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What do you cook when there’s a heatwave outside?

First of all, I guess this post isn’t for all the lucky people out there with air-conditioning.

I can see you now on those hot summer days, cooking roasts like it’s the middle of winter and not a care in the world! Well, spare a thought for those of us sweltering in hothouses, where the thermostat reads 34 degrees and the idea of cooking in the kitchen is frankly unbearable.

If you fall into the latter camp, then let’s face some facts. We’d all like to be a hero and plough on with a hearty vegetable bake or a slow-cooked piece of meat, but there’s no need to be that punishing. And salads are an obvious meal option for hot days, but there are only so many that one wants to consume in a week!

So, here are a few alternatives and tips for eating in the heat, while still enjoying a nourishing and satisfying meal.

  • Prep Prep Prep!
    Take advantage of those cool days in-between the scorchers and cook meals in advance that can be easily re-heated without breaking a sweat. I even cook batches of grains like quinoa or brown rice so that I can easily defrost and make a quick salad. If you’re willing to endure a little heat over the stove, then make life a bit easier by par-cooking vegetables and freezing them, then finishing them off on the day you’re ready to eat them.
  • Vietnamese spring rolls
    Fill with satay tofu and thin strips of carrot, cucumber, and if you like, some pre-prepared brown rice or zucchini noodles.
  • Gazpacho soup
    Cold soup is one of those things that you don’t think you’ll like until you try it. Trust me, on a hot day, this is a belter. Blend a big batch on the weekend then enjoy on your return home. Chuck in some large ice cubes for good measure.
  • Watermelon and feta kebabs
    This is a good one if you’ve got kids and need to rustle up something delicious in a hurry without turning the gas on.
  • Smoked salmon & raw zucchini noodles
    Toss thin slices of smoked salmon with spiralised zucchini, drizzled with olive oil and with a squeeze of lemon to finish.
  • Ceviche!
    Ceviche is basically fish that is cured for a short period of time with an acid – usually lemon or lime juice. Cube sashimi grade fish and cure it in the lemon juice, then serve in lettuce cups alongside some sliced avocado.
  • And finally…
    Throw all this out the window and do what other heat-loving cultures do; eat really hot, spicy food. Think a Sichuan hotpot or an Indian curry. When you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!

By Victoria Thaine,
Recipe Contributor

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