Summer is well on its way in South Africa – yay for braais, sunshine and warm nights. One thing that you don’t want to be doing on all those lovely warm evenings though, is standing over a hot oven or stove for hours. It’s uncomfortable, boring, and you get some serious jealousy seeing everyone else enjoying the evening while you’re cooking. So what can you do to make cooking for the summer season more enjoyable? Well, we have loads of summer-suitable easy recipes and tips for you to try!
Up the fruits and veggies
Why? Summer is the time for light, fresh food. Fruit is great for hot days as it can be so refreshing and cooling. Keep slices of watermelon in your fridge for a quick snack for you and the kids. You won’t worry about them filling up too much before dinner, as the water content is so high. Other great summer options include plums, apples, oranges and pineapples. Really, any fruit that’s in season will be cheap and delicious.
While boiled or roasted vegetables are delicious and help to make a meal lighter (especially if you skip the potatoes or rice), they can sometimes be a bit hot in the middle of summer. In that case, go for an easy salad instead. Aside from the usual green or Greek salad, you can also do a super quick chopped tomato, onion and avocado salad dressed with a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Because the days are so hot, the extra water content in fruits and vegetables will help to keep you hydrated and feeling your best.
Learn to love cold meat
You’ll still have to cook it first, but if you’re going to cook once anyway, make it count! Choose dinner recipes with meat as the main feature and make extras. Cooking a whole chicken or two and then serving it up cold over the following days is a great way to enjoy a protein-filled summer meal without the heaviness. Cold chicken with potato salad, coleslaw or salad is delicious and summer suitable. You can also use the meat for sandwiches. This doesn’t just go for chicken! Use any meat you like, but cold beef is particularly delicious.
Use that braai
South Africans love a braai in summer, and why not? The heat gets less trapped in the house, you can sit outside with a cool breeze, and the taste of meat done on the braai is somehow just better than in the oven or pan. One cost effective way to cook delicious summer food on the braai is to visit your local supermarket on the day you plan to braai. Choose a fresh fish, which is often cheaper than meat – angelfish, yellowtail and snoek are all affordable. Add your choice of flavourings and seasoning, wrap in foil and throw it on the braai. Your side dishes and recipes for dinner that night can simply complement the fish.
Like we mentioned above, use the opportunity to cook some extra food that you can serve cold over the next few days – now you’re well on your way to mastering the summer kitchen and beating the heat!