Let’s not beat around the bush – load shedding isn’t great at all, and it’s been something South Africans have endured for more than 13 years. We’ve seen jokes along the lines of “load shedding is getting ready to start high school” and although they’re pretty funny, they’re also quite close to home.
One area of life which is directly and adversely influenced by load shedding is cooking & entertaining. The meal ideas that we’ve put together here can be executed quickly and in an emergency, even if load shedding happens to take you by complete surprise.
Meals & snacks you can make during load shedding
- Braai braai braai
- Simple cheeseboard for two (or one)
- Fennel, coppa & goats cheese green winter salad
- Homemade hummus
- Load shedding snacks
- Five bonus load shedding hacks
Braai, braai, braai
If you have a braai and the wherewithal to make a fire, this rib-eye dinner is a decadent, delicious meal that’s really easy to produce and will easily feed a handful of guests. If you have saintly patience or a few hours to kill on other things, a portion is also a super load-shedding option. What goes into a traditional potjie might be a hotly-contested topic, but one fact that cannot be debated is that we don’t need electricity to make and sustain a fire. The trusty braai opens up a world of possibilities for eaters of all preferences.
Cheeseboard for two
Cheeseboards with charcuterie are popular and increasingly ubiquitous for good reason, especially with people dining out in the day or entertaining guests at home. All you really need is some premium quality charcuterie, fresh bread, your favourite cheese(s), olives, pickles and whatever takes your fancy, really. Just make sure you share your spread with good company.
Our fennel & coppa green salad is a great twist on the usual hearty/rich winter fare, but it’s still a substantial meal that’s peppered with freshness and light. Above all, it’s really easy to put together. Another option is to have some pre-roasted pecans and some roasted butternut for a starchier, more filling vegetarian salad option.
Hummus holds universal appeal and it’s also ridiculously easy to make, as well as incredibly versatile and delicious. Our recipe. We insist on using high-quality olive oil and duqqah in our hummus recipe to elevate it from a 7.5 to a 10 outta 10. All of this is contingent upon you having a battery-operated blender, of course. Either that or you can revert to the old school tried and trusted method of elbow grease and a pestle & mortar. If you process only one message from this article, it’s the fact that there’s absolutely no need to buy hummus at a store! Plus, you can eat it with virtually anything.
Load shedding snack ideas
If you don’t feel like making a proper meal during load shedding, then you don’t feel like it and that’s okay, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with snacking for dinner. If you’re the snacky type, a little bit of pre-planning around your load shedding schedule will ensure that there are no tears and grumpiness when the lights go out.
Habitually fill the food cupboards with your favourite snack items that are exciting and substantial enough to substitute as main meals. If you have a gas hob then nuts can be toasted, popcorn can be popped and eggs can be fried, but if you don’t, there’s no reason to fret. Having a range of crackers, bread & antipasti on hand will also spare your blushes if an unexpected guest turns up. Long story short – a little bit of smart grocery shopping goes a long way.
Would it be the end of the world to have a gourmet sandwich for dinner? Probably not. Just stock up on charcuterie, cheese, delicious jarred antipasti and sourdough bread and you’ll be able to create a production line of great sandwiches.
Five quick load-shedding hacks
To sign off, we’ve found five hacks that might make your life a lot easier while Eskom tries to make it a living hell.
- Invest in a portable gas cooker if you are able to do so.
- Keep versatile vegetables in the fridge (carrots, cauliflower, baby marrow & peppers) because they’re great in salads and stir fries (if you’re cooking with gas).
- Keep a healthy supply of your favourite tinned or jarred goods.
- Cured meats & sausages freeze well and add depth of flavour to any dish so make those a staple on your grocery lists.
- Indulge in fresh or smoked trout to add a bit of pizzazz to your repertoire.
What’s evident from this blog is that although load-shedding is far from ideal, it doesn’t need to handicap us in terms of what we put on the table. What are your favourite load shedding snacks?