Toasted Sand Witches

TonTon and I fed the cows, sheep and the useless, non-egg laying, bad tempered, locked up forever in their own little minds chickens, this morning, in a lovely crisp  26F (-5C).  One day I shall show you the particularly sexy quilted farm overalls that I don for the job.  But not until  I know you better.

I had to go and find my sharp garden hoe to bash through the ice in the water troughs. Of course  the garden hose is now officially frozen solid  and later today I shall put it away for the winter, and then my darlings we are CARRYING buckets of warm water to the animals each morning and evening. One day the barn will have its own water line, but not yet.  However as I have told you before this is a tremendous workout for my arms. When I was little my dad used to say to me “And the muscles on her scrawny arms stood out like spiders knees!”  It was not kind. He always said it is a Scottish accent. The ‘out’ was an ‘oot’. I have real muscles now Dad!

Also today I will scrub, fill, then plug in all the heated water buckets. Each pen in the barn has one, the chook house has one, even the dogs and cats have one.  As an aside the pens in the barn all still have their exterior doors open, so the animals are wandering in and out from their home paddocks, at will.

Food first though I think. I bet that when you were little you thought a sand witch was at the beach. So did I. Every time I heard the word I SAW a Witch made of Sand. A SandWitch on the beach. I still see her with my little girl’s mind’ s eye. She is not pretty. And how does one Toast her?

What is that hunk of old junk doing sitting beside the ham, I hear you say. It is a very old castiron hand iron of course. It is part of my toasted sandwich arsenal. Though some time ago it lost its detachable handle.  I know it is around here somewhere.   But where?!  You see, old irons are not only good as door stops (or toe stoppers as the case may be… ouch), they are useful in the kitchen too!

The fire is hot in the wood stove, the stove top is ready for cooking. So we will compile our ham and cheese toasted sandwich.  Just a yellow rubber cheddar today – someone needs to go shopping!  Often in NZ the sandwich is called a sammy, and the cheese will not be dyed yellow, just keep that in mind in case you visit.

And on with the hot iron. These came before panini machines you know!  Where is that handle? (sigh) It would be very useful at this rather heated juncture.

There. Ham and cheese toasted sammie with onion.  Crunchy and squashed. Just the way I like it!! It is not gourmet my darlings. It is lunch!

OK, interlude is over, it is warmer outside now.  Beautiful sun today. Time to fill the buckets and get to work.


93 Comments on “Toasted Sand Witches

  1. I’m hungry! That looks so darn good. My grandmother used those irons for ironing clothing and putting on the stove, heating up, and wrapping in something to put at the foot of the bed for my mom and her siblings little toesies. I’m still hungry 🙂

    • Yup, one was always on the stove waiting to be swapped and they just detached the handle from the cooled one and attached it to the hot one waiting. How cool that they were also used as hot bricks in the bed! Do you have still have her old irons or did someone else in the family nick them? c

      • Those belonged to my grandmother and I think they were either lost long ago or nicked by one of my mom’s siblings. I always wanted to get one as a door stop though when I saw them at antique stores. t

  2. That’s a fantastic iron and your sandwich looks far better than those made with a panini machine 🙂
    Your cast iron frying pan looks familiar, I’ve got one that looks exactly the same and made in the USA.

    • I have a number of them and look after them like babies, I bet you do too, I once bought an entire box of junk at an auction to get one! You know how they sell stuff in box lots to get rid of it! But I got my frypan and a few other interesting but useless bits and pieces as well.. c

    • Lurk about in the second hand stores, there are often one or two in there! Our John sandblasted mine to get it clean again.. useful having a workshop with a man in it! c

  3. What a delish idea for using my old iron. In South Africa we call them ‘sarmies’ … alas, too many people here like dyed cheese … 😦

    • oh you have dyed cheese as well? John loves it. When i first got here I was like Your cheese is the wrong colour, why is it this colour?, milk does not come out of a cow THIS COLOUR!! Well you will have to make your own then, he said.. Little did he know (winky smiley face) OK so in NZ they are sammies, UK they are sarnies and SA they are sarMies.. hmm. we should write a travel book!! c,

  4. Great use of an old iron, Celi. I use a foil-wrapped brick for both panini and grilled chicken under a brick recipes. It’s probably the Italian in me that goes for cement/mortar type, as opposed to metal, objects. Either way, I love a good grilled sammich!

    • Sammich!! The brick is interesting though. I might try that I have always had problems with slippage with the iron!! c

  5. I’m not partial to grilled cheddar, but I adore that gorgeous iron. I may have to find something like that to add to my own wee kitchen arsenal. Lovely pics, C, as always 🙂

  6. What an ingenious and original way of making an eternally tasty Sand Witch! Actually, my Italian Dad always calls then Sangweech….makes me chuckle!

  7. Who says it’s not gourmet? It sure looks like it to me. Yes, the winter chores are officially here. Out feeding while dawn lightens the sky. We have a frost-free hydrant outside, so I have water available year round, just so long as I remember to drain the hose every time I use it, but we have lived in many places where chopping ice from water buckets and carrying water were the norm. Love the idea of the iron for the Sand-Witch. 🙂

    • I am glad to hear I am not alone, I could do with one of those frost free hydrants, I am sure it is on Johns wish list too.. But now I know what to ask for! thank you Ted.. c

  8. Sarnie is what we call them round this part of Sussex, and I had a toasted cheddar on fresh out of the oven wholemeal bread for lunch today. Slapped some tomato and onion on it, and I was all set to go for a few more hours. 😀 Oh, I nearly forgot. My gran had an iron just like that. She used it to keep the kitchen door open because not one door in her house stayed open without a bit of something stuck under it to keep it in place.

    • Perfect lunch.. SAME HERE with the doors, every time I see an old iron I grab it for just that very job, hence the stubbed toes in the night!!c

    • especially with the home made bread, my loaves are so little that i am unlikely to over indulge.. your kids sound so sweet.. c

  9. Oh, yummcious. Grill cheese sandwiches have always been my favorite…when I was young, I pronounced them “girl cheese samiches” . They were one of the 3 things I liked; along with plain spaghetti, and fluff- a-nutter sandwiches.

    Enjoy! Jessica

  10. Not gourmet?! Why I’d love that sammy!! You were a very bright girl with a fascinating imagination to come up with the Sand Witch!! That never crossed my mind!! but, girl, I just got the shivers thinking of your cold weather! I thought waking up to 60 degrees was cold today!!

  11. I wonder whatever happened to the iron that use to sit on my Gran’s hearth…probably in a box at Dad’s somewhere. If it should ever fall into my possession, I know what I’ll use it for!

  12. We had melted cheese sandwiches on Sunday. Something very satisfying about all that soft cheese dripping out the edges. We have a cast iron weight with a pig on it that we use. My antique irons are upstairs in my laundry room next to my wash boards. When I need additional weight, I’ll know right where to look.

    • Oh wow.. I love the idea of a cast iron weight with a pig on it! Where did you get that? Is it FOR making toasted sammies?.. c

      • My husband found it in an antique store for $2…he thought it was the best treasure. We keep it on the kitchen counter and use it so often. My husband thinks it was probably used for keeping bacon flat when cooking on a griddle.

  13. You make even a simple sandwich look so appetizing. Dare I mention that I burned the grilled cheese sandwiches I made last night for supper?

    As for carrying all of that water to the animals, ah, yes, I remember those days of lugging pails of frothy milk from the cows to the bulk tank. I had scrawny strong arms as a farm girl. No more. Not scrawny. Not strong.

    • Poor darling, you must have been very distracted to burn the sammies.. and yes in the spring you can commiserate with me as i carry the brimming pails of frothy milk! c

  14. Well, girt with such a robust and warming griddled sammysarniesandwitchsarmiesan, I mean panino, I do believe even a weakling like me could go a round on the farmy with you. Ham and cheese, oh yes indeedy. I am fortunate to have two nice old cast-iron skillets, so all I need to do is heat up both and literally sandwich the sandwich between them when the mood strikes. As, erm, I think it just did when you posted this! 😀

    • WOW..I have more than one, what did you call it.. skillet?.. yes i can sandwich the sand witch too! Good thinking! c

  15. I like them squashed too!

    They really are best in a cast iron pan too. Mmm. I can tell I am feeling better because I have my appetite back!

  16. Your muscles will be bulging at winter’s end. But there is great pleasure in the accomplishment of such tasks. And then, to enjoy the pleasure of your sandwich.

  17. Oh, that looks delish!! I admire your farm workout. I used to think I wanted to be a farmer myself. I wonder where that dream fled?

    • Most unsettling! ha ha ha this is why i am making my own, but my cheddar has gone VERY hard this year, so i am still working on it! c

  18. Great use of that old iron – the sand witch looks delicious! I can’t imagine how cold the mornings must feel for you at this time of year.

  19. My great grandmother had one of those hot irons. I remember it in her house when I was little. I believe my great aunt may have it but unsure. This is just a spectacular post, with an even better sandwich.

  20. Celi – you truly are a country girl. Not only do you have the work that goes with country living, but you have the beautiful country soul, as well.

    Now fess up. Do you do what we used to do? Heat up a few of those old irons on the wood stove and put them between the sheets to warm the winter bed?

    • WEl, now that I know that I can do that I am seriously considering it. We only directly heat the living area with a fire, the bedroom gets a bit cold, I will let you know how it goes, I won’t set the bed on fire will I? Sp crazy! c

  21. You might not think your lunch was a gourmet one, but to me, anything that takes pulling out a pan to make lunch is preparing a gourmet feast! I always reach for left-over of any kind: the thought of cooking something send shivers….


    • Hi Ronnie, I am so glad to hear that you love left overs, Though i think I can give you a run for your money, I am the Fry Up Queen!! i will fry anything the next day!! Though to have left overs one must cook at some point.. celi

  22. “What’s an iron” my darling little kids would say… Love your pre-panini invention and your day… omg no wonder you don’t nap, you couldn’t. Got to go lay down, I’m feeling feverish and tired after reading about all that work;)

    • Aren’t we spoilt now, I just hang everything up, and learn to love the wrinkles! My mother would NEVER have stepped out the door in wrinkly clothes.. c

  23. I go weak in the knees for toasted sandwiches, they’re one of the few things I make. And they’re turn out to be edible, too! I’ll have to try your recipe — the onions look wonderful.

    • Those onions were hooked out of the pan where the others were caramelising, just because they looked pretty, I am still in my caramelised onion period!! c

  24. Good Morning dear Cecilia, for a few days I visit and read your posts lately… But I feel always something missed in my day. 🙂 This morning I feel better myself, and it is so good to read you. You almost took me into your wonderful farm life… I feel myself like Tonton 🙂 following you… How amazing this toast. I haven’t known/heard this iron for toast… What a great idea. I imagine now, I am there and dear Cecilia prepares for me too, a delicious toast and with a cup of tea… But wait, not finished yet, (I try to catch you in the garden maybe I can help you to fill the buckets too!)
    Thank you dear Cecilia, how much I love you and your posts, Blessing and Happiness, The sun be with you always, with my love, nia

    • Morning Nia. Always lovely to see your name in the box. I hope you have a great day stalking more cats for us! c

  25. I think this pressed sandwich looks very gourmet! Niow, I want to digg in right away!
    I just added your blog to my list of Food bloggers that I totally digg!Superb pics too! 😉

    • Thank you, and this reminds me that I really need to update my blog roll and other bits and piece on my page, it is like housekeeping though, I have to be in the mood!! c

  26. We’re not quite down to -5 here just yet but I’m totally with you on the smashing of water barrels to give the donkeys water! Last year it went down to -15 at night and our toilet froze…..yikes!!! Here they call a sandwich a ‘sambo’ but somehow I don’t think that sounds at all right..right?

    • ha ha ha not terribly politically correct but you are talking about a whitebread sandwich!! .. But worse your TOILET froze! EEKK! hope you did not freeze TO the toilet.. owee.. c

  27. I have to tell you that that is amongst the best, or probably is THE best, toasted sandwich that I have ever seen. The hardware is from a nightmare, but shit, it works. Living in France I have yet to eat a proper, or as I imagine proper should be, croque monsieur. My guess is that you should start exporting flatirons to France. Just love the pictures.

  28. ‘Sangers’ in Australia.
    Remember to remove the cheese before ironing.

  29. Oh good heavens, look at that sandwich – or ‘sarmie’ as we call them here in SA 🙂

    5 deg C…ouch. It reached 41 deg C here this week….would you like some heat? shall I send it to you??

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