Summer is here and it could be a hot one. And while youll no doubt be enjoying barbecues and the spicy and hot meats that accompany the scorching weather, theres a time and a place to cool down. Constant high temperatures can dehydrate and tire a person, and make them lethargic or even ill.
So eating or drinking something to lower the body temperature is advised. By all means treat yourself to a spicy sausage or two, but alternating it, or accompanying it, with one or two of these cool treats will benefit you from a health standpoint and will refresh the body and the palate.
1) Do you sneer at salads? Turn your nose up at tomatoes? Then youre just not doing it right! Lettuce, cucumber, onions and most other green foods are packed with vitamins and water, but if youre finding them a little bland tip a few drops of a light vinaigrette onto the mix. Orange, lemon or lime juice all work with most salads lemon and rocket leaf are a particularly good combination.
2) Similarly, fruit and some greens work better than you might expect. A few unusual combinations that match up well include spinach and strawberries (in a vinaigrette of sesame and poppy seeds, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil and onion); orange, fig and blue cheese on lettuce; avocado, mixed fruit and grapefruit (with a little lime and mint); and sunblush tomatoes, red onions and feta cheese on mixed lettuce.
3) Lets put another spin on salad by interspersing small chunks of cold meat, particularly chicken and turkey. A simple dressing of honey, oils and vinegar, or maple syrup and soy sauce, livens up the ensemble. Coriander, mint and Thai herbs can be added. If pork is more your meat, then sliced apple or apricot bring out the flavours in traditional ways. Grill pork chops in a little salt or pepper and let them cool, pop the pork slices into a little crisp lettuce with apple chunks, add some onion and blue cheese and a tangy vinaigrette, and youve got a lovely and lively little salad.
4) Tuna is another cool protein, which can either be sliced or placed onto salads or noodles as steaks.
A staple of south-east Asian cuisine, try mixing up some lime juice, lemongrass, oil and soy sauce and marinade the fish for an hour in the fridge. The fish is then seared for 30 seconds on each side, and then accompanies noodle with combinations of garlic, ginger, fish sauce, peanuts, spring onions and lime. Traditional Vietnamese recipes would also bring in chilli, but youre trying to cool down!
5) The student favourite that is cold pasta shouldnt be underestimated as a high-energy, low maintenance snack. Cook and drain the pasta, and let it cool, before adding bursts of flavour minimal cooking required!
A few suggestions: melon, cooked pancetta and ricotta with a dash of mint; mixed vegetables including peppers, onions, tomatoes, and broccoli with crab meat and a light dressing; and cooked peas and pesto – homemade if possible.
So there we have it: a range of meals and meal additions which can be popped in the fridge, ready to spring out when the temperatures blaze!