Winter is nearly behind us, with the sun starting to rise a little earlier and set a little later and that harsh night time chill beginning to ease off slowly. Soon, the birds will be singing, the trees will be blooming and we’ll be stuck wondering whether casserole will be too heavy if it’s a hot day, or if salad will be too light if it’s a cold day. Here’s how to adapt your dinner recipes to fit in with that lovely springtime feeling.
During winter, nobody can resist a lovely hearty meal. Your trusty stew recipes get hauled out of the cupboard and have their moment of fame, only to be retired for another year when August rolls around.
To save you time, it’s possible to adapt some of your winter recipes to fit the new season.
Use your slow cooker
We know, the slow cooker is the ultimate tool in simple recipes. It’s perfect for stews, sishebo, casserole and curry, because you can use cheap cuts of meat and seasonal veg – no matter what you put into a slow cooker, it always seems to come out delicious.
What many people don’t know though, is that a slow cooker can be utilised for loads of different dinner recipes. There’s no need to stick to just casseroles and stews. For spring time, try one of the many simple recipes for slow cookers that make use of lighter proteins such as chicken thighs or fish fillets.
Pair these with bright flavours such as lemon, lime, tomato, white wine and make use of fresh spring vegetables on the side. Rather than putting them in the slow cooker though, steam the veggies as a side dish.
Change the side dishes
Another way to easily transition food from spring to summer is to make use of different side dishes. Stew recipes generally call for hot and heavy dishes like pap, rice or potatoes. To make things more spring-suitable, opt for a variety of salads. A simple green salad or greek salad is a good start, but you can also try out things like cucumber salads, avo and tomato salads, coleslaw or cous cous with added feta, olives, or sundried tomatoes.
Add in fruit
Fruit makes everything feel summery, light and more refreshing. Adding in fresh fruit to some of your existing recipes can make a world of difference. Try bits of apple, pear, cranberry or even strawberry in your salads.
You can also add fruit to meat dishes. Generally, pork pairs very well with apple, so consider using fresh apples to make a sauce or side dish. Chicken goes great with most citrus, including oranges. A good idea is to swap a tomato or stock-based chicken dish with one using orange zest and juices. Swap out heavy veg such as butternut for spring onions or leeks.
Beef and lamb are heavier meats and a bit trickier to match to fruit. However, lamb goes well with quite sweet and strong flavours – think along the lines of cranberry, fig, apricot and pomegranate. Pomegranate is a lovely summery addition to many lamb dishes. You can also make a curry or stew and sweeten it with some apricot. Just remember to serve with a light side dish!