With all of us finding ourselves cooking a lot more than usual during the UK's third lockdown, there's no denying we have stocked up on various canned foods. First of all, they are low in cost and long lasting, but can you really create tasty meals from them? Yes you can, says This Morning chef Phil Vickery!
The 59-year-old, who has travelled the world on many culinary adventures, has teamed up with Love Canned Food to launch a Family Essentials Food Box, which will raise money for food distribution charity FareShare.
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"When lockdown first happened, it was things like tinned sweetcorn, tomatoes and tuna that were all taken – all that went. But what was left on other aisles were things like tinned artichokes, tinned peas, tinned potatoes, which no one would ever, ever buy normally," he told HELLO!. "Gradually, they started going.
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"I then went back after months to see what things were left, and thought these are the tins I need to be looking at. We all know what to do with a tin of tomatoes but what about a tin of potatoes? I've never cooked them in my life. I bought a can and it was 39p or something, and I thought, 'Oh my goodness this is fantastic.' I had a curry and it was really good."
He added: "I believe good food is simple things put together correctly. That can be a can of tomatoes, a squirt of tomato puree, a stock cube and an onion. You've got yourselves a tomato sauce."
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Breakfast: Sardine Toast Topper
Phil's Sardine Toast Topper makes for a super brunch that’s packed full of flavour. Canned sardines are a great source of essential Omega-3 too!
120 g Canned Sardines
120 g Mayonnaise
1 Garlic Clove, crushed
2 Slices of toast
1. Mix the sardines, mayonnaise and garlic in a bowl
2. Toast the bread under a grill until the top is golden
3. Spread the sardine mixture on the un-toasted side of bread and place it back under the grill for 2 minutes. Enjoy.
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Lunch: Tuna & Sweetcorn Noodle Cakes
Phil's noodle cakes recipe uses two different canned foods and is incredibly easy to make. Ready in 30 minutes, they're a great option for a quick dinner or satisfying WFH lunch.
198 g Canned Sweetcorn
145 g Canned Tuna
100 g Rice Noodle Nests
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Medium Eggs
2 Medium Onions
3 tbsp Self-raising Flour
3 tbsp Mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp Chopped Ginger
4 tbsp Fresh coriander, chopped
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Vinegar
1 Pinch of sugar
1. Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water, then leave for 10 minutes
2. Meanwhile heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions and sweetcorn, and cook for 10 minutes to soften and slightly brown over a high heat
3. Place the well-drained tuna into a bowl along with the egg, flour and mayonnaise, then add the onions and sweetcorn
4. Drain the noodles well and roughly chop with a knife. Add the noodles to the sweetcorn and tuna mixture, then mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Make the dipping sauce by mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl
6. Heat a large frying pan and add a little oil. Spoon large dollops of the noodle mix into the pan and spread slightly. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip over and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Lift out each one out and keep them warm in a low temperature oven
7. Repeat the process with the remaining mixture until all of the noodle cakes are made
8. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.
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Dinner: Spiced Tomato & Meat Filo Pan Pie
A family favourite pie with a twist. This delicious pie is used with filo pastry to help cut preparation time without sacrificing flavour. It only uses two pans too, meaning there’s barely any washing up to do - winner!
400 g Canned Chopped Tomatoes
250 g Canned Cooked Chicken
2 tbsp Olive Oil
10 Sheets of Filo Pastry
30 g Butter
1 Onion, chopped
1 Garlic Clove
4 tbsp Mango Chutney
2 tbsp Chopped Ginger
1 Egg, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, or gas mark 6
2. Line a 20-22cm x 3cm deep ovenproof frying pan with 3-4 sheets of filo pastry, brushing each layer with a little melted butter. No need to cut the sheets, just scrunch them to fit
3. Brush the top layer of pastry with beaten egg, pop into the oven and cook for 10 minutes to set the egg and the pastry. Once set, remove the pan from the oven
4. Meanwhile, whilst the pastry is browning, heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes to soften them over a high heat
5. Add the tomatoes, chilli and stock cube to the onions and garlic and simmer until the mix thickens (around 5-10 minutes)
6. Stir in the chopped chicken and season well with salt and pepper
7. Spoon the mixture into the cooked filo-lined pan
8. Arrange the rest of the filo paste on top, scrunched up, and drizzle with melted butter and a little salt and pepper
9. Pop into the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown
10. While the pie cooks, stir the mango chutney and ginger together
11. Once cooked, serve the pie in the pan, with the chutney mixture on the side
Finally, here are five top tips from Phil on cooking with canned:
1. Increase your family's daily fish intake easily by incorporating canned fish into your meal planning
Try adding a tin of tuna to a can of drained potatoes, a bit of mayonnaise and one egg to make fish cakes. Gently sauté them in hot oil and serve with salad for a nice summery dish that’s perfect for lunch or dinner.
2. Reach your recommended 5 fruit and veggies a day using canned fruit (yes, it counts!)
Try topping breakfasts, such as porridge, with a mix of canned fruit; my personal favourites are canned peaches and mango. It adds a lovely, sweet note to the breakfast and is nutritious at the same time - win, win.
3. Get more for your money by bulking out your dishes with canned food
Canned vegetables and pulses are a great way of bulking out family favourites such as pies, lasagne and ragu. Adding in a can of carrots or beans not only boosts the nutritional content of your meal 2, but it makes more expensive ingredients, such as meat, go that bit further.
4. Create a delicious, fuss-free healthy snack using canned food
Bake canned chickpeas in the oven with a little paprika for around 45 minutes. This is one of my absolute favourite ways to use canned chickpeas - it's so easy!
5. Use up those cupboard staples and create something unexpected
If you've got canned beans in the cupboard and can't think what to do with them, try stewing them with a can of chopped tomatoes, garlic, chilli, onion and tomato purée and serve with rice for a lovely meat-free dinner. Canned food is so versatile, there's so much you can create using ingredients you probably already have at home.