1. The Tin: Sardines
If you’ve been to Sicily and delighted in pasta con le sarde, you’ll recognize this as a superlative dish. It summons the Arabic influences on Sicilian food, yet it’s an easy classic to execute at home.
- Fennel bulb
- White wine
- Pine nuts
Finely chop the onion and fennel bulb. Heat oil in a pan; add diced onion and fennel, then sauté for six minutes or suntil they soften. Pour in a little wine and cook it off. Put in the sardines and all the other ingredients. Season and gently cook. Meanwhile, simmer the pasta and drain when it’s al dente. Toss the pasta with the mix. Taste and season. Seasoned breadcrumbs are normally sprinkled over. You can buy them in packets or make them by grating bread and toasting quickly in a pan.
2. The Tin: Sweetcorn
Master these sweetcorn and pepper fritters with Greek yoghurt and herbs when you’ve an empty larder and they’ll become a staple.
- 1 egg
- 1 garlic clove or 1/2 an onion
- 50g of self-raising flour
- 1 red chilli
- Ground coriander
- Optional: Greek yoghurt and fresh coriander
Lightly beat an egg. Mix with half a very finely chopped onion or one garlic clove, a pinch of ground coriander and paprika, and the self-raising flour. Drain the sweetcorn and mix in the finely sliced red chilli (ignore if serving kids) and everything else. Season with salt and pepper. Shape into patties and cook slowly in a pan with some oil on each side until golden. Eat alongside a bowl of plain Greek yoghurt with fresh coriander with it.
3. The Tin: Butter Beans
The holy trinity of this one-pot is chorizo, beans and sweet red peppers.
- Butter beans
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- Red peppers
- Paprika & cajun, or fennel & cumin seeds, or cumin & coriander seeds
- Parsley, thyme, chives or coriander
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Slice some onion and sauté in a large casserole pot. Pop in the sliced peppers. Go for it with the spices. Try one of the combos above (if you go for fennel seeds and cumin seeds, grind them in a mortar). Pour in the drained tin of butter beans. Now drizzle in a few tablespoons of stock or water (no more than 200ml) and the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
Place in the oven for 30 minutes and leave to simmer. At the end, add the finely chopped chorizo and a cortege of herbs – anything you have to hand from parsley to chives. Taste, season again. Serve. Optional extras could be a dollop of sour cream, a squeeze of lemon, or shrimps.
4. The Tin: Coconut Milk
This coconut milk, chilli and garlic medley makes a speedy aromatic meal with nutrient-rich mussels. Mussels are admirably sustainable, plus they’re readily available in all supermarkets.
- Coconut milk
- 800g of mussels
- Optional: Coriander leaves
Blitz up some garlic and ginger. In a large casserole pot, sauté the mix. Add the tin of coconut milk. Season and squeeze in some lime. Simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the mussels and put the top on the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, until all the shells are opened. Any that remain closed, don’t eat. For aromatic oomph, sprinkle over coriander leaves.
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