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What to cook when it’s too hot to cook?

Sun, 17 July, 2022

The sweltering heat of recent days is getting The Weather Man very excited (new temperature record for UK???) and the rest of us sweaty, irritable and very tired. How to sleep when the bedroom is a furnace? How to cook when the kitchen is like an oven already?

Obviously, that’s assuming you don’t have an air-conditioned bedroom nor an outdoor kitchen. Those who possess such accoutrements can get stuffed right now. But envy aside, I do think it’s time homes in the UK were built with default air-con installation – this is not a one-off, freaky summer!

Back to cooking: by all means, come out of the kitchen and barbecue away, every night if you can. And copy the Mediterranean crowd by eating as late as possible (stuff Prof Spector’s advice to fast from 7pm to 11 am). Children can just be fed ice cream sandwiches (joke! but also, school holidays mean they go to bed later anyway).

Lots of options for barbecues, and if you sacrifice a sturdy frying pan for the grilling purposes, you can near as damn it cook stir fries and omelettes outside.

Grilled bream, for instance, will be fantastic as will halloumi and vegetable skewers. And you can mix and match meat kebabs from my barbecue ideas.

What if outdoor cooking is not an option? Just eat ice cream sandwiches.

Seriously though, salads that don't require much effort and next to no cooking are the answer. Chicken, feta and melon salad; classic Caesar or the one with chicken, peaches and halloumi are good options – and that’s where supermarket rotisseries will be in demand. I wouldn't expect anyone to roast chickens when it's 40C outside and in. For summer salads couscous is ideal as it needs no cooking, only soaking in boiling water (if you can bear to boil a kettle). Couscous with chicken or with asparagus and herbs – both lovely.

Next good option is smoked fish, be it mackerel with avocado and cucumber or Arbroath smokies with rice (cook it in the microwave) and Vietnamese dressing.

Swap ingredients in those salads: replace chicken with ham or tinned sardines. Don’t forget crab, now enormous and in season, which also makes great salads.

And make sure there’s lots of ice cream in the freezer.

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About me

Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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