UPDATED JANUARY 2021
Tin cans are such a wonderful, everyday thing. We all have them stashed in our cupboards and use them often, perhaps even daily. They're a brilliant way to eat fruit and veg that aren't in season and that haven't been flown thousands of miles.
My favourite store-cupboard essential would be all of the tins of different lentils, they're so good for using as a base in pasta sauces, soups, salads or dips. I also use jarred sauerkraut a lot – just bung it under some strong cheddar for elevated cheese on toast or in a salad to bring a little sharpness.
Premium brands aren’t better than basics. But I do think that when it comes to pulses, a little investment is 100% worth it. Generally organic tinned pulses taste of more and are a bit softer, but the cheaper ones are still decent.
If you’re looking to spend a little more on certain ingredients, I would say tinned chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans are the place to start. Also, buy the nicest tuna you can afford and definitely invest in lump crab over shredded.
You can use tins at breakfast by making sweetcorn fritters. At weekends, I like to serve them with a crispy fried egg, dollop of yogurt and some chutney.
If you’re after an office-friendly lunch, a haricot bean and tuna salad is a really good one for throwing together the night before. A punchy mustardy dressing is delicious with tuna, soft beans and the crunch of cucumber.
For a Sunday lunch, a lentil, cheese and onion puff pie is great for feeding a crowd. Its super oozy and unctuous and easy to scale up if you need to. I like serving it with a big green salad tossed in an anchovy dressing.
When it comes to a crowd-pleasing dessert I’m very fond of a tinned pear and prune cobbler. It’s sweet and sticky with a warming kick from some stemmed ginger.
The most surprising tinned ingredient you’ll find is probably figs. Figs in tins are absolutely delicious.
Feeling inspired? Here are seven recipes from Lola’s new book…
Roasted Courgette & Cannellini Bean Dip
This is quite like hummus and it’s delicious eaten warm or cold with soft flatbreads or veg crudités. Za'atar is magic – try sprinkling it on grilled fish, roasted veggies or salads.
Bamboo Shoot & Aubergine Noodles
A deliciously creamy, spicy and sweet bowl of salvation. The texture of aubergine when fried is a thing of beauty – buttery soft and silky. In this recipe, it’s complemented by the crunch of bamboo shoots.
Carbonara is such a quick supper. It is rich and creamy (without any cream) thanks to the egg yolks and mountains of cheese. Artichokes bring a slight citrus flavour that balances the richness of the sauce.
Smoked Mackerel Pâté & Quick Pickles
This quick and simple pâté is perfect as a starter or can be boxed up and taken for lunch. Try adding a little finely chopped shallot or onion to the quick pickles for added punch.
Sicilian Sardines On Toast
Taking inspiration from the flavours of Sicily and the very British dish of Welsh rarebit, this speedy supper was born.
Apple, Fennel & Crab Salad
This salad is light, crisp, sweet and sharp, with a spicy kick from the chilli and ginger. It makes a lovely light supper for summer evenings.
Fig & Orange Blossom Fool
This very simple pudding is inspired by the sticky baklava I get from the Turkish shop at the end of my road: rich, floral and thoroughly addictive.