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Food For Families Recipe

Pantry Tuna and Rice


Family Tuna Rice

Can you imagine what it would be like to not know what you are going to feed your children for dinner? Not because you are tired, busy or the day has not gone according to plan but because there is no food in the pantry and no money to buy anything.  It distresses me to even contemplate it. There are many, many Australian families who face this situation. Wesley Mission Victoria assists more than 55,000 people each year and are reliant on donations and community support to help families in need. 

I was contacted by Wesley Mission Victoria earlier this year and was honored to be able to contribute the recipe below for their 2013 Cooking for Compassion Cook Book. Sales of this book support those who access the services of Wesley. The recipes in the book are also being provided to Wesley clients.  All recipes in the book are made predominately with canned foods and designed to feed a family of four for less than $15.  

Cooking for Compassion Book

Photo credit: Richard Dobbie – Photoeventz

The cook book was launched last week, at the commencement of the 2013 Food For Families Appeal. I headed into Federation Square to judge a “Mystery Box” cook-off event between Callum Hann of MasterChef fame and Melbourne chef Karen Batson.

Wesley Mission Cook Off

Photo credit: Richard Dobbie – Photoeventz

Callum is the ambassador of Wesley Mission’s Food for Families Appeal.  In case you are wondering – yes, he is as lovely in person as he appeared on television. What an outstanding, genuine and generous contributor he is.  I loved meeting him.  It goes without saying that he is also obviously a very talented cook. With his partner, Rob Evers, CEO of Wesley Mission, he produced a gorgeous Haloumi salad that just missed out on creating a draw in the challenge by one point. I adore Haloumi. Callum add fresh Spring asparagus and a zingy cous cous to balance the saltiness of the haloumi. It was a stand-out. 

Karen Batson – Wow! She is an amazing lady.  Melbourne food royalty. It was my absolute honor to meet and chat briefly with the woman behind Cookie, Colonel Tans, The Toff in Town and Boney.  Clearly a busy lady, she gave up her afternoon to participate in this event in a bid to raise awareness for the Food For Families Appeal. Her cooking partner Janene Evans, Manager of Crisis and Homeless Services for Wesley Mission, created a stunning black rice and almond salad with tuna and sweet potato patties. It was fabulous! I wish I had of taken notes when the ingredients were described so that I could attempt to recreate it.   

Wesley Cook Off

 Photo credit: Richard Dobbie – Photoeventz

Food For Families Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Pantry Tuna and Rice. A recipe created for Wesley Mission Victoria's Cooking For Compassion Cook Book
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 400 gram tin of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup of water - gathered from rinsing the tin of tomatoes (plus more if required)
  • 1 and ½ cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 and ½ cups rice
  • 425 grams red kidney beans - drained and rinsed
  • 425 grams tinned tuna - drained
  • juice one small lemon
  • ½ bunch Asian greens or spinach leaves
  1. Add the oil and garlic to a pan that can be covered
  2. Heat on medium heat for a few minutes
  3. Add the tomatoes and half cup of water from rinsing the can
  4. Add the stock, paprika, salt and pepper
  5. Add the rice and beans, stir and cook covered for 15 minutes on a low simmer
  6. Stir every few minutes to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan
  7. When the rice is almost cooked add the tuna, spinach (or Asian greens), and lemon juice and a little more water if it appears to be dry
  8. Stir, cover and turn off the heat to sit for 5 minutes
  9. Serve
This recipe is based on white or basmati rice. If you use brown rice the cooking time required would be longer and additional liquid would be needed.


Find more about the Food for Families appeal here.

Locations to donate non perishable goods, and suggestions of what to donate can be found by following the links. You may also wish to purchase the Cooking for Compassion Cookbook.  The book features recipes from Callum, Karen and other food bloggers with all proceeds going to this year’s appeal.

*This is not a sponsored post. Wesley Mission Victoria is a community organisation that I am proud to support in a bid to raise awareness of the amazing work they do in the community. I do feel blessed to be able to grow, harvest and feed my family fresh food each day. After talking with Janene about the clients she supports this has been amplified.  

We will be taking our non-perishable items and (ring pull) cans to our local collection point later this week.

Please help by donating to the appeal if you are able to. It runs up until December 24th.  





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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Krista November 12, 2013, 2:48 pm

    This is such a good thing to participate in. 🙂 I love the sounds of your dish – it looks so savory. 🙂

  • Lisa the Gourmet Wog November 12, 2013, 11:31 pm

    What a brilliant organisation! Thanks for sharing Kyrstie, I have so many cans in my pantry I’d be happy to donate.

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