Ultimate Cheese Toastie

I like Tuesdays because I have hypnotherapy. A treatment that I have found to be an incredibly valuable tool for managing my anxiety. I wont lie, I was a little dubious before my first session, it was actually my partner that encouraged me to try. A couple of people he knew had benefitted from a course of sessions so I decided to take his advice. Forget Derren Brown and what you’ve seen on TV, there’s no looking deep into anyones eyes or swinging pocket watches, clinical hypnotherapy sessions are nothing like that!

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The first session I went to was a consultation, it’s free so I’d recommend anyone with a slight interest to go and have one, you really don’t have anything to lose. I came out of that consultation a totally different person to the one who went in. I was going through a particularly tough period of anxiety. It was incredibly hard for me to get things under control and I had lost a lot of my perspective, hope and positivity. I was frantically worrying about everything, had trouble sleeping so was never recharged or rested and was having frequent panic attacks. I was really struggling with socialising and my relationship was suffering. Something had to change.

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The thing that struck me first about Marian, my hypnotherapist, was her overriding sense of positivity. It was almost like she filled the small room with a positive energy that you couldn’t help but absorb, it was really refreshing after feeling lost for so long. She explained that our brain is not a single working organism, actually we have different parts that control different emotions and cause different reactions. The two main areas in our brain are the intellectual and emotional brain; anxiety sufferers tend to use their emotional brain for most of their responses to stress. In contrast to this those who don’t suffer from anxiety use the intellectual part. This part deals with logic, it weighs up pros and cons and evaluates. Whereas the emotional part of your brain is very reactionary, it’s the part that usually deals with the fight or flight response to danger. When you suffer from anxiety, it’s essentially your emotional brain winning the fight over your rational brain.

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The hypnotherapy sessions have helped me to understand the vital impact of getting a good nights rest, full of lots of periods of REM sleep, so the mind can empty its “stress bucket”. You talk about all the positive aspects of your life and positive focuses for the week ahead. You will  also learn how to use deep relaxation techniques to help use the logical part of your brain again. It really has increased my confidence and positivity, I find the sessions incredibly relaxing (something I have always found hard to do) and I’m sleeping better than ever. I’m only half way through but It’s totally changed my outlook on managing anxiety, I haven’t had a panic attack since I started and I’m feeling so positive for the future. I really can’t recommend it enough.

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This Tuesday there’s a double reason to feel positive, not only is it hypno Tuesday it’s also National Grilled Cheese Day. So what better way to celebrate than with a delicious, crispy on the outside, melted and gooey on the inside, toasted cheese sandwich! I’ve always been a fan of the toastie (see my blog post). Although not the most complex of recipes it’s still quite easy to get it wrong, i’ve had my fair share of bad ones. When done right it is a thing of beauty. Make sure you pick a decent bread and slice it fairly thick, butter liberally on both sides and add a condiment to the inside to pack in the flavour. Try chilli jam, mustard, chorizo jam or a chilli paste or chutney. Use a mixture of cheeses, you want a good melt matched with a decent flavour.  Be generous with the filling, theres nothing worse than a toastie which doesn’t ooze with cheese once cut. The most important thing, it must be melted in the middle so don’t rush the toasting! You can use a frying pan or the grill if you don’t have a Panini press or sandwich toaster so no excuses for not having one today! Happy toasting.

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Ultimate cheese toastie

Makes 1

2 big slices good white bread, I used sourdough (you need to pick a squareish variety if using a Breville style machine)

knob garlic butter or regular butter, at room temperature

a good handful (about 75g) of grated melting cheese, use Monterey jack, cheddar, Gruyère, mozzarella, or a mixture of all of them if you can.

Add: wild garlic, finely sliced onion, avocado, tomato, crispy bacon, ham, spring onions, baked beans, chorizo (anything you can get your hands on)

Thinly spread both sides of each piece of bread with the garlic butter and lay side by side on a board. Season the inside with ground black pepper. Divide the cheese between the two. Keeping it closest to the bread will help it melt nicely. Add your fillings now, I used wild garlic – tis the season after all.

Carefully place the cheese-topped slice on top and press down well to seal. Poke back any stray cheese into the sandwich. Cook in a sandwich toaster or panini press until golden, crisp and melted. If the cheese hasn’t melted and your outside is as brown as you would like wrap in foil and pop in a warm oven for a few minutes, also a good technique if you’re making a few and want them to stay warm.

If you don’t have a gadget heat a non- stick frying pan to medium/hot, pop the sandwich in and using another heavy pan press down cook until golden and then repeat with the other side.

 

 

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