How to keep your food from going out in hot weather
It’s too hot to cook! I don’t want to spend an hour in the kitchen with the oven or hob on any more than you do. I also exhausted my trusty fallback of the Mammy Irish salad. This was a novelty last week and at this point, I’m even giving an inward groan at the thought of sliced hard-boiled eggs and ham rolls. That’s why this week both recipes are made without a stove or oven in sight and I’m all the better for it. The bonus to all these no-cook dishes? Less dishes!
The clammy, sticky heat has attached itself to my brain cells and it’s harder to think straight, let alone plan meals, shop and cook. When hot, food can spoil quickly; knowing how to store your supplies will save you money and unnecessary trips to stores.
Did you know that your refrigerator door is the area most prone to heat fluctuations? This is why, especially in this weather, you should not put your cartons or bottles of milk on the door. When the temperature is not constant, these best before dates are unreliable and the milk may not last as long.
The top of the fridge is the coolest, so keep your dairy products like milk and cheese on the top shelves. Butter, while much easier to spread out of the fridge, will spoil quickly even if stored in a butter dish in the press. Place the butter on a lower shelf in the refrigerator so it doesn’t solidify too much and take it out about 30 minutes before using.
At the bottom of the fridge you will normally find a large drawer, this is the “vegetable drawer” and it is designed to keep your fruits and vegetables fresh, it depends on how unwrapped they come in. You will also want to make sure it is completely dry. This is why I cover mine with a dry towel to absorb any condensation which can accelerate the deterioration of the products.
Above the drawer should be a solid glass shelf. This is where you place your meat and poultry where they can’t “drip” onto anything stored below and because your dairy is up high you have less chance of flavor transfer.
What about the fruit bowl and those pesky fruit flies, blue bottles and wasps?
First, separate your bananas from all other fruits. They emit a chemical that will quickly ripen everything else in your bowl, and combined with the heat, your fruit will pass before you have a chance to enjoy it (but the flies will). But where do you store those bananas then? Believe it or not, they stay on a hook the longest with air circulating around them, much like on a banana tree. If they become too ripe and mushy, peel the banana and put the flesh in the freezer for another cooking.
Whatever fruit you have left in the lid of the bowl. You could pick up one of these mesh umbrellas at a discount store; I got mine at Dealz. The umbrella sits above your bowl of fruit and is meant to protect it from insects that lay their eggs and multiply. If you are not going to eat the products within 3 days, put them in the refrigerator and take them out a few hours before enjoying them instead.
Aldi is running a big competition to celebrate the electric picnic and is giving away music festival tickets and vouchers. Every customer who spends more than €40 per week (excluding alcohol) can participate. Visit their website to learn more.
The “Ace Build It Yourself Burger Box” costs €12 in SuperValu and includes all the ingredients you need to make the ultimate burger. Although on the surface it may seem expensive, the box includes streaky bacon, cheese, pickles, and burger sauce with the burgers and buns. It is a valuable alternative to similar home cooking restaurant canisters.
Fresh Irish chillies, produced in North County Dublin by Taylor’s of Lusk, currently cost just 49c in Dunnes stores. Even though it may seem counterproductive to add more heat to our meals right now.
Couscous Salad with Beans
Couscous is a fantastic carb that cooks in just 5 short minutes once you cover it with hot water. Increase the ingredients according to the number of people you are serving.
Use around 50g of couscous per serving and use 75ml of hot water per person.
Put both in a heatproof bowl and cover the top with cling film.
Leave aside for 5 minutes then it’s ready to eat hot from the dish.
Season as desired.
Alternatively, you can cook the couscous earlier in the day, then add fresh salads to it before serving.
You don’t always have to use the oven or the hob to make an awesome dessert!
Tub of ice cream of your choice
1 large pitcher of French pressed coffee or individual espresso per person
A shot of baileys for adults
About 6 hours before serving, remove the ice cream of your choice from the freezer.
Let it warm up a bit for about 20 minutes, then cut it into individual portions and place them in a large freezer-safe box. Cover and put back in the freezer.
Forget your dessert until you’ve cleaned up after the main course.
Prepare a large pot of coffee. Place a chilled glass in front of each person, then place a scoop of ice cream in each glass. Pour a shot of Baileys over the ice.
Complete with strong coffee. Eat right away!