The fine art of heatwave cookery

Hot. Cranky. And don't get me started on all the ants.

It was 33 degrees in my bedroom at 10pm last night and I do not have air-conditioning.

I am unimpressed about this.

With Cyclone Yasi bearing down up north, I wouldn’t dream of whinging about my relatively calm (just hot) situation. In private though, I will admit to a fair bit of cranky behaviour. Actually, very cranky behaviour. Cranky to the point that the kids are keeping well clear unless they are needing a bottom-wipe or are desperate enough to pester for an iceblock.

I’ve been speculating that this is what menopause feels like. Three years of a humid, sticky February. Perhaps one of my more mature readers can confirm or (hopefully) deny this scary theory.

So, while appetites are generally down, I do feel the need to feed my children something at the end of the day, but what? When the food becomes limp on the journey from fridge to bench and there’s no way you’re turning on the oven or hotplate, what are you going to eat?

Vegie-smuggling salads are a tricky area (one I’m working on), but luckily my kids are becoming much better with basic salad ingredients and I can feed them raw carrot, cucumber, grape tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. Tonight I’m planning a little salad & fruit platter. With a bowl of homous to dip into, some smoked salmon for the luxury-loving Miss Fruitarian and a bit of ham for Mr Meat & Potatoes. A couple of slices of bread and I’m done.

Last night I turned on the hotplate long enough to cook some store-bought tortellini (yes, I know, they’re not very healthy), and I tossed them into raw, finely diced tomatoes, capsicum and marinated artichokes. (You can also use my barely-cook, make-ahead tomato sauce.) I sprinkled over crumbled feta and ham for the kids and some olives and basil for my best-friend and me.

Later in the week I’ll tackle guacamole & salsa rolled up in wraps and tuna & corn mini-pizzas under the grill.

You can opt for chopped salad vegies mixed through cottage cheese and stuffed into pita breads, or if desperate, BBQ chicken (remove the skin) and coleslaw rolls.

That’s about all my addled, cranky brain can come up with. If we all pitch in, we’ll have enough ideas to get us through to March. Please feel free to share what’s on the heatwave menu at your place…

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8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Leah said,

    A bit the same here unfortunately. Last night I went for a quickie version of nachos in the microwave with tomato and kidney beans, topped with a quickly whipped up avocado dip. Not very healthy either, but it avoided the oven and stovetop!

  2. 3

    Bella said,

    I find couscous a good option in hot weather – plus I can smuggle some extra bits and pieces in there – current favourites are toasted pine nuts and corn, cucumber and grape tomatoes. If hubby is feeling up to the heat, he can tackle the bbq outside while we sit in airconditioned luxury!

  3. 4

    Helen-Claire Jones said,

    I try to have pre-boiled eggs, sandwich meat or tuna and vegetables that can be diced/grated in the fridge at all times for sandwiches or mountain bread wraps. Sometimes I’ll be lucky and have some leftover cooked pasta that can get thrown into some sort of salad!

  4. 5

    Laura said,

    Summer cookery is probably my favourite kitchen challenge. Not because I like the heat (could do without that), but because it makes my large collection of kitchen gadgets seem so very useful and sensible (and I have a strange aversion to using the oven pretty much all year round – possibly due to the quality of said oven). Summer meals make use of the pizza maker, the pie machine (pies, quiches, frittatas, even bread rolls & muffins), The toasted sandwich maker gets a good run, and even the rice cooker can help avoid using the oven. We have tacos or nachos (using premade lentil sauce from the freezer), omelettes, frittatas, toasted turkish bread sandwiches, wraps, risotto from the microwave, chicken or beef kebabs, bread fingers with vege dips & cold meats (the latest ‘dip’ in our house is pumpkin with corn & peas), hamburgers, chicken strips, crumbed fish with veges, baked bean on potato with tomato & corn…… I’ll stop now. 🙂

    • 6

      wendyblume said,

      Hi Laura, thanks so much for this lovely long comment! Full of so many good ideas. I’m quite inspired!

      Agree about the rice cooker. I’ve got caribbean rice aplenty going in it this season! Then I send Mr VS out to the BBQ. Keeps the house cool. 🙂

  5. 7

    Kate said,

    Chicken breasts cut into strips, marinated in store bought tandoori paste, lemon juice and low fat natural yoghurt cooked on the sandwich press (between sheets of baking paper) with 90 second rice (yes I know it’s cheating) and simple salad. Very easy meal, very tasty and very little cooking!

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