bar and can of coke for lunch on a regular basis (all for £1) and still comfortably get into a size 8 pair of trousers. The mid 1990s for me saw the introduction to the exotic sounding panini in Long Cat Cafe housed in basement of C&A, Liverpool or the ‘Hot Baguette’ of student union bar days but for me it still has to be a proper triangular toastie.

Our tiny house means we are limited to what appliances we have and recently when we had a few vouchers that needed spending the toasted sandwich maker was deemed more important than a toaster; though it is stored out of sight due to the fact it doesn’t match the rest of the kitchen. Nope, no kitchen vanity here.

You’d think working from home means I have a whole kitchen at my disposal. I don’t have to jostle with workmates for the crusty microwave or pray that someone hasn’t half inched my lunch. Well working with food can sometimes kill your appetite. Some days all I need is a simple toasted sandwich. Not melted filling sandwiched between two pieces of toast, but a toastie made in a proper sandwich toaster that makes a quick hot lunch with filling that is sometimes comparable molten lava.

I’m a bit of an unadventurous toastie fan. Here the ultimate toastie filling is cheese & beans, trust me it’s delicious, closely followed by a toastie pizza made with a spoonful of tomato ketchup, cheese & salami. However toasties don’t need to be just savoury. As a student I may or may not have eaten banana, nutella & peanut toasties during late night revision sessions.

Rules of toasted sandwich making:

  • Fine artisan crusty bread just won’t work. It pains me to say this but often the cheaper and pappier the white bread the better.
  • Don’t take your filling right to the edge of the bread unless you want to clean up caked on gooey mess.
  • Don’t forget to butter the outside of the sandwich rather than the inside if you want to get the toastie out in one piece.

Kavey recently blogged about toasties with combinations I’d never heard of. The hot dog toastie will be made here soon.

So, do you own a toasted sandwich maker? What’s your favourite fillings?

Post Author: Jules

Freelance food geek who's passionate about food education.

36 thoughts on “Ode to the toasted sandwich

    Kavey

    (April 10, 2012 - 3:22 pm)

    Hey Jules, hope you like the hot dog toastie. I can’t claim the idea as my own, I found it during some toastie web research, though it doesn’t seem as wide spread as it deserves, so I’m happy to tell everyone about it!
    Thanks for the link and shout out! x

      Jules

      (April 10, 2012 - 3:41 pm)

      I’ve made a toastie with the sausage and beans that comes in the tins, but not the way on your blog. Will let you know when I do!

    Lynne

    (April 10, 2012 - 3:29 pm)

    ooh love a good toastie :)) I don’t have a toastie maker, but did you see on twitter my Heath Robinson toastie maker? Here is a pic I took…

    http://ow.ly/i/yv5u

    and the resulting cheese & tomato toastie…

    http://ow.ly/i/yuZD

    I think I should blog these too, and we can have a triad of toastie posts :))

    like you say, butter the outside, makes the biggest difference…

      Jules

      (April 10, 2012 - 3:40 pm)

      Lynne, Love the makeshift toastie maker. The resulting toastie looks rather good.

    Fishfingers for tea

    (April 10, 2012 - 3:42 pm)

    I haven’t had a proper toasted sandwich in years but I used to adore a cheese and baked beans one! Torture to clean up afterwards though and I finally got rid of mine after a stand off on who was going to clean the machine. I lost. You’re right though, this a time when you need cheap plastic bread, it’s just not right otherwise!

      Jules

      (April 10, 2012 - 3:58 pm)

      I try to make sure I clean it when it is still warm, but not plugged in. However if I don’t clean it the cheese welds itself on quite quickly.

    Jean

    (April 10, 2012 - 3:46 pm)

    How odd that you should post about the good old sandwich toaster because I used mine a couple of days ago. I totally agree with everything you said. My favourite filling is bacon, mozzerella, a couple of slices of good quality tomato and basil. You could use Parma ham but to my mind bacon works better. My sandwich maker doesn’t have the ridges, both sides are smooth and it works really well with Sainsbury’s ciabatta (around 39p each and usually 3 for the price of 2). As they aren’t square andare tougher than ordinary bread, not sure how that would work on the sandwich maker you featured. You’ve made me want to eat one now!

      Jules

      (April 10, 2012 - 4:04 pm)

      Bacon, mozzerella, tomato and basil is a great filling. I will have to try one of the ciabatta rolls in my toaster to see how well it works.

    Katie

    (April 10, 2012 - 4:08 pm)

    Oh man, I used to live off toasties when I first moved out. I lived with my best friend in a super grotty block of flats and our cooking skills were something to be desired. I may, or may not have filled one with tinned macaroni and cheese at some point. I sicken myself sometimes :p

    May I recommend marshmallow and chocolate! Delicious!

    Katie xoxo

      Jules

      (April 10, 2012 - 4:19 pm)

      Katie you’ve reminded me. As a student I once made a toastie with tinned Heinz spaghetti bolognaise.

    Penelope

    (April 10, 2012 - 5:05 pm)

    I love toasted sandwiches, last week I made do with a bowl on top of the sandwich in a frying pan. There’s innovation for you!

    Fillings for me will always be cheese, ham and pickle. Never tried beans, but I’m working from home on Friday, so maybe it’s worth an experiment.

      Jules

      (April 11, 2012 - 8:51 am)

      Quite a few people have mentioned pickle. I will have to try it. As well as beans it also works with spaghetti hoops, but I think beans work better.

    Lucy

    (April 10, 2012 - 6:10 pm)

    I love toastie lunches, my favourite filling is mozzarella, pesto and tomato – simple but so good! Your photo has me craving one very soon.

      Jules

      (April 11, 2012 - 8:52 am)

      Ooh yes pesto is good too

    Tika

    (April 10, 2012 - 8:02 pm)

    Jam and peanut butter or banana with just a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon!

    I rescued my brother’s daisy the cow toastie maker from my parent’s a few years back. It is definitely a treat dinner but I must admit to also owning a panini maker and a George Foreman, both of which make fine toasties- guess I am spoilt with a big kitchen!

      Jules

      (April 11, 2012 - 8:53 am)

      Daisy Cow toastie makers seems to be v popular! I love the idea of peanut butter and jam ones.

    Fuss Free Helen

    (April 10, 2012 - 8:12 pm)

    Love toasties. i made a post Christmas one of turkey, stilton and canberry sauce. Yummyness.

      Jules

      (April 11, 2012 - 8:54 am)

      Now that sounds far better than a post Christmas turkey salad!

    Lynnep

    (April 10, 2012 - 9:09 pm)

    I was only thinking, we should have a toastie maker and your piccies make me want one more than ever! You’re right, there’s nothing like one. I used to do corned beef and baked beans for my children in the 80’s loads – ot was easily their favourite, but I love cheese and tomato, and I always had a messy clean-up, cos in my family if you have cheese, it has to be piled on – whetner it’s a butty or spag bol!!!

    Off to the shops tomorrow, cos we’ve got vouchers too!

      Jules

      (April 11, 2012 - 8:56 am)

      There is no such thing as too much cheese here! Our current toastie maker was from Argos and less than £10.

    thelittleloaf

    (April 11, 2012 - 6:52 am)

    I haven’t had a toasted sandwich maker since ‘daisy the cow’ of our university days, a cow print toastie maker with a face that was used EVERY time we came back from the pub. You’ve got me reminiscing now…might have to invest in one soon!

      Jules

      (April 11, 2012 - 8:56 am)

      They were perfect for post pub munchies.

    Mrs M

    (April 11, 2012 - 9:34 am)

    You can’t beat a toasted sandwich, I’m such a purist though and I’m a cheese only kind of gal.

      Jules

      (April 11, 2012 - 3:13 pm)

      Which cheese do you think is best in a toastie?

    beachhutcook

    (April 11, 2012 - 10:17 am)

    We bought a sandwich maker recently from a jumble sale (used once) and it’s become a regular little feature in our house. Our teenagers love making sandwiches on it. Our family favourite it cheese, ham, tomato and mustard. Warning though the tomatoes stay hot for ages! Ouch!

      Jules

      (April 11, 2012 - 3:14 pm)

      yes tomato really does manage to keep it’s heat. I like your addition of mustard.

    Lucy @ Smallest Smallholding

    (April 11, 2012 - 11:08 am)

    I think the simplest toasted sandwiches are the best – cheese and red onion, cheese and pickle or cheese and sweet chilli sauce. HEAVEN. One of my favourite comfort foods – we have a triangular toastie maker and unfortunately for my thighs, bum and hips it gets a fair amount of use ;) It was inherited from my sister’s days at uni and has been in use for at least 10 years now!

      Jules

      (April 11, 2012 - 3:16 pm)

      I’ve recently started to drizzle sweet chilli sauce on pizzas and will now have to put it in toasties too.

    Janice

    (April 12, 2012 - 8:59 pm)

    I can’t stand the damned things! The cleaning puts me right off, however my eldest son, now 25, loved his sandwich maker and his wife bought him a new one for his birthday. He loves tomato ketchup, so probably anything with that on it would do him.

      Jules

      (April 21, 2012 - 4:31 pm)

      I love that he got one for his birthday! A true toastie fan.

    Hannah

    (April 13, 2012 - 5:57 pm)

    Oh, yes! I love toasties a dangerous amount. Infact, when my last toastie maker gave up the ghost, I didn’t replace it because I stopped making any other kind of lunch (and I also hated cleaning it, as Janice mentions).
    When I was a kid my step mum would make fish finger toasties – cooked fish fingers, inside a toastie and then dipped in ketchup (although technically you could include it, I suppose).

      Jules

      (April 21, 2012 - 4:32 pm)

      Fish finger toasties are genius!

    Emma

    (April 18, 2012 - 3:35 pm)

    I must have burnt my mouth on more cheese toasties than any other foodstuff but I still adore them….I do like a bit of pickle in with my cheese…..branston for preference! I did make a ham, cheese and pineapple toastie once which was delicious in a wrong way, but it was simply too damp and lumpy to be worth a repeat!

      Jules

      (April 21, 2012 - 4:35 pm)

      I wonder if it would work with something like pineapple chutney?

    clare

    (April 20, 2012 - 5:33 pm)

    either beans and cheese or corned beef and branston pickle!

      Jules

      (April 21, 2012 - 4:33 pm)

      Branston pickle seems to be a popular choice.

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