Neighbour! The garden gate creaked and I knew immediately that the arrival of Leyla from next door was imminent. It was the first day of bayram and we were back in our village. The tradition is to visit family and friends after the testing time of the long fast. Children will look spick and span in their brand new clothes. The atmosphere is all rather Christmas-like actually. Leyla came with her university-educated daughter Emine bearing small dishes of village delicacies made in her outdoor oven: pişi, basically a deep-fried pastry, and baklava, made with olive oil and not butter as in the cities. A true bayram visit is not long: just enough to share a glass of tea and to offer something sweet to eat.
Barbecue to go:The weather was delightful, so the idea of a barbecue that evening was tempting. We decided to keep it simple : some lovely little pirzola/lamb chops with fresh vegetable kebabs, and a salad with more of that wonderful bread.
1. First we marinated the baby lamb chops: olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, fresh thyme. We covered them with clingfilm and put them in the fridge.
2. We looked to see what vegetables we had. The markets didn’t happen because it was holiday time so we were limited to what we could find in the one and only grocer’s: a few eggplants, tomatoes, red onions, green and red peppers (the big ones, not the hot ones). We washed, cut and sliced a selection and threaded them on some metal skewers. Colour is always important to me so I was careful to balance the reds and purples, not forgetting to peel the eggplants in strips rather than leaving the peel whole. We also added bay leaves and sprigs of rosemary from the garden in between the slices. We treated the kebabs to a drizzle of olive oil too, seasoned them and put to one side.
Make sure you have one last BBQ before the colder weather sets in!