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Fresh and Juicy

I love a heatwave. I mean, a heatwave in Britain where temperatures max out at 32 degrees C. I think I would struggle during a 40 odd degree heatwave in Spain if I wasn't near a body of water that I could fling myself into. But I do so enjoy being outside in the heat.

From the moment I moved away from Abu Dhabi, I lamented not being in hot temperatures all year round. I know this can be hell for some people but I am not one of them. I love seeing the changing seasons here in England, but honestly, it wouldn't disappoint me if the seasons were a month each and then the summer was 9 months long.

When I would go to Abu Dhabi for visits (Christmas, Easter and the excruciatingly hot summer), the first thing we would do is get my membership set up at The Club - yes, that's it's name. It's a social club built on land gifted to the British Embassy by the first ruler of the U.A.E. We first joined when I was 8 years old and my parents have kept their membership even now. The great thing is that even though there was no point keeping my annual membership going, I could sign up for temporary membership for the length of my visit.

So as soon as I wake up in the morning, I throw on my swimsuit and summer clothes on top. Throw some sun block in my beach bag along with my sarong, purse and "mum's" car key (even though I drove it more than her) and get in the car and drive the 5 minutes it took me to get to The Club. I'd set myself up with a sun lounger by the pool, head to the bar, order some breakfast and a lemon iced tea and sit and eat at one of the bar tables alongside the pool. Then I'd get another lemon iced tea and go back to my sun lounger, apply an appropriate layer of sun block and bake. And when I got too hot, that's what the pool is for.

One thing The Club poolside became known for was it's salad bar. I remember one Christmas holiday, my close group of gals from uni came out to visit as see where I grew up. Of course we got Club membership and spent many a morning at the pool. We stayed for lunch a couple of times as well and took advantage of the salad bar. It's so simple, I think I've described it before. They have a selection of fresh vegetables, cooked pulses, protein and dressings. So you get creative and have whatever you want but it's just so nice!

Britain in a heatwave generally means BBQ food. Because what else do you want to be doing when it's hot other than standing by a hot open grill. But one of the best things about BBQs are the salads. So on a hot day, I love making a selection of salads or a massive main one and some sides. In Italy, a very popular starter is prosciutto e melone. Essentially, prosciutto wrapped around honeydew melon slices. I really, really fancied a big pile of this for dinner the other night but I knew that wouldn't fly with my hungry husband. So I jujed it up a bit.

Prosciutto e Melone Salad

  • Half a small watermelon (about 500g)

  • 100g akawi cheese (or feta if you can't find it)

  • 5 slices prosciutto (parma ham as labelled in supermarkets)

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 tsp brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp dried mint

In a dry frying pan, fry the prosciutto slices on both sides until crispy. Lay them on a paper towel to cool and drain.

Chop up the watermelon into chunks. It doesn't matter if they're the same size, just don't cut them too small or you lose the wow factor of the salad. Add it to a mixing bowl with the cheese and mix.

Mix together the sugar, lemon juice and oil and add it to the bowl and mix everything so the watermelon is beautifully coated. Pour everything onto a serving plate. Chop the prosciutto into chunks and scatter over the top of the watermelon. Sprinkle over the dried mint and stir.


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