Liven up your snack time with these four delicious spreads

Published 22 Feb, 2022 11:48am

You can't survive on plain bread alone!

We all have our personal sandwich favourites such as roast beef and mustard, apricot jam and grilled fish, black cherry jam and cheese, and grilled cheese and mushroom. But there is always room for more variations on the theme.

The ridiculous claim that this globally popular food form was invented by Englishman John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, in exactly 1762 makes an interesting read. This endlessly variable, meal-in-a-hand may have acquired its most popular name from this story, but its origins are much deeper rooted in time than that.

The far-from-humble sandwich can be dated, in various guises, right back to BCE when bread, in many shapes and with many names, was the basic food for the majority. Since humanity couldn’t survive on bread alone, it must have been accompanied with other foodstuff, which was probably layered or spread on it before plates and dishes were invented.

Even today, we enjoy fresh, crispy and beautifully grown bread, such as Italian ciabattas and French baguettes, because somehow it makes us feel full and satisfied. Load up your favourite bread with some healthy and nutritious homemade spreads, for some flavourful, fun and filling food at hand.

Go beyond butter and top your favourite bread with these tasty, nutrient-dense spreads

Hummus

Ingredients

250g chickpeas boiled or canned
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 large lemon
150 ml tahini
1 dessert spoon garlic paste
Salt to taste
A little olive oil, a few olives and chopped parsley for garnish

Method

Blend cooked chickpeas in a food processor, add all other ingredients except for the garnish. Whizz until thoroughly blended and smooth. Arrange in a bowl, top with a little olive oil, chopped parsley and a few olives.

For a dip rather than a spread, add more tahini or replace it with natural plain yogurt. To spice it up, add chopped red or green chillies, whole black or white cumin or a teaspoon of strong mustard powder. Excellent on all kinds of sandwiches, on hot toast with a side salad of choice. Hummus stores up to three days in the fridge.

Aubergine paste
Aubergine paste

Aubergine Paste

Ingredients

I medium onion finely chopped
1 large or 2 medium aubergines, chopped into small pieces with skin intact
1 dessert spoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon ginger paste
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 tablespoon tahini
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley to garnish

Method

Place chopped onions, chopped aubergines, garlic, ginger and oil in a large, deep-frying pan. Fry on medium heat, stirring regularly to prevent sticking, until the onions are slightly browned and the aubergine is thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little. Scoop into a food processor, add the lemon juice, tahini, and season to taste. Whizz until a smooth paste is formed. Scoop into a bowl, garnish with chopped parsley, and chill well before use.

Wonderful on sandwiches, crackers or spread on fresh naan or chapatis. Stores up to three days in the fridge.

Avocado surprise
Avocado surprise

Avocado Surprise

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado
1 small onion, peeled, finely sliced and chopped small
1 small tin tuna fish, drained of oil/water
Fresh juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Scoop the avocado flesh into a bowl, add lemon juice and mash to a paste with a fork. Stir in all other ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture until everything is well blended. Chill before serving. Perfect on sandwiches, on crackers, and with potato chips or French fries.

Sandwich spread

Ingredients

Half cup mayonnaise
Quarter cup salad cream
2 teaspoons strong mustard powder
Quarter cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic paste
Freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
A small selection of pickled vegetables, dill, capers, red peppers and carrots being ideal
1 dessert spoon vinegar from the jar of mixed pickles
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Thoroughly mix mayonnaise, salad cream, mustard and vinegar in a bowl. Chop the selected vegetables as small as you possibly can — being careful not to add too many — and add these, along with salt and pepper, to the mayonnaise mix. Stir until well blended. Spoon in to a lidded jar or an airtight container, and chill before use.

Sandwich spread is great as a sole sandwich ingredient or as the base for a salad, cheese, chicken, meat or fish sandwich. Providing the quintessential taste of summer, it stores for 3-4 days in the fridge.

Originally published in Dawn, EOS, February 20th, 2022