Here’s how to stay cool as a cucumber when the weather heats up

Image: 8 tasty ways to cool down on a sweltering day

It's finally hot – hurrah! But there's no air-conditioning in sight. This is the time for easy dishes and thirst-quenching drinks that don't require much time in the kitchen. That means lots of bright, fresh vegetables and fruit served up in the coolest ways possible. We can't guarantee the sunshine will last, but at least your meals will be sparky.

 

1. Greek salad

If it works for the folks over in Greece in their sweltering summer, it's good enough for us too. This typical Greek dish brings together cool and creamy feta cheese with juicy vine tomatoes and plump olives in a lemony dressing. Pro tip – add some oregano and sliced cucumber. 

 

2. Summer berry ice

It really doesn't get any easier than this. A quick dash into the kitchen, throw some frozen mixed fruits, custard, yogurt and honey into a food processor et voilà​ – a sweet frozen dish that cheffy types would be proud of. Why not swap the custard and yogurt for coconut milk yogurt and go dairy-free?

 

3. Chilled tomato soup

This is what those in the Mediterranean turn to when the temperatures start to rise. Known as gazpacho in Spain, it's a delicious and refreshing blend of tomatoes, cucumber and peppers, combined with a special mix of condiments and olive oil and is perfect mopped up with some crusty bread. All the vegetables are raw, so it's a super-boost of nutrients, too.

 

4. Lime, lemon and ginger refresher

We all crave chilled drinks when the heat hits hard and this citrus and ginger one is for grown-ups is a real zinger. Lemon and lime juice are added to sugar cane syrup and a glug of vodka, then topped with ginger beer, sparking water and lots of ice. For a mocktail, just remove the vodka and add a touch more ginger beer.

 

5. Fresh fruit salad

There's nothing more fresh and simple than a mixed fruit salad. This dish brings together sweet nectarines and grapes, refreshing melon and tangy kiwis, perked up with a squeeze of lemon juice. Make this dish an hour or two before needed and leave in the fridge for an added chill factor.

 

6. Fresh broad bean and mint dip

You may not always fancy a big meal when it's hot, so here's a cool dip for a little summer snack. Take some podded broad beans and blend with spring onion, crème fraiche and mint until it is smooth. Then choose some colourful crunchy vegetables to scoop it up with – we love yellow peppers, cucumbers or radishes with this. 

 

7. Passion fruit, mint and rum cocktails

Another one for grown-ups, this is the taste of the tropics in a glass. Take some time to muddle together the limes, passion fruit, lemongrass and mint and then let it infuse. This lovely mix, topped with a shot of rum, ginger ale and soda water is the ultimate fruity thirst-quencher. Miss out the rum to make it a no-alcohol treat for everyone.