Making the most of store cupboard staples: tins and cans

Maple shakshuka
Written by David Colcombe

In a time when we’re spending our days inside and it’s harder to get to shops and supermarkets, it’s more important than ever to make the most of what we have to hand. In this blog series, one of our UK chef ambassadors David Colcombe will share his favourite store cupboard staples and give the lowdown on how to use them to make sure mealtimes are still healthy, nutritious and exciting! In this first entry, he tackles why tinned goods should be your new best friends.

Cooking wholesome meals everyday relies on having a well-stocked store cupboard of versatile ingredients that can be used to make a variety of sweet and savoury family favourites.

It’s important to have the right store cupboard staples in stock to help make cooking easier and more budget friendly. You will thank yourself later for having a well-thought out cupboard on hand, rather than a stockpile of unnecessary ingredients!

Tinned foods are staples for good reason, long shelf lives mean you can easily make vitamin and nutrient-rich meals without having to compromise on taste. Recently, tins have been given a new lease of life as more people have been relying on pantry staples for daily cooking. Here’s a few of my favourite ingredients and some recipes you could try them in.

Tinned tomatoes
These are a classic cupboard essential, and a great last-minute fix for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Chopped tomatoes form the base of a variety of pasta, curry and stew-style dishes and can help portions stretch further by adding to meat and vegetables, tinned tomatoes are the perfect ingredient for batch cooking.

A few ways you can use tinned tomatoes in everyday cooking is with maple shakshuka which is a delicious and healthy tomato-based brunch recipe. Or why not try vegan aubergine and maple hot pot – a simple one pot recipe.

Beans and pulses
A few of my favourites are chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans. These all help to pad meals out and provide an essential source of fibre and protein. Beans and pulses can be used as the base for everything from hearty stews to warming dahls and sauces. Lentils are also perfect for bulking up and adding another texture and flavour to soup dishes, our vegan maple dahl soup is the perfect spicy meal that shows how to make the most of your pulses. These kinds of dishes freeze really well so you can double up on your portions and freeze some for later.

Coconut milk
Coconut milk is another nutritious staple to keep in the cupboard. Most commonly used in Thai dishes, it instantly adds a different flavour and texture to this king prawn and spicy maple coconut curry, which is super quick to cook and the balance between the sweet maple, spice and creamy coconut work perfectly together. I’m not the only one who enjoys making curries with coconut milk, check out my fellow ambassador Georgina Hayden’s Vietnamese beef, maple and coconut stew.

In my next blog I’ll be looking at dried goods like pasta and grains and sharing some tips and tricks for using them to make your meals even more exciting! Until then, I hope you enjoy experimenting with the tins and cans that you have in your store cupboards.

Don’t forget to share your culinary masterpieces with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Happy cooking!

Did you know ?

Québec exports its maple products to more than 50 countries.

Everywhere it goes, consumers of all ages appreciate maple’s unique flavour.

Scientists are studying maple’s potential health benefits.

Studies now underway include those on the antioxidant properties of the polyphenols naturally present in maple syrup.

Maple syrup can be used as a sugar substitute in most recipes.

In cake and most dessert recipes, for each 250ml (1 cup) of syrup used, simply reduce the stipulated amount of liquid (water, milk, juice, etc.) by 60ml (1/4 cup).

A natural source of energy

Maple syrup is a natural source of energy. Check out our recipes for food and drinks before, during, and after exercise.