What to cook, now the hot weather has finally arrived? I like a salad along with the next woman, but I need carbs as well. I find that I get a lot of inspiration from the food cultures of hot countries in this weather, and the possibilities are endless. To go with some simple baked salmon with a tangy fresh guacamole sauce, I thought I'd cross cultures from the Gulf of Mexico to the Caribbean. The national dish of Jamaica, Rice and Peas, fitted the bill as a savoury, soulful accompaniment, nice served just warm, and the leftovers will happily freeze until a day when appetites are larger. For a very generous pot for two with leftovers, saute a chopped onion in a tablespoon of sunflower or rapeseed oil until soft and translucent, then stir in 2 bay leaves, a quarter of a teaspoon each of ground cumin, ground coriander and allspice, and crumble in a small dried chilli. Stir into the onions, and cook gently for a minute or so. Now measure Basmati rice to 5floz in a measuring jug and rinse. Stir into the spicy onions. Tip in a 160ml tin of coconut milk, then add 200mls of veg stock (Marigold is fine) - sorry for mixing my Imperial and Metric. Put a sprig or two of fresh thyme in, then drain and rinse a 400g tin of kidney beans and stir in. Bring to a simmer, turn the heat down really low, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or so until all the liquid is absorbed. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Put a couple of sheets of kitchen paper over the pot and replace the lid and let the rice sit like this for up to half-an-hour. Then serve with jerked chicken, a coconut and fruit Caribbean chicken curry or on its own for a protein-packed vegan supper. As I say, the leftovers freeze well if cooled and frozen quickly, and reheated until piping hot in a microwave.