Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Canned gourmet?

Can one eat well out of a can? Or does canned food belong in the ... can? (to use a quaint Australian expression for toilet)

I certainly don't love canned food and if I had access to good fresh food I would stay away from it, but... here often I have no choice but to resort to some canned items.

There are things that come in a can, which are just completely shocking to me and I wouldn't go anywhere near them. Such as these interesting examples from the local supermarket shelf:
  • Chicken and asparagus pie
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Sausages in brine
  • The full monty (the picture on the can is all meatballs and sausages....)
  • Hamburgers in brown sauce
  • Pork and beans
  • Canned pork in natural juices
  • Beef chunks
  • Cheese....
  • And my favorite - reformed ham.
I feel sick just typing these out.

But there are some things which can actually be pretty decent. I often use canned corn, kidney beans, chickpeas, olives and tomatoes. Last night for dinner we had a baked artichoke dip and a bean, corn and chickpea salad with feta. By any standard, these were pretty delicious. The recipes are below:

For the baked artichoke dip you will need:

Serves 4 people as a snack
  • 1 x 400g tin of artichokes in water or brine (drained)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (or you can use mayonnaise)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, more for sprinkling over the top
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Puree the drained artichokes and garlic in food processor
  2. Mix the yogurt and parmesan cheese
  3. Combine all the ingredients
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top
  6. Put into oven proof dish and bake in a medium oven for around 45 minutes until the top is golden brown
  7. Serve hot with fresh bread, corn chips or carrot and celery sticks

For the chickpea, corn and bean salad you will need:

Serves 2 or 3 people as a side dish
  • 1/2 400g tin of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 400g tin of kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 3/4 325g tin of corn kernels (drained)
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of feta cheese
  • 1 small hot chili, chopped
  • Small bunch of coriander, chopped
  • A dash of olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Combine the chickpeas, kidney beans and corn.
  2. Crumble in the feta cheese.
  3. Add chili, olive oil, lime juice.
  4. Mix all ingredients together, season to taste.
  5. Add chopped coriander.
  6. Enjoy!


Tanya said...

When I was in rural Kenya, we bought potatoes, canned tomatoes, canned beans, and canned onions (yeah, I know! And we had to talk the shopkeeper specifically into buying them, rather than just canned meats and prepared meals in cans. Ewwww!) We did make some good messes.
You make me miss being abroad.

Ewa said...

I've explored the canned potato.... but canned onions??!! Wow! I've never even heard of those.

Thanks for this! You make me realize that we're really lucky to be able to buy at least some fresh vegetables here.