This is barely even a recipe but it's such an intriguing combination I had to share it. Grain and seed loaf is spread with the sweet nuttiness of halva, that middle eastern confection made of sugar and sesame seeds. Added to this is a layer of your favourite dark chocolate-dark to counter the sweetness of the halva. It is then buttered on the outside and grilled in a pan or panini press to create a gooey, rich toasted sensation.
During summer on weekends we love going out but the recent chilly weather has meant that Mr NQN, normally a sport devotee, has slept in a bit more and buried himself further under the covers rather than risk being chilled to the bone on his bike. I have to wake him up and it's usually with the promise of breakfast. And nothing tastes better on a cold morning than a toasted sandwich. This halva and chocolate sandwich is truly an intriguing combination. It's sort of like a cousin of peanut butter but a bit more interesting.
Halva and tahini are apparently becoming the next big thing in the culinary world with more people getting to know the flavours through cuisines like Turkish, Lebanese, Greek and Israeli. Halva is a sweet sesame paste made with ground sesame seeds and whipped sugar. It can be cut or spread and is very sweet but moreish. Because of its sweetness, I wanted to use dark chocolate to temper the sweetness of the halva.
To make a halva and chocolate sandwich I decided to use a grain bread although at Seed and Mill in New York they use a challah for their toasted challah panini and they make their own halva which is reportedly fantastic. I haven't tried a version with challah but I loved the crunchy seeds of this grainy bread. It felt like a grown up peanut butter sandwich to me with the nubbly seeds and sweet halva and dark chocolate.
Recently we ate at a place in the city that prized its bread. They prized it so much that they charged $4 per person for bread. It was a simple loaf, a boule cut into slices and then each slice was halved. When we saw that bread was $4 on the menu we assumed that it was $4 for the table not per person as there was no clarification. They brought a basket over and asked us to "Help yourself to a piece of bread." Alyson got one of the burnt ends as she wanted a small piece and didn't realise until she had reached for it that it was an end. "Um I think the bread is $4 a person," I warned them. Belinda said, "I'm going to lose it if it is."
And sure enough, there appeared a charge for $16 on our bill for the bread. I guess some people really prize their bread!
So tell me Dear Reader, what do you think of $4 per person for bread? Is it reasonable or unreasonable? And what do you think of the taste of halva? Do you like it?
Halva & Chocolate Toastie
Makes 4 sandwiches or toasties
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
- 8 slices of green and seed bread (you can really use any kind of bread)
- 100g/3.5ozs. dark chocolate bar, broken up into 4 portions
- 12 tablespoons halva
Step 1 - Spread the halva onto four slices of bread dividing it evenly. Top with the broken up chocolate bar. Heat a frypan or panini press and butter the outside of the bread. Toast on one side and flip over.