Today’s recipe: Joerg’s Cypriot grilled meat / Pork Kebab
When people are hard at work, they need to be well fed so we have been pulling out all the stops this past week to keep our work force in good spirits. And we all love braaing (barbecuing) so yesterday we got out the grill we brought back from Cyprus last year and made a special Pork Kebab and drank German wheat beer (Hefeweizen).
Joerg’s parents, Karl and Leni, and brother, Lars, are currently here on “travance” – this is a word that Joerg has developed and it’s a mix of “travail” (work) and “vacance” (holiday/vacation), so basically a working holiday. Lars, says I should show you a few scenes around the farm as it is sooo lovely here, so that’s why you have this picture of a thunderstorm across from us. And when you have slave labour working for you, one should at least try to do a little to please them so that they carry on working hard!
What makes this grill so special is that it has a mechanism to turn the meat and skewers with holding frames at different levels to slot in to (you can see this clearly in the first photo). While in Cyprus, we saw this type of grill used for big chunks of lamb, slowly turning and roasting for hours over a bed of coals. The smell was incredible and it looked stunning. We didn’t get round to eating any as we were always so full from the meals in our hotel, but we will!
On one of our trips to Cyprus (did I mention that I LOVE Cyprus?!?) we had a superb lunch in the Troodos mountains. The meat stew was cooked in a potpie / Dutch oven type dish which had been left to cook for hours in an outside oven that had been “cemented” (they used clay not cement) closed. I hope to visit there again in the not too distant future and take more detailed photos and recipes for you. It’s like their version of the Sunday roast lunch – all the restaurants are filled on Sundays with families and people in their Sunday best (now I know where the saying really comes from!) and one sits eating and drinking for hours. A very sensible way to spend a Sunday of you ask me!
The previous time we visited Cyprus, we stayed in a hotel that overlooked the domicile of some of the island’s working girls. Everyday at around 5pm they showered and got ready to be picked up for work at 7pm. Joerg made sure we were back at the hotel by 5pm sharp as once showered they would parade around buck naked. Sunshine, drink in hand and free porn, Joerg was in seventh heaven. After 3 days, I had us moved to another room – not out of jealousy, but because I felt sorry for the clearly starving anorexic creatures and didn’t want to have to watch them suffer. And the new room had a sea view, so stop moaning, Joerg.
Last year we had to change rooms and floors, but for completely different reasons. Again I used the “we need a sea view” routine (shame, he falls for it every time, poor devil), but the real reason was more pressing. The German male triathlon team was one floor up so we had to move so that I could see more of them. See, I knew you’d understand. I mean you can’t blame a girl, 16 men in their prime!
Some days they cycled, some days they swam, some days they ran. But all days they wore their tight little pants on their tight little butts. After training I would go up and down in the lift for hours making sure I caught each and every hot sweaty one of them. Joerg kept getting them mixed up but I could tell who they were 200m away, in their wetsuits, just by looking at their rear ends. One of them spent a lot of time eyeing me out at dinner – funny how we always seemed to find a table right next to theirs. I’m not sure if it was my exceedingly good looks that kept his attention all week, or my exceedingly large portions…..
But back to our grill event! And don't forget to go to the very end to see the final product.........
Cypriot grilled meat / Pork Kebab
The Meat: We love to grill like this as you can slice off the outside as it cooks and then put it back on and let it keep cooking till you feel like another bite. I recommend you use an electric slicer as it’s easier to slice off thin pieces without destabilizing the whole skewer. Normally, we also use a prong on either end to keep the meat tightly together so that it can rotate nicely. Wooden skewers work fine too though.
The Spice Mix: this makes a lot more than you will need. I keep it in a jar and use to spice other grilled meat or as a general spice in other dishes that need perking up.
6 boneless pork chops or de-bone yourself
2 red peppers, cut into 12 pieces
2 onions, cut into 12 rings
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp parsley
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
Vinegar (about a tbsp)
4-8 pita breads
Sliced onion, optional
Ajvar (see NOTE) or ketchup
1. Mix about 2 tbsp of the spice mix with the vinegar to form a runny paste and thoroughly coat the meat with the spice mix. Put on the skewer alternating with the peppers and onion. Pack them tightly together using either wooden skewers or clamps.
2. Get your coals ready and place your skewer over the coals at the same height you would normally grill. You can lower or higher it depending on the heat of the coals Use a motorized skewer turner to keep the kebab turning and slice off bits as they become ready. You can also leave it intact and slice it all in one go once it is cooked – just be sure to check that it is no longer pink in the middle.
3. Warm the pita breads and serve with the sliced meat and veggies and some fresh onions and Ajvar. It’s deeelicious, so do enjoy!!
NOTE: (from Wikipedia) Ajvar is a relish made principally from red bell peppers (capsicums), aubergines (eggplant), garlic and chilli peppers. It is very popular in the Balkans (we’ve enjoyed it in Croatia and Slovenia). It can be sweet, piquant or hot.