Daily hacks: 3 ways to get creative in the kitchen when you don’t have power

Cooking without power has become a norm for South Africans. Here are some creative ways to turn to in the kitchen when Eskom strikes with load shedding.


South Africans have had to deal with load shedding for the last couple of months as power utility, Eskom battles to keep the lights on.

If you are tired of braaiing and takeout, try these tips to get creative in the kitchen when the power goes out.

ALSO SEE: Daily hacks: How to dry your hair without a hair dryer during load shedding

Eat raw

Instead of powering up the oven, hotplate and grill, eating raw food is always an option, even if it might not be quite as warming as serving up piping hot dishes. But the current context could seriously boost the raw food diet trend, which extols the virtues of a no-cook diet to preserve a maximum of nutrients. In addition to grated carrots and other salads, you can also craft more elaborate recipes, such as steak tartare or sea bream ceviche, a kind of carpaccio of Peruvian origin that’s seasoned with onions, citrus fruits and chili peppers. And this seafood that can be adapted to work with a wide variety of fish.

No-cook cakes

For dessert, how about a cake that doesn’t need to go in the oven? This is a challenge that can readily be met when you look to recipes based on creams, soft cheeses and cookie crumbs. The art of the no-bake cake lies in the dense texture of a whipped cream and/or a creamy substance such as mascarpone or Philadelphia that can then be flavoured (with lemon or red berries, for example). As a base for the cake, crush cookies in the bottom of a pastry ring (not a pie pan, as it could be tricky to unmold). And here, you can choose whatever’s in the pantry: shortbread cookies, Oreos, Biscoff… Then, spread it with the cream preparation and finish with jam or jelly if needed. Refrigerate the cake overnight to set the whole thing in place, and then unmold it the next day. And if the unmolding process stresses you out, simply build the cakes directly in individual portions in large glasses.

If you have access to a microwave, then you can follow the lead of chefs like Cyril Lignac or Thierry Marx, by trying a simple chocolate cake recipe. The idea is to melt squares of chocolate and add butter. You can also add some whipped cream. Then, pour the mixture into a cake tin lined with cling film and keep it in the fridge overnight before unmolding.

ALSO SEE: Recipe of the day: No-bake coffee cheesecake

Verrines

A decade ago, verrines — or hors d’oeuvres in a shot glass — were all the rage, whether at home parties or catered events. Now, faced with an undetermined amount of time with load shedding – these cold concoctions could come back in a big way. Verrines have many advantages. For starters, everyone can make them, no matter what their level of kitchen expertise. They can also be adapted to all tastes and dietary requirements, and filled with a whole host of ingredients that do not need to be cooked or heated. Raw vegetables, or crushed or puréed preparations, can be combined with cream cheese seasoned with chives, all used to compose successive layers of ingredients so that the eater’s spoon dives through the various textures. You can also prepare verrines based on winter salads, using beets, orange, chicory, red cabbage and carrots, for example.

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