How Do You Cook On A Hot Day?

We are puppy-sitting this rather adorable King Charles Cavalier. We get all the good gigs. He has spent the last two days eating a large number of Christmas decorations so I decided it was high time to take the Christmas tree down. None of us have been able to muster the enthusiasm so far, but it is clearly time. I decided to downsize Christmas while I was at it. Absolutely no-one, including the op-shops, wants Christmas decorations at this time of year, so I have repacked everything in the tubs, and made a memo to self for October to take the bags of unwanted Christmas decorations out and find them a new home. You never know, someone, somewhere might be feeling excited about Christmas by the time October gets here.

It actually turned out to be quite pleasant, listening to music, wrapping up delicate ornaments in tissue paper, remembering all the afternoons with wee children making Christmas decorations in years past. I am a mother very blessed with a wealth of good memories. Although writing that made me laugh. It's funny how you filter out all the fights and tantrums about who gets the glue or the blue piece of felt and the great big enormous mess that equals doing craft with children. Now I get the warm memories without all the crazy-making reality. Another wonderful aspect of ageing:)

Today is very warm and I am very pleased that I had an outdoor electrical outlet put in on my verandah. Currently cooking - dog food in the slow cooker, apricots drying in the dehydrator. Both appliances use a laughably small amount of electricity and are not heating up the house. Win-win. Once upon a time I also had a BBQ with a gas burner which I used to cook dinner on in the summer, but I didn't bring that to the new house. Now I have a house which is not open plan, so I can cook dinner in the kitchen with the door shut and the back door wide open, and still keep the rest of the house cool.

What tricks do you use to make dinner on a hot day?

My best trick is to tap away on the computer in the cool dining room while two daughters are making pad thai in the hot kitchen, listening to loud music, and they don't appear to be fighting at all.


Deborah said…
Thought I'd do any audit of the many, many boxes of Christmas decorations we have but it was too hot when I put everything away to sort or even decide, so back in the cupboard. Despite that hiccup, this afternoon I tidied and sorted three cupboards and have lots of discards/op shop things. I love a good clean up!

Very best wishes for the new year. My only resolution is my on-going determination to use less plastics. Going well so far but family not yet on board!
Jo said…
Deborah, I am hearing you with the family-not-on-board thing. I gave reusable bags to the girls for Christmas to pop in their back packs, but they are still bringing plastic bags full of new clothes back to the house..
Jamie said…
Just popping by to say that this blog post is a little bit of perfect in my Sunday morning. Thanks for sharing it.
Jo said…
Jamie, glad to hear it. I am having a rather pleasant Sunday morning myself. Walked the dog, splashed around in the garden with the hose, now drinking lemon and ginger tea while the puppy licks my toes.. oh and now he has fished out a Christmas decoration from under the couch to chew on. He must have been saving it..
simplelife said…
The picture of the verandah is so peaceful, and how gorgeous is your slow cooker? I'm thinking it's from the time when they were called crockpots?

Our house is quite cool so except for the maybe 3 days of extreme heat, cooking isn't really that much of a problem, but salads and get it yourself figure highly on the summer rotation. The downside is, the 90 odd days of cold in winter, when no-one (actually just me) wants to move far enough away from the fire to cook. Now that I think about it, could be more to do with my lack of interest in feeding the ungrateful hoards than the kitchen temp. ;)

cheers Kate
Jo said…
Kate, ha, yes, the 'crock pot' is a hand-me-down, I suspect it is at least 30 years old.. I love the cheery illustrations of vegies all over it:) Also, yes, 100% in agreement with your thoughts about cooking for ungrateful hordes. My horde of two are frequently less than excited about my nightly offerings..
Anonymous said…
The best hot day dinners are those involving a man who barbecues. Then all that remains is for me to forage in the garden for salad makings - and beans. Beans are compulsory just now and for the next few weeks. Also red cabbage cole slaw. The red cabbages are giant things.

Jo, how do you prepre your apricots for the dehydrator - do you slice them or just halve them? I love my dehydrator, but haven't really had much luck with larger fruits. I know I can successfully do sliced red plums, and I do so love dried apricots.

Linda in NZ
Jo said…
Linda, I always halve the apricots, but they take 1-2 days to dry like that. I think your idea of slicing them is quite brilliant! I will try that for the next batch, for the bigger ones, anyway. Home-dried fruit is wonderful, isn't it?
Pam in Virginia said…
Hi, Jo!

Jamie says it for me. A perfectly lovely post, especially for one in the midst of a heavy snow and ice storm.Thanks!

Beznarf27 said…
We have the covered bbq to cook on and that's the best way to keep the heat out of the house. LOVE the dog and we just took down our Christmas tree as well as our Christmas front gate decoration although I severely miss the Christmas trees lovely twinkles so last year we decided that in order to prevent Christmas tree "gone" blues, that we would make an "art tree" which in our case involved finding a nice driftwood branch from the river that we hauled back up to the house and decorated with a few interesting baubles that we made from river glass and leading and shells and wound 200 Christmas LED lights around so that we can have "Christmas sparkles" all year round. It works for us. We also put the dehydrator out on the deck but unlike you, we don't have an outdoor set of electrical plugs so we noticed that one of the fly screens had worn away at the top and there was a gap in it so I turned it upside down, threaded the plug through the gap, plugged it into the inside electric plug and "voila" best of both worlds. I had best head off now as I am in full swing watering. Have a truly lovely day and give that glorious little pup, and Benson a cuddle from me please :)
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Awesome! Really impressed as usual with your work, and I'll bet the dogs enjoy the homemade dog food? :-)

I use an undercover outdoor electric oven to bake bread and Anzac biscuits and dog biscuits (cheaper and better than commercial ones) even during heat waves such as what we are having right now. It works a treat.

Got any idea what to do with a couple of trays of Anzac Peaches? They don't bottle all that well because they're clingstones and tend to fall apart. I do my bottling outside too now and have already put away apricots for the winter (which I sadly had to buy - a sad tale of repeated frosts)!


Jo said…
Pam, it is hard to imagine ice and snow right now in our heat wave.. you keep safe and warm and dry xxx

Fran, the BBQ seems to be the winner for outdoor cooking - makes sense, that is what it was invented for:) I love your all-year sparkly lights tree idea. Would love to see photos:) and extra credit points for fixing the fly screen and getting outdoor cooking power in one fell swoop..

Chris, a little benchtop oven? What a good idea.. peaches - dry them, they are my favourite dried fruit. If you don't have a dehydrator, do them in the wee oven on low heat. Or in the sun. It's certainly hot enough. Or make fruit leather. Yum.

Lucinda said…
Old crockpots are so much better. The new ones run too hot.

With days of high 30°s, we know all about how to cook dinner without eating the house. A favourite is a variety of salads, wrap bread and chicken kebabs cooked outdoors on the BBQ. We have this every week during summer. And, after Christmas, mix it up with leftover Christmas ham, adding small potatoes steamed in the microwave, mixed in with sour cream and chives. The man also has a small gas element in which he stirfries things in a wok. And he takes the rice cooker outside.

What a gorgeous dog! How lucky to dogsit - to have the joy and fun without the long term responsibilities.
Jo said…
Lucinda, I think the outdoor gas ring is a real winner.. it could achieve so many things, including jam making, which I often did on the gas ring of our old BBQ.

Popular Posts