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Sue Lawrence’s storecupboard tips


In these challenging and unprecedented times, many of us are resorting to larder ingredients for everyday cooking. Here are a couple of ideas:

Tinned chickpeas are of course great for hummus, but you can also use tinned butter beans or haricot beans: whiz these up with some tahini (if you have), olive oil, cumin and garlic then serve this with pitta to dip OR top with quick fried minced lamb zapped with ras al hanout or Za-atar in the spice drawer.

OR make a simple stew by sauteeing onion and garlic then stir in some ginger or turmeric or chilli then, once golden, add a tin of chickpeas, sizzle a little then stir in a tin of coconut milk. Cook, covered, for about 20 minutes.

Tinned sardines are a lifesaver! I like them on toast of course, but another idea is based on a Sicilian pasta recipe: put some spaghetti on to boil. Heat a frying pan with olive oil and sauté some garlic for a minute then add a couple of handfuls of fresh breadcrumbs (white or brown), cook till golden & crunchy. Remove with slotted spoon, add splash of oil from the sardine tin then add the sardines, mash them up a little, return breadcrumbs to pan, add loads of freshly chopped parsley (or mint) and perhaps some freshly grated lemon zest. Drain the pasta, retaining a little of the pasta water. Toss the pasta and sardine breadcrumbs together, loosening with some pasta water if needed.  Season with regular pepper or a good grinding from a chilli pepper mill.

Sue’s new novel, ‘The Unreliable Death of Lady Grange’, is out now.