Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Ulster’s finest sandwich has cheese, peppers, tomatoes ... and no meat

County Down finalist at Kingsmill’s Masterpiece Grand Final, Ashley Knox presents the overall winning recipe of smoked cheese, pesto, roasted peppers and onions with sundried tomatoes and rocket sandwich to host and judge, Michelin star chef Michael Deane

They come in all shapes and sizes, contain an assortment of appetising fillings and are considered a staple part of one’s diet.

But devising the perfect sandwich can sometimes be a challenge – unless you are Avril Armstrong.

Recently the Co Down administrator, who has no catering qualifications, created Northern Ireland’s ‘tastiest’ sandwich — much to her own surprise.

The 54-year-old from Dromore was flicking through a few magazines when she came across the Kingsmill Masterpiece competition to find the best sarnie in the province.

As a non-meat eater, Avril explained, one’s choices are very limited.

So she set about devising a sandwich which she believed would whet not only her appetite but the tastebuds of any seasoned foodie.

And her experiment paid off, impressing none other than Michelin chef and judge Michael Deane.

“I was actually very surprised when they told me I had won,” Avril explained.

“I didn’t think I had made a sandwich which other people would like let alone the winning sandwich.

“I don’t eat meat and I am always looking for different things. And this just came into my head one day so I wrote it down.

“I think sandwiches can be quite bland sometimes, especially when you don’t eat meat. The choices generally are salad or |egg and onion. I thought it would be nice to create something a wee bit different.

“I do recommend people trying it. It’s nice.

“For me it was like tasting summer. It was refreshing.”

Her sentiments are echoed by the man who crowned her sarnie the tastiest in the province.

As someone who is used to sampling some of the finest cuisine in the country, Michael said he was very impressed by Avril’s combination of fillings, describing her recipe as “professional”. “It was definitely the most tasty, the most healthy and the most valued sandwich that was put together,” he explained.

“She used brown bread, she used peppers, pesto, smoked cheese – all these wonderful flavours which really worked well together. It was quite a professional sandwich.

“It seemed to me that she had obviously thought a lot about the flavours and how they worked together. It had a very Mediterranean flavour to it.

“It really was a lovely sandwich. I thought it was wonderful.”

And does he think it could sell in cafes around the country?

“I have put a range of sandwiches out myself and I think this one could definitely sell.”

In recognition of winning the Kingsmill Masterpiece sandwich competition Avril received a year’s supply of Kingsmill bread, dinner for two at Deanes and a sandwich maker to help put her recipe to good use.

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