Kilted Chef Craig Wilson is no stranger to creating inspiring meals – but how did he fare using only the ingredients found in a food parcel from Cfine and some basic pantry staples?
That was the challenge he was set as part of our Big Christmas Food Appeal.
Mr Wilson, who owns Eat on the Green in Udny Green, decided to create two main courses and a dessert from the contents of a typical food parcel, which included a tin of pineapple chunks, bolognese sauce and a Fray Bentos pie.
The aim was to provide some inspiration for the people who receive the food parcels – and also to remind anyone thinking of donating what Cfine might be looking for.
Graeme Robbie, development manager at Cfine, said: “I would recommend having a look at our website for the full list of food required.
“We are generally looking for any non-perishable ambient food that we can use in food parcels.
“Something that we do as well is, if there’s any shortages we’ll use finance to top up on that, so if people can’t donate food directly they can donate money that we will then use to top it up.”
Most important are items that won’t go off quickly, such as tinned food and dry pasta, with both sweet and savoury catered for.
Mr Wilson said: “No matter what is happening at Christmas, food is such a big part of everybody’s life.
“I daresay the food parcels that are donated are a real source of comfort and joy to everybody that receives them.
“My challenge, I guess, is to get a hamper of ingredients and maybe look at them from a totally different point of view, combine them together to put a lovely, warming food hug on the table.”
Craig Wilson’s three food-parcel dishes
Spicy tuna egg fried rice
- Half an onion, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- ½ tsp dry chilli flakes
- Tinned tuna in oil
- Tinned sweetcorn
- Ben’s Mexican Bean microwave rice
- 1 egg
Heat some oil in a pan. Add the onion and cook for a minute until soft, then add garlic and dry chilli flakes.
Once fragrant, add the tuna along with its oil, and the full tin of sweetcorn. Stir to combine, then add the Mexican Bean rice.
Add an egg and stir to combine. Press the mixture into the pan, increase the heat and fry without stirring until crispy on the bottom, then serve.
Beef and bean ragu
- Fray Bentos Minced Beef and Onion pie
- Half an onion, roughly sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- ½ tsp dry chilli flakes
- ½ can of baked beans
- ½ can of vegetable soup
- Jar of bolognese sauce
- Optional: Cheese and Italian herbs
Cook pasta to preference.
Heat oil in pan. Remove pastry from Fray Bentos pie and fry top-down in pan until browned, then flip. Place pastry on non-stick tray and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Brown onion in pan with peeled and chopped carrot. Add chilli flakes. Once vegetables are soft, add meat from Fray Bentos pie, baked beans, vegetable soup and the full jar of bolognese sauce. Leave to simmer.
Add pasta and Italian herbs if using. Grate or crumble cheese over top if using. Serve in large dish, alongside sliced pastry.
Pineapple & Jaffa Cake winter warmer
- Two tangerines
- Tin of pineapple chunks
- Brown sugar
- Whole packet of Jaffa Cakes
- ½ tsp nutmeg (ground or freshly grated)
Heat small amount of oil in a pan. Slice one tangerine with the skin on, and place it on one side of the pan. Add one 1tbsp of brown sugar. Add the pineapple chunks with the juice and mix. Grate in the nutmeg (or add ground nutmeg) and add 2tbsp brown sugar. Keep mixing until liquid has reduced.
Meanwhile, peel the other tangerine and finely dice the skin. Finely slice two Jaffa Cakes, and combine with diced skin along with 1tsp sugar.
Once the sauce has reduced, add the diced skin, Jaffa Cake and sugar to the pineapple and tangerine mixture. Remove the original pieces of sliced tangerine from the pan. Cook on high heat for five minutes.
Throw in the segments of tangerine from the one peeled earlier, and cook for 30 seconds. Take off the heat, press remaining Jaffa Cakes on top chocolate side-up, and cover with tin foil or lid. Once Jaffa Cake chocolate has melted slightly, lightly dust with icing sugar and serve.