Top Three Cooking Tips for Spring

3 November 2016

Spring is finally here, and it has brought some seriously hot weather along with it! We’re talking the kind of weather that means hot car seats, trading Irish coffees for tropical cocktails and most importantly, letting go of the winter sishebo recipes in favour of something just a little lighter and more suitable for Spring fever.

Want to keep all the taste and comfort of those beautiful wintery dinner recipes, but also stick to fresh and light meals? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our top three cooking tips for Spring.

Tip 1: Ditch the heavy, fatty meats

We know, we know. Beef shin, lamb neck, brisket…they’re all delicious and lend themselves beautifully to a load of curries, stews and casseroles. Their five minutes of fame happens largely over South Africa’s short winter though. Their fatty texture means they tend to be best when slow cooked and served with sauce and steaming vegetables and rice, which isn’t the ideal Sunday lunch when it’s thirty degrees outside!

Instead, keep your meals less dense by opting for dishes which feature lighter meats. Chicken, steak, ostrich, lighter cuts of pork such as pork steak or chops, and vegetable based meals are all good options. These tips can help you keep your everyday sishebo recipes healthier and lighter, with just a few small changes. You won’t even notice the difference, we promise!

Tip 2: Use in season ingredients

The real key to easy dinner recipes is to use ingredients that are fresh and tasty, and readily available. You’ll obviously have your usual canned and non-perishable ingredients and some standard vegetables that are available all year round, such as carrots and onions, but it’s the seasonal produce that really makes a difference. Using in season ingredients in your meals can mark the difference between winter and spring.

Some vegetables that are in season for spring are:

  • Mushrooms
  • Spring onions
  • Baby marrows
  • Potatoes
  • Beetroot
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Turnips
  • Mielies
  • Leeks
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Green Beans
  • Parsnips
  • Red Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagas

There are also plenty of in season fruits in spring too, which can be added to salads and sauces for a twist on the usual. Citrus fruits and berries can be excellent when paired with the right meats, and bring out the flavour of your food without adding bulk and heaviness.

Tip 3: Plan your accompaniments accordingly

In winter, most of our dishes went really well with a few staples; red wine, port or sherry for drinks, and rice, potatoes or pap as side dishes. You’ll notice a trend here – rich, heavy, and carbohydrate laden. While there’s nothing wrong with that, spring dishes call for something a little bit different.

Instead of red wine, try a crisp white or a sweet and refreshing rose. If wine isn’t your thing, you could go with a gin and tonic for something a little bit different.

As for side dishes, you can still keep your starchy accompaniments, but change them up a little. A potato salad or pan fried potatoes might be a better match than baked or mashed potatoes. Add some spring flavour to your rice with coriander, lime and pepper. Or try something unusual such as sweet potatoes, couscous or a pasta salad.

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