When it's as hot as an oven outside, you don't want to recreate that heat inside.
As we enjoy the February sunshine here's a few tips to keep cool and comfortable in the kitchen.
Make rice summer rolls which, at most, require boiling water in the microwave to soak the rice paper and rice noodles.
- Make gazpacho
- Use store-bought rotisserie chicken to make chicken salad.
- Cooking pasta won't heat up your kitchen much. Try this easy risoni salad: Combine 1 cup cooked risoni, kernels from three ears of corn, 1 diced avocado, 2 tablespoons each fresh lime juice, cider vinegar and sugar, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 2 cups of halved grape tomatoes. Toss lightly to combine. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.
- Cook in the morning when it is cool.
- Use your barbecue. Cook enough proteins, such as beef, chicken or fish, to last several meals. If you have a side burner, use it to cook vegetables, boil pasta or heat baked beans.
- Try these summer-friendly recipes.
SPICY BLT SOUP
1 kilo assorted tomatoes, roughly chopped
Coarse sea salt and ground pepper
1 small cucumber, roughly chopped
2 medium chillies, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/2 small brown onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 slice white bread, crust removed, torn into pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sugar
Chopped egg and garlic vinaigrette (recipe below)
Croutons, crumbled cooked bacon and sliced lettuce, for toppings
Sprinkle tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt; leave them to stand for 10 minutes.
Combine tomatoes, cucumber, chillies, onion, garlic, vinegar, bread, oil and sugar in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing on solids, then discard solids. Cover soup and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours or up to 3 days.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of vinaigrette and desired toppings. - serves 4
CHOPPED EGG AND GARLIC VINAIGRETTE
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Separate egg whites and yolks. Chop egg whites and set aside.
Mash yolks in a small bowl. Stir in garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil. Add egg whites. Season with salt. Serve.
CHICKPEA COUSCOUS SALAD WITH LEMON AND FRESH MINT
Juice of one large lemon, or more to taste
1/4 medium red onion, cut into 1cm pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt, divided
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
3/4 cup wholewheat couscous
1 & 1/4 cups warm water
1 small red capsicum, cut into 1cm dice
1 stalk celery, cut into 1cm dice
1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup raisins
1 (400g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 to 1/3 cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves, torn
Combine lemon juice, onion, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Set aside.
Place couscous, water and remaining salt and pepper in a large microwave-proof glass bowl. Microwave, covered, on high for 2 minutes. Carefully check couscous for tenderness. If needed, give it another 30 seconds to 1 minute cooking time. You will want it slightly firmer than usual because it will finish cooking as it sits.
Add capsicum, celery, olives and raisins to the large bowl with the onion-dressing mixture. Add couscous, chickpeas and mint. Taste for lemon juice, salt and pepper and adjust as needed. Serve the salad cool or at room temperature. - serves 4