Beat the load-shedding blues with these three hearty dishes

These sweet and savoury meals are sure to bring comfort during the never-ending rollouts

10 June 2021 - 07:19
Hearty pot roast to beat the cold. File image.
Hearty pot roast to beat the cold. File image.
Image: 123RF/Brent Hofacker

Feeling powerless? Instead of electricity many are relying on gas as an alternative power source and the gas hob/cylinder has been the saving grace during load-shedding.

Our food editor shares three stove-top ideas that beat the chill and ensure you don’t feel like you are missing the oven.


The Americans call them pancakes, we know them as crumpets. It’s my go-to recipe when I’m looking for comfort in the darkness of load-shedding.

It’s super easy, uses the kind of ingredients one has on hand, versatile, as they can be both sweet or savoury, and a pile dripping with butter and honey or syrup is irresistible and bound to cheer the mood.

Makes: 10-12 depending on the size


120g (1 cup) cake wheat flour

5ml (1 tsp) baking powder

2.5ml (1/2 tsp) salt

30ml (2 tbsp) caster sugar (for the savoury version omit the sugar)

150ml milk

1 large egg

30ml (2 tbsp) melted butter or use vegetable oil plus extra for frying


  1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the milk and egg, then whisk in the melted butter.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over the heat. Pour a little extra vegetable oil in a jug and when the pan is hot pour in a little oil into the pan, swirl around and pour off excess back into the jug.
  4. Ladle or spoon the mixture into the pan, cooking a couple, depending on the size of the pan, at the same time.
  5. When the top of the crumpet begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook till golden brown.
  6. Pile into a clean dish cloth and cover and continue making until all the mixture is used.
  7. For a sweet version serve with butter, honey or syrup and cream. They make an excellent base for a burger patty or served with cheese, bacon,  savoury mince or a creamy chicken sauce.


Such an old-fashioned method that has relevance today. My grandmother made a mean pot roast using a good piece of topside with a ‘nice piece of fat’ on the top to give it great juiciness.

Load it with veg — cooked together in a pot gives one a hearty meal to beat the cold. If you are lucky enough to have a slow cooker, brown the meat on the stove, add the veg and place into the slow cooker.

Serves: 6-8


1 large piece of topside — 11/2-2kg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

30ml (2 tbsp) flour

7.5ml (1 ½ tsp) dried mixed herbs


1 large onion, chopped

1-2 stalks of celery, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 firm red tomatoes, grated

1 litre beef stock, plus extra as needed

2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed


  1. Coat the meat all over in a mixture of salt and pepper, flour and dried herbs.
  2. In a large pot with a lid preheat a splash of oil and brown the meat well on all sides then set the meat aside.
  3. If needed add extra splash of oil to the pot and fry the onion, celery and carrots till the onion is softened.
  4. Return the meat to the pot, add the tomatoes and the stock. Cover with a lid and cook over a gentle simmer for 2 hours adding extra stock as needed.
  5. About 30 minutes before the end of cooking add the potato cubes and cook till tender.
  6. Serve the meat sliced with veggies on the side.


The beauty of this French classic is that it’s quick to make and wholesome and can easily be a vegetarian/vegan option by replacing the sausages with a plant based version.

Delicious and heartwarming sausage cassoulet. File photo.
Delicious and heartwarming sausage cassoulet. File photo.
Image: 123RF/elvinphoto

Serves: 6


15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil

6 pork, beef or plant-based sausages

2 large carrots, chopped

2 sticks of celery, chopped

1 large onion, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

150ml red wine (or use extra stock)

2 x 400g cannellini beans — or other beans of choice or chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

500ml chicken, beef or vegetable stock

15ml (1 tbsp) tomato paste

Sprigs of fresh thyme or dried thyme

1 bay leaf

5ml (1 tsp) smoked paprika

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oil in a large frying pan with a lid and fry the sausages of choice until browned. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until softened, stirring regularly.
  3. Increase the heat pour in the red wine if using and allow to bubble for a few minutes.
  4. Add the drained beans, tomatoes with juice, stock herbs, bay leaf and smoked paprika. Bring to the boil, cover with the lid and reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the sausages and cook for a further 5-10 minutes with the lid on to heat through.
  6. Season and serve.

Delicious crumpets with blueberry sauce.
Delicious crumpets with blueberry sauce.
Image: Hilary Biller