I recently had a meeting with the Trussell Trust (trusselltrust.org), a network of more than 70 food banks across the country which supplies families in need with food boxes containing a three-day ration of dried and canned essentials. It's a brilliant initiative which is aimed at working families who are living in real poverty below the breadline. The numbers of food boxes distributed has risen from 25,000 to 60,000 over the past two years. And the Trussell Trust has inspired me, at this time of rising food prices, to dedicate this column to some cheap and simple recipes that you can make with store-cupboard cans and convenient dried foods.

Corned beef fritters with tomato

Serves 4

I always have a few tins of corned beef in my larder, usually to make a brunch-style corned beef hash with a fried egg on top, but on this occasion corned beef fritters seemed appropriate, with a sauce made from a can of chopped tomatoes.

1 x 340g corned beef, chilled and cut into rough 1cm chunks
3tbsp self-raising flour
Cold water to mix
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable or corn oil for frying

For the sauce

1tbsp vegetable or corn oil
1 small onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
Half a large 400g can chopped tomatoes
A good pinch of dried oregano

First make the sauce: heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-based saucepan and gently cook the onion for 2-3 minutes until it softens. Add the tomatoes and oregano, season, bring to the boil and simmer for about 12-15 minutes, adding a little water if necessary. Meanwhile, put the flour into a bowl and gradually whisk in enough water to make a thick-ish batter and season. Preheat about 8cm of oil to 160-180C in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer.

Mix the nuggets of corned beef with the batter and drop them into the oil in batches, moving them around with a slotted spoon as they are cooking until they are crisp and golden; then remove from the oil and drain on some kitchen paper. To serve, spoon the sauce on to warmed serving plates and arrange the fritters on top.

Corn chowder

Serves 4-6

Sweetcorn is one of my favourite foods in tins. It's always sweet and flavoursome, vibrant yellow and has a bit of bite to it. Corn chowder is a great American brunch dish. A large bowl with some crusty bread makes a welcome lunchtime meal on its own. You can modify chowders and add all sorts of things from crab meat to smoked haddock – the idea is really to be as hearty as possible

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
4 rashers of rindless, smoked, streaky bacon, chopped into rough 1cm squares
60g butter
1tbsp flour
1tsp tomato purée
1.2litre hot chicken stock
1 x 250g can of sweetcorn
1 large potato, peeled and cut into rough 1cm cubes
2tbsp chopped parsley
60ml double cream

Gently cook the onion, garlic and bacon in the butter for 4-5 minutes until soft. Stir in the flour and the tomato purée and cook on a low heat for 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the hot chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the sweetcorn and potatoes, season with salt and pepper and simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove about one-fifth of the soup from the pan; blend until smooth.

Return to the pan with the cream and parsley and simmer for 5 minutes. Check the seasoning and re-season if necessary. Serve immediately.

Tuna tortilla

Serves 4

A can of tuna can often save the day when it's transformed into a tasty snack or a brunch-type dish such as this. It's pretty good value for money and it will go quite a long way when you add in a few cooked potatoes.

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
A couple of knobs of butter
8 medium eggs, beaten
A couple of medium-sized potatoes (250-300g) peeled, cooked and cut into rough 1cm dice
2tbsp chopped parsley
1 x 200g can of tuna, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a non-stick frying pan and gently cook the onions in the butter for 3-4 minutes without colouring until soft. Meanwhile, mix the eggs, potatoes, parsley and tuna and season to taste. Add the egg mixture to the pan with the onions and stir over a medium heat until the mixture begins to set, then stop stirring and allow the tortilla to set on the bottom without colouring. Remove from the heat and turn out the tortilla on to a plate. Serve hot or cold.

Griddled peaches with rice pudding ice-cream

Serves 4

This is not really an ice-cream as such, but simply frozen rice pudding enriched with egg whites. But it makes a delicious and colourful dessert that any novice cook could turn out for an impressive dinner-party pudding.

1 x 425g can of rice pudding
2 egg whites
2tbsp caster sugar
1 x 410g can of peach halves, drained

Whisk the egg whites with the sugar in a mixing machine, by hand or with an electric hand whisk until stiff. Carefully fold the egg white into the rice pudding, transfer to a plastic container with a lid and place in the freezer for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally until it is firm and frozen.

Reserve 4 peach halves and blend the rest until smooth in a liquidiser.

To serve, heat a heavy or non-stick frying pan and fry the peaches, cut side down for 3-4 minutes, until they are nicely coloured. Spoon a little of the peach purée onto serving plates and place the peach on the purée, cut side up. Spoon or scoop out the rice pudding with the help of a spoon or ice-cream scoop dipped in hot water and place next to the peach. You'll probably have some frozen rice pudding left which I'm sure the kids will devour.