Summer wouldn’t be summer without heat waves, and road trips. Many a summer during university was spent at beach missions, which were a brilliant way to spend a week or so of January, but the drive there was excruciating. I made many good, lasting friendships along the way, one friend in particular whose car was apparently too “old” for the trip in 42 degrees (107 degrees F)… turns out mine was older, and had no air conditioning. We chatted the whole way over, and can now laugh about that sweat-soaked drive.
There have been no road trips this summer (driving in the heat is not something we want to do with a toddler), but the first of the heat waves has arrived, right on cue. New Year has barely begun, and we are already panting with the heat. Of course, we have our survival strategies. Aside from languishing beneath the air conditioner, we have also braved the beach early in the morning to beat the scorching heat. And apart from a regular diet of water and icy poles, we are restricting ourselves to salad, salad and more salad.
There aren’t a huge number of go-to salads on our menu rotation; but my mother made this one regularly while we were growing up and it’s long been a favourite of mine. More recently introduced to my own little family, it’s now become a firm favourite with them as well. Served alongside sausages, steak and a green salad, the textures of chewy brown rice, juicy, ripe tomatoes and crunchy fresh celery add a pleasing effect to a cool, summery feast. Road trip or no road trip, Mum’s rice salad is a tasty addition to your summer.
Mum’s Brown Rice Salad
The chewy texture of brown rice contrasts with the juiciness of ripe tomatoes and the crunch of fresh celery. The perfect accompaniment to barbeques this summer!
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 tomatoes, diced
1 green pepper (capsicum), diced
1 or 2 spring (green) onions, thinly sliced
2 sticks celery, chopped small
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt & pepper
To cook the rice, bring a large pot of water to the boil, and add 1 2/3 cups raw brown rice. Boil for 30-35 minutes, and then drain completely in a colander. Return to pot, cover and steam for 10 minutes. Remove lid and fluff up with a fork. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, chop tomatoes and green pepper; slice onions and celery finely. Crush garlic and whisk with oil, vinegar, garlic and seasoning in a small bowl. Add to rice and vegetables in a large bowl and toss lightly to combine.
Note. I have often made this with white rice, and it works just as well. You can add corn kernels as well, for extra flavour and colour.