How to prep 5 basic dishes for when loadshedding ruins your day

There are few things worse than getting home excited for supper and realising you have no electricity. These are all the (super fast!) meals you can cook ahead of time and enjoy straight from the fridge (or at room temperature, if you’re willing to wait a little while longer). 

Black pepper and lemon oven-roasted chicken breast

Put four chicken breasts on a baking sheet and coat in oil. Then sprinkle salt and pepper, followed by the juice of one lemon and roast for thirty minutes. It’s easy, quick and, best of all, perfect to throw on a slice of sourdough (or any bread you like) with mayo and mustard. It has a little more bite and acidity than your usual chicken-mayo sandwich, and I love it even more with a few slices of gherkin.

Simple sausage and green peppers with couscous

Cold sausage is really good and tastes totally different than when it's warm. Kick up a grill pan to maximum heat then quickly sear both sides of the sausage until you get those cross marks. Then take the sausage out and add in some chopped or sliced peppers at a medium heat. Stir the peppers around occasionally so they don’t stick, and cook until the sausage is no longer pink and the peppers have started to soften. Make your couscous according to the package instructions and add a little bit of cumin, salt, and olive oil just to add that little something extra that will come through nicely when it's cold. Serve in a bowl, drizzled with even more olive oil, and top with the sausage and peppers.

Oven-roasted broccoli and butter garlic green beans and feta

Start by roasting your broccoli for about 15 minutes in an oven at about 200 degrees Celsius, sprinkled with salt, pepper and olive oil. Keep an eye on it for your preferred level of char. While that's going, boil some salted water in a medium-sized pot and throw in the green beans. Boil for about five minutes then pour out the water, put it back on the stove and throw in a clove of garlic and a pat of butter. Swirl it around for a moment and you've got some of the tastiest green beans, even when they've cooled down.

Spicy pasta salad

Cold pasta salad is a braai side dish that many people will know well. My favourite combination is enough olive oil to coat the pasta, cracked black pepper, a sprinkle of chilli flakes, a teaspoon of medium curry powder and cocktail tomatoes. Then I mix in pickled red onion and a few sweet peppers to take things up a notch. The robustness of the dish means it’s full of flavour even when served straight from the fridge.

Homemade hummus

Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas
1 large lemon
1 garlic clove
½ cup tahini
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp olive oil

This might sound like a lot of effort, but it’s actually really easy because the food processor is doing all the work. Start by draining your chickpeas then slice your lemon in half and pick out the seeds and squeeze the juice into a cup. You should have about a cup. Then peel a clove of garlic and grate it (or use a garlic press if you have it).Throw the drained chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, salt, cracked black pepper, cumin, and a ¼ cup water into a food processor or blender. Mix for about a minute or until relatively smooth, (make it how you like it – it doesn't have to be like baby food). Finally, pour in the olive oil as the food processor runs. When all the oil is mixed in, taste it and add salt and pepper as needed. This hummus is perfect to have with everything from boiled eggs to cold meats, bread or even just raw onions and avocado.