Delicious meals on a budget? Yes you CAN!

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My relationship with canned food goes back to when I was a child. Growing up in Folkestone in the late 1960s, my parents didn’t have much money. We had a takeaway once a year as a treat. And so my mum cooked very wholesome, simple food – and a lot of it was out of cans. We ate Spam and corned beef hash out of a can. I still love Spam, in fact I always make sure to have a can in the house because it’s tasty, full of protein and can make a lovely stir-fry.

Fast forward to the early 1990s and I found myself using canned food once more, this time because the posh hotel where I worked as a chef had fallen on hard times.

It didn’t deter me. I knew just how delicious food made from cans could be. So I got creative and served up dinners that were cheap but delicious.

As a nation right now, we’re all feeling the pinch. And as a result, saving money is more important than ever.

Canned and frozen food can be a big help, cutting back your weekly food bill.

There’s a misconception that it isn’t as nutritious as fresh. I say, look on the back of the packets – they’re full of goodness.

Take frozen peas. They’re harvested, cooked and put in a freezer within two hours of being picked.

There’s a certain amount of food snobbery about canned food. Yes, those cookbooks with 40-ingredient dinners are beautiful, and no doubt delectable. But when you’ve been working hard, the last thing you want is to cook a complex meal that will take hours. What’s more, you might not have the funds to buy all those ingredients.

So why not make it easier and more economical?

As I say on This Morning, the only health food shop you need is the ­supermarket. You can buy healthy, nutritious, fabulous food in every ­supermarket around the country. So my challenge to you is this: what can you make from a can? The answer may just surprise you.

  • The Canny Cook: Freezer and storecupboard meals on a budget by Phil Vickery (£16.99, Kyle Books) is out now

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