New year, new recipes, but a bit skint after Christmas … Time to raid the pantry! A dish based on the tins in your kitchen cupboard – tuna, chickpeas, anchovies, coconut milk, apples – doesn’t have to be overly basic, however. If we take “tinned” to include all those half-empty jars and bottles – the capers, mustards, oils and maple syrup – our aspirations for the new year (and the two-week-old new UK) can, perhaps, be embodied in our food. Making do with what we’ve got, reaching for those trusted tins, seeing them in a bit of a new light and, if we can, going on a few little local micro-adventures to seek out one or two specialist extras. 2021: alone, but together. Let’s do this thing!
Miso and peanut butter chickpea salad (pictured above)
This makes a great standalone lunch, but it also works as a side dish. I use unsweetened and unsalted peanut butter, but if your brand has added sugar and salt, just reduce the amount of maple syrup and salt with the chickpeas. The fried onions are a great final layer of crunch, but don’t worry if you don’t have any: just increase the amount of peanuts to 200g and sprinkle the extra 50g on top before serving.
Prep 15 min
Cook 20 min
For the roast chickpeas
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
15g piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 tbsp white miso
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter (ideally one with no added sugar or salt)
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp lime juice
75ml olive oil
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp cumin seeds
Salt and black pepper
2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained (480g net weight)
For the dressing
75ml olive oil
75ml fresh lime juice (ie, from 4-5 limes)
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
For the salad
1 tbsp olive oil
150g salted and roasted peanuts
200g radishes, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, deseeded and cut into ½cm-thick slices (200g)
8 spring onions, thinly sliced on an angle (100g)
70g coriander, roughly chopped
100g crispy fried shallots or onions (homemade or shop-bought, optional)
Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/gas 9. In a medium bowl, mix the garlic, ginger, miso, peanut butter, maple syrup, lime juice, olive oil, chilli, cumin and a half-teaspoon of salt. Add the chickpeas, toss to coat, then spread out on an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway, then remove and leave to cool.
Mix all the dressing ingredients with a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper.
For the salad, put the oil in a small pan on a medium heat, then fry the peanuts, stirring regularly, for five minutes, until lightly browned all over. Leave to cool, then roughly chop.
To assemble the salad, mix the radishes, cucumber, spring onions and coriander with the dressing, then arrange half this salad on a large plate. Scatter half the chickpeas and half the peanuts on top, then repeat with the remaining salad, chickpeas and peanuts. Scattering over a few crispy shallots/onions, and serve with the remaining shallots in a bowl alongside.
Kohlrabi with tonnato, herbs, fried capers and aleppo chilli
This makes more tonnato than you need, but it keeps in the fridge for up to three days and is delicious as a dip (for bread or raw veg) or in sandwiches. You can prepare everything in advance, but don’t mix it all together until just before serving, because the kohlrabi will get watery if it’s left sitting around in the dressing for too long.
Prep 5 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4 as a starter or side
150ml sunflower oil
2 tbsp capers, drained and patted dry
6 small to medium kohlrabi, leaves and stalks discarded
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
¼ tsp aleppo chilli (or 1 small pinch regular chilli flakes)
10g tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
10g mint leaves, roughly chopped
For the tonnato
1 egg yolk
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 anchovies in olive oil, drained
60ml lemon juice
85ml sunflower oil
30ml olive oil
1 x 160g tin tuna in olive oil, drained
1½ tsp capers, plus 1 tbsp brine
First, make the tonnato. Put the egg yolk, mustard, anchovies and two tablespoons of the lemon juice in a blender and process on a low speed. With the motor running, very slowly pour in both oils, then carry on blending for about a minute, until the mix is the consistency of mayonnaise. Add the tuna, capers, brine and remaining two tablespoons of lemon juice, and blend for another minute, until smooth and the consistency of a pourable mayonnaise, then refrigerate until needed.
Put the sunflower oil in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat. Test the oil is the right temperature by dropping in a caper: it should sizzle as it hits the oil and bursts open. Carefully add the remaining capers to the oil and fry for about a minute, or until they have burst and crisped up. Use a small sieve or slotted spoon to scoop out the capers and drain on a plate lined with kitchen towel.
Peel away the outer green layer from the kohlrabi, to reveal the white bulb inside, then chop this into roughly 2cm cubes. In a bowl, toss the kohlrabi with a third of the tonnato, the lemon juice and two tablespoons of olive oil, and season with three-quarters of teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper.
Transfer the kohlrabi to a large platter (or individual plates). Top with the fried capers, aleppo chilli, herbs and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and serve with the rest of the tonnato sauce alongside.
Fried apple dumplings with coconut caramel
Gyoza wrappers are readily available in the freezer aisle of supermarkets and in most Asian grocery stores. If you can’t find any, use wonton wrappers instead.
Prep 10 min
Cook 35 min
1 x 385g tin sliced apples, drained (reserve the liquid) and roughly chopped into 1cm pieces
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 fresh or dry makrut lime leaf, finely chopped
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
45g dark muscovado sugar
2 tbsp dark rum (or any other booze you happen to have)
20 gyoza wrappers (defrosted, if frozen)
150ml coconut oil
For the coconut milk caramel
1 x 400ml tin full-fat coconut milk (minimum 70% coconut extract)
3 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
1 makrut lime leaf, finely chopped
Put the apples and their reserved juices in a small saute pan with the cinnamon, lime leaf, vanilla, sugar, rum and half a teaspoon of flaked salt, then set it over a medium heat and cook for 15 minutes, until the liquid evaporates. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, put the coconut milk, sugar, lime leaf and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat, and cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, until you have a smooth, dark brown caramel the consistency of single cream.
Keeping the gyoza wrappers under a damp cloth and working with them one at a time, moisten the edge of a gyoza wrapper with a little water and put a tablespoon of the cooled filling in the middle. Fold into a half-moon and firmly press the edges together. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filing.
Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat, then fry the dumplings for a minute or two on each side, spooning the hot oil over them to ensure they colour evenly. When the dumplings are crisp and golden brown all over, drain on a plate lined with kitchen towel. Serve hot, sprinkled with flaked salt and with the warmed caramel alongside.
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