The goal of her book Tin Can Cook was to get rid of the snobbery around cooking with tinned food.

“I decided to make it my mission to create restaurant-quality, beautiful, desirable meals, from my local corner store tins,” says Jack. “These recipes are designed for everyone, from those with very little confidence and cooking ability, the smallest of kitchens, the scantest of equipment, to the gourmands, the bon vivants, and the curious among us.”

We’ve picked three fun, simple recipes from Tin Can Cook for you to try. There’s no need to search for unpronounceable ingredients in specialist shops – just head to your local McColl’s to pick up all you need for these tasty, easy dishes. 

“I decided to make it my mission to create restaurant-quality, beautiful, desirable meals, from my local corner store tins.”

FRUIT COCKTAIL CAKE

Jack says: “This bejewelled jolly little number is a simple use-up for any kind of tinned fruit. I like the veritable party that a fruit cocktail brings to the table – and the inevitable hunt for the scant cherry half that there only ever seems to be one of!”

SERVES 8
250g butter, plus extra to grease the cake tin
200g caster or granulated sugar
3 eggs
200g tin of fruit cocktail, drained
200g self-raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C/350°F/gas 4) and lightly grease a 20cm round or square cake tin.

• Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl with a fork or wooden spoon until well combined. Break in the eggs and mix together, beating until smooth.
• Add the fruit cocktail to the mixing bowl and stir through quickly. Add the flour, and mix well to combine into a soft, sweet batter.
• Pour the batter into the tin and bake in the centre of the oven for around 45 minutes – depending on the size of your tin. A shallow tin will cook faster, whereas a deeper tin will take its time. To check if it is cooked through, insert a sharp knife into the centre of the cake. If the knife comes out clean, the cake is ready. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out and slicing.

The cake can be enjoyed hot or cold. Leftovers freeze well for up to 3 months, wrapped in foil or popped in a freezer bag.

Jack Monroe’ Store Cupboard Recipes

COCKLE SPAGHETTI

Jack says: “The vinegar that the cockles are cooked in makes for a pleasantly tangy pasta sauce. Pickled mussels also work well here, if you can find them.”

SERVES 2 

1 large onion, diced, or 100g frozen sliced onion
1 tbsp oil
salt and pepper
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
a pinch of dried chilli flakes or chilli powder
1 tbsp garlic paste
180g spaghetti
150g drained pickled cockles in vinegar

• Put the onion in a medium saucepan with the oil and a pinch of salt and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes until it starts to soften. Pour over the tomatoes, and add the chilli and garlic, and cook for 15 minutes over a medium heat to start to reduce the tomatoes down to a thick, glossy sauce.
• Bring a separate pan of water to the boil. Salt it and add the spaghetti, and cook according to the packet instructions, around 8–10 minutes.
• When the spaghetti is cooked, turn off the heat. Add the cockles to the pasta sauce. Drain the spaghetti and serve it with the sauce dolloped on top. Finish with black pepper, if you like.

Jack Monroe’ Store Cupboard Recipes

CHEEKY CORN FRITTERS

Jack says: “A good corn fritter recipe is an excellent thing to have up your sleeve, for breakfast, brunch, or making a meal out of a tin of corn. This is as good a recipe as any, and once you know how to do it, you’ll never be short of a speedy, filling brunch recipe.”

SERVES 2–4, DEPENDING ON APPETITE 

1 small onion, finely chopped or 100g frozen sliced onion
75g self-raising flour
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper or ¼ tsp chilli powder
salt and pepper
300g drained, tinned sweetcorn
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk or water
2 tbsp cooking oil

• Toss the onion into a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, cayenne pepper or chilli powder, salt and pepper, and stir well to coat it all. Add the sweetcorn to the bowl and stir again. Crack in the eggs and add the milk or water, then mix well to form a rough batter.
• Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat. Drop in the batter, 2–3 tablespoons at a time. Cook for 3–4 minutes on each side, and serve.

Jack Monroe’ Store Cupboard Recipes

Recipes from Tin Can Cook by Jack Monroe