Sunday, January 19, 2014

How to survive a heatwave

I know I've whinged rather a lot about the lack of summer weather we've had here in Melbourne. In future, I must remember that old saying "Be careful what you wish for because your wish might come true." Summer arrived last week with a vengeance and we endured temperatures in the mid-forties all week. No, I'm exaggerating - it was only 39º on Monday.

Melbourne, roasting in the intense afternoon heat.

With temperatures in our area hitting 46º, I'm thankful that the relative humidity ranged between 10 and 16%. Dry, baking heat beats revolting muggy wetness any day. We ran our evaporative cooling every afternoon and left it on low overnight and the house stayed comfortably cool.

My social media feeds were full of people complaining about getting no sleep, but I was happily snoozing every night. Under the doona.  Yes, I am quite smug about it.  :)


On Friday, we had our six-monthly family appointment with our city-based dentist. Lucky for us, the trains on our line didn't go into meltdown, so we made it in and out without any dramas.

Bike Boy had an interesting experience on the tram though. The aircon broke down when he was halfway between his office building and the dentist so the driver stopped the tram and announced that everybody had to get off. Apparently you can't transport passengers in a tram without air conditioning on a 40º+ day. It's OK to push them all out into said 40º+ heat though and make them wait endlessly for another tram... or walk. Insanity.

Baking heat. I thought my eyeballs would explode and my hair start to smoke...

After our appointment and some lunch, The Baby and I hung around at the casino for a bit, taking advantage of air conditioning and (overpriced) cold drinks. Eventually we had to make our way back to the station to head home. So we foolishly bravely decided to head back to Southern Cross railway station via the Seafarer's Bridge over the Yarra. This takes you back to the Flinders/Spencer Streets intersection via the west and north sides of the World Trade Centre. I don't recommend this route in 45º heat and blazing sun because, as we discovered, there is NO SHADE.

When we finally made it to the station, we headed into Woolworths on the concourse to buy a couple of bottles of water. In a stroke of brilliance, we detoured into the bottle shop and the walk-in beer fridge, where we loitered for rather a long while. Ahhh...


Dinners have of necessity been quick affairs. Who wants to stand over a hot stove in this kind of weather? Even the barbeque was an unattractive prospect, because it meant going outside into the furnace. Jamie Oliver came to the rescue more than once - I broke out 30 Minute Meals and whipped up some tasty feasts.

This green curry with chicken and kimchee slaw was a big hit. Rice in bowls, topped with green beans in curry sauce, a piece of crisp-skinned chicken and a tasty slaw, complemented with some crunchy and refreshing lettuce, bean shoots and fresh coriander leaves. A squeeze of lime and some toasted sesame seeds were the finishing touches.

I rarely follow one of Jamie's recipes to the letter. Normally I use ingredients we have on hand, so if I'm missing something, I just substitute. In this case I used rice instead of noodles and since I had no radishes, I added some finely sliced red capsicum to the slaw, more for colour than anything else. I also left the onion out of the slaw, as raw onion is one of my problem foods. Instead, I served it separately in a small bowl for the rest of the family to add as they pleased.


A heatwave calls for frozen desserts. Duh, of course. This is my current favourite thing:

I love ice cream, but it isn't very kind to me. I've experimented with gelato a couple of times and had less of a reaction than with ice cream, but sorbet is guaranteed to be problem-free for me. Unless of course it's made from peaches or cherries or some other fruit that I can't eat.

Mango sorbet and raspberry sorbet are my current faves. I may just eat them daily until summer is over.


For those of you who also suffered through last week's horrendous conditions, how did you survive the heat? Share your tips for keeping cool - I'm sure there's plenty more hot weather in store for us, so they'll come in handy.



Charlotte Orr said...

Evaporative cooling is great, isn't it! I took TJ out for walks early in the morning, then lay on the couch with the blinds closed, cooling on, cold water in fridge and the tennis on the TV. Rob was away so I just reheated some meals out of the freezer instead of having to deal with cooking.

Pip said...

Wow, 46 degrees, that is very warm! I am thinking of the people in Oz and the bushfire risks. I love summer and heat, and miss the Perth summers admittably though. I never used to use aircon either, (weird I know) little fact about me is I hate paying extra for electricity so I rarely use heaters and never aircon. I do have a fire but am not often home for great lengths of time so only light it sometimes if I am. It's supposed to be mid summer but I've lately been going to bed with socks on and wearing a puffa jacket inside and needing to do pushups etc occasionally to get warm. Unbeliveable with how hot Oz has been but how cool it's been here of late!

Anonymous said...

I'm actually really lucky so when we had our high temperatures a few weeks ago I wasn't too affected. Living on the esplanade means I get a nice breeze most of the time. Plus I've got aircon at home. When I worked it was different - battling with public transport and walking etc in between, but now I drive to my airconditioned workplace when I have to go, so I really can't complain!

Debstar said...

Oddly enough it hasn't been all that humid here on the GC and the temperatures have been really quite pleasant. Having said that I will admit I'm spending quite a bit of time in the pool the past few weeks.

Sara said...

I thought your food pics were from a restaurant! Looks fab. The weather over here is just nuts right now. I've got a large fan AND a large heater in my small office and have needed to use both more than once in the last week.... Too hot!~ Naaah, FREEZING. Ooops, WAY too hot...

Kek said...

So the consensus is: lie comatose under the air conditioning or get a pool. Or maybe a friend with a pool. Can't argue with that.:)

Sara, if it's any consolation, we've had the same nutty weather. Cold one day, hot the next. People had heaters on in December, which is crazy. Not me, I'm too stingy - I just wrap myself in a blanket.

Unknown said...

I was one of those people wishing for better weather here in Melbourne and then when I got it I was wishing it hadn't come!

Love all of your wonderful photos, especially the food ones, yum!

Post a comment

Join the conversation...leave a comment.