Finally … FINALLY … we’re starting to have some real summer weather here in the UK – after 40 days and 40 nights (and then some) of rain, we’re seeing gorgeous sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s just in time for the Olympic opening ceremony!  It’s enough to make one want to call in sick and head to the park with a good book and a picnic!

Since I have a few things I actually have to do today, pulling a sickie just wasn’t an option.  So, I did the next best thing, instead, and took a nice walk through Green Park on the way to the office this morning.  I thought it might be nice to capture for you a little of what London is like when the weather is nice.  I’ve always loved the park culture of renting one of their green stripey chairs and lazing about to catch some sun – so here it is, the calm before the onslaught of office workers who will take an extra-long lunch later today:

So, anyway, what better time to enjoy a nice, summery salad?  This one is actually adapted from Leon‘s Tuk Tuk salad – and, since every travel documentary I’ve seen about Thailand shows scores of mopeds, I decided to upgrade the name as well as the recipe.  Serves 4 comfortably.  And, of course, if you want to keep this totally vegetarian, then leave out the chicken.

Moped Salad

  • Medium bunch salad greens of your choice (I like arugula, but the mister doesn’t, so we compromise on watercress, which works well here)
  • 3-4 chicken breasts, cooked, and cut into cubes (I like to add them still slightly hot, but they’d be just as good cold)
  • 1 package microwave brown basmati (I like Tilda, but use whatever brand you prefer), cooked per directions
  • 2 large carrots, trimmed peeled and grated
  • 1 basket cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, trimmed, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 1 large bunch cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 medium bunch mint, finely chopped
  • 3-4 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish

Moped Salad Dressing

  • 4 Tbsp lime juice
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 red chilli pepper, trimmed, seeded and finely minced

Before making the salad, make your dressing to let the flavors mingle as much as possible and set aside.  In a large bowl, toss the greens with the herbs then add the warm rice (it will really intensify the flavor of the herbs).  Toss with the chicken, carrots, tomato, bell pepper and spring onions, mixing throughly, then top with the dressing and toss well.  Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.