1. Insert the knife at the side just over the bottom crust and just inside the back of the loaf. Push it through until it reaches, but does not go through the crust on the far side
  2. Without making any bigger the cut through which the knife was inserted, work the knife in a fan shape as far forward as possible, then pull it out. Do the same from the opposite corner at the other end of the loaf. The bread should now be cut away from the bottom crust inside without a noticeable mark on the exterior of the loaf
  3. Next, cut through the top of the loaf to make a lid, carefully leaving one long side uncut, as a hinge
  4. Finally, with the lid open, cut the bread away from the sides. Ease it carefully, it should turn out in a solid brick or a round, leaving an empty case behind. Cut it into slices, long horizontal ones, square vertical ones or rounds, depending on the shape of the loaf
  5. Carefully stack them, butter them and fill them with your chosen filling or fillings in the order in which they were cut. Don’t forget to season each sandwich. Press the sandwiches together firmly and fill them back, still in order, into the loaf
  6. For picnics, close the top of the case and wrap it up. It will gape slightly because of the extra bulk of delicious filling, but the sandwiches will keep very fresh
  7. For parties, leave the lid slightly open. Decorate inside and out with lettuce and watercress leaves, small ripe tomatoes, spring onions etc. to make it look like a little hamper overflowing with fruit and vegetables