Chefs prove it's simple to rustle up tasty three-course meal from 12 tins
YOU might not think it was possible to create a nutritious three-course meal from 12 tins of food.
But John Lewis chefs Simon Harper and Ashley Rolfe managed just that yesterday at a demonstration at the Salvation Army, in Sneinton.
The pair, who work at A Place To Eat cafe in the Victoria Centre, were backing the Post's Five Tons of Tins campaign, set up to boost the city's food banks' stocks by Christmas.
Simon, a senior chef at John Lewis, where he has worked for 34 years, said people were always amazed by what he could concoct from a few tins.
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"Today, I'm just going to show people how easy it is to make a healthy meal from tinned food.
"I'm making tuna and sweetcorn fish cakes with a tomato coulis, followed by a chunky steak casserole with vegetables and a pineapple conde to finish.
"It is just about picking things that go well together and keeping it simple.
"This lot would cost about £4 and you could easily feed a family of four."
However, Simon said that health and safety was key when using tinned food.
He said: "I would just say this – you must be careful with tins. Don't ever eat food from a tin which is rusty, out of date, dented or already open.
"That's the only warning, though. You can make healthy food from tins and it is economical and can be jazzed up with a few herbs and spices if you wish."
Colleague Ashley, a catering assistant who has worked for John Lewis for two years, said he thought food banks were a wonderful way of helping people in need.
He said: "I think food banks are great. There is clearly a need for them at the moment, and hopefully today we have demonstrated that tinned food doesn't have to be boring and untasty.
"One thing I would say is that with tinned vegetables, make sure you drain them from the water in the tin before you heat them, and add a little bit of fresh water.
"That gets rid of the starchy taste."
Around 30 elderly people from Notintone House residential home and members of the Sneinton Salvation Army's fellowship group attended the demonstration, and spoke of how impressed they were with the ideas.
Kathleen Cap, 78, of Park Dale in Bakersfield, was a school cook for 32 years.
She said: "I'm very surprised with what the two chefs have managed to do here. It just shows, you don't have to spend a fortune to make a good hot meal for a family.
"I like tinned food but I wouldn't have thought of making fish cakes from a tin. It's very inventive and a lovely idea to show us."
The group were given samples of the three courses and the chefs explained step-by-step how to make each dish and what types of tinned food had been used.
The Post's Five Tons of Tins campaign aims to collect more than 11,000 tins for the city's 12 food banks by Christmas. We are asking people to find out where their nearest collection point is from our Facebook page and donate what they can for Nottingham's needy families this festive season.
Christine Collins, community liaison co-ordinator for John Lewis Nottingham, said the company was thrilled to be backing the campaign.
Staff at the store are being encouraged to donate tins – but they are unable to accept donations from the public.
She added: "We decided to organise this demonstration because we thought it was a bit of fun but also helps us to support a very important cause.
"We are thrilled to be able to help with the collection for the food banks in Nottingham and we are asking our staff to donate what they can."
Have you been helped by a food bank, or do you volunteer at one? If so and you want to tell your story, or if you want to let us know how your tin collection is going, call reporter Emily Winsor on 0115 9051951 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.