I was still able to enjoy my first of many mezede's through out the area. This was sitting on the sea front in Famagusta, watching the sun go down, little was I to realise that soon that wonderful seaside town with its restaurants and hotels would become a ghost town.
I was later to eat mezedes in Lebanon, Turkey, Greece and then once again in the 1980s in Cyprus (the first of many holidays with my family), alas not in Famagusta but in Paphos (prior to it becoming the horrid tourist trap of today).
Mezedes are at there simplest a few olives, almonds, pieces of sausage or dried pork filet, at the other range they consist of what I have cooked and more.
I had been planning to cook some Heidschnucke for a long time, but getting hold of it is not easy, within NRW I have only found one flock, luckily enough it is not too far away (40km) and even better they feed on the Senne ranges part of the large expanse of sand dunes and shrub land left after the last ice age. I had to pop over to the ranges so thought I would visit The Hof and see if I could order a nice piece of Heidschnucken braten.
I was lucky two of the shepherdesses where there and I had a chat with them, alas they would not be slaughtering the following week as it was a short week having a public holiday in it and as it was the Thursday most people had the Friday off as a bridging day. I asked if she had any at the moment, she said that she had a whole carcasse that had been hung, but alas that was already spoken for! Miserable face said it all, but, she said that she did have about 10kg of already prepared leg chops, wow!!! that was exactly what I was going to do with it, perfect, so that was it bought 2kg of the best.
The grey horned heidschnucke is a very old race of sheep and could well have been bred from the earliest domesticated races after domestication of the mufflon. These races were at one time very prevalent through out Europe, but now only survive in very few pockets in places like Brittany (the Ouessant), Scotland (the Soaysheep), Sweden (the Gotlandfår) and a few other races.
So it was my Birthday long weekend (it was a public holiday on the Thursday and Friday was a bridging day, thus making it a 4 day weekend)
I (we had decided that I would celibrate mybirthday "in" that is from Saturday night until Sunday. So our cookery club friends duly invited. The next thing was the menu, I had already decided on Kleftiko, so why not a Meze to surround it. While at it I thought about a soup for a starter, why not a Avgolemono, I had made a one a few weeks earlier based on an Asparagus stock base, but this time it would be the true Cypriot one. The rest of the meal would consist of the wonderful food that I had tasted back in the 70s and 80s on the island of Aphrodite. The only thing that was not from, but could well have been a Cypriot recipe was the dessert.
So the Menu was as follows
Some where but no photos
Kritharaki and green beans in a tomato and black olive sauce
Homemade lemon honey Joghurt ice cream on a strawberry coulie with a strawberry/clotted cream filled brandy snap, strawberries and a hazelnut crocant topping. (Linda's concoction)
This time I made this without the aid of asparagus water, so is more authentic, or is it?
Ingredients1 ½ kg of chicken carcasses (Hühnerklein) or a old boiler (Suppenhuhn)
Pick over the carcasses, adding the chicken pieces back into the stock (I got a good cupful)
Method of making the soup.
Serve hot with home made pita bread or a crusty loaf.
Heidschnucke Kleftiko (αρνάκι κλέφτικο)
Ingredients2kg of Heidschnucke (or goat,either use leg steaks or diced shoulder)
6 Cypriot potatoes cut into pieces
2 onions quartered
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp marigold stock powder
1 pinch of pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
Dice the shallots, and garlic, mix together with the oregano, marigold, pepper and olive oil, pour over the meat mix well and cover allow to marinate for a couple of days
(at this point I vacuum packed and froze).
Remove the meat from the marinade, place in the centre of a piece of grease proof paper large enough to make a parcel along with the spuds and onions.
Wrap and tie up, wrap this in aluminium foil and place in a watered Romatopf. Place on a cold oven rack in the oven (150°C) and allow to slow cook for 5 hours. (you can also cook in a slow cooker, switch on low and forget about it until ready to serve)
|the Romatopf, a Blautopf, a Tontopf and a glass of wine|
Souvlaki Arnisio (σουβλάκι αρνίσιο)
Ingredients18 small wooden skewers (or as in this case 6 special souvlaki metal ones complete with frame)
1kg of lamb filets
Lemon zest from a lemon
Lemon juice from the lemon
Oregano leaves picked from about 10 stalks (fresh)
About 15 leaves of mint (fresh)
1/2 tsp Thyme leaves (fresh)
Salt and Pepper
Mix the olive oil and lemon juice together, chop the herbs and grind in a pestle and mortar, add to the olive oil/lemon juice along with the lemon zest in a mortar and bash it with the pestle until it turns into a homogenious mass. Add salt and pepper to taste (you can leave it out and serve a mixture of salt, pepper and ground dried Oregano for people to add their own)
Remove the silver skin from lamb filets, cut into bite size pieces put into a bowl and pour the marinade over them. Cover and leave to marinate for 24-36 hours in the refrigerator, turning a couple of times so that all get a good bath.
On the morning of the the Meze put the wooden skewers in water and allow to soak. (don't need to do the metal ones LoL
Ready to grill? Thread onto the skewers (about 5-6 pieces per skewer, more on the metal ones)
Place in the special rack (not 100% needed but helps) and BBQ over hot grey charcoal, keep turning they should be crisp on the outside and juicy inside.
Sheftalia or Keftedes
Ingredients500g minced pork (or Mett)
1kg minced lamb (Turkish butcher)
Bunch of parsley
3 shallots (reasonable sized ones)
1 clove of garlic
Juice of a lemon
1 desert spoon of ground oregano and salt (grind them together in a pestel and mortar)
Pepper to taste
MethodVery finely dice the shallot, garlic, pluck the leaves from the stalks and chop them very fine (the leaves not the stalks, they go into the chicken stock for the Suppa Avegolemono)
Add all to the minces and mix well I find a well washed hand the best mixer for this. Add the lemon juice, the oregano/salt and a few turns of pepper, mix well, taste, this is important as now you can adjust the seasoning. Cut the cawl into 10cm x 10cm squares, place an egg sized piece of the mixture in the middle of the cawl and carefully wrap it around, forming it into an oval. When you have done them all spear them two to a pre-watered wooden skewer (you can get flat sword skewers specially for the Greek and Turkish kebabs).
BBQ over hot coals but not too close or they will be burnt on the outside and still raw on the inside. Keep turning them so that they are crisp and brown outside and juicy inside.
Taramasalata200g of Cods roes (I used tinned)
handful of fresh bread crumbs
1 small onion (I used a shallot)
Juice of 1 lemon
100ml of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste (watch out the roe is salty)
Put the roe in a mortar, drizzle with a little olive oil and give it a good bashing.
Moisten the bread crumbs and squeeze out most of the moisture, put all into a mixer and blend adding the shallot and lemon juice.
Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the machine while on full speed, stop the machine and adjust seasoning with the salt, pepper and more lemon juice if required.
Put into dished and decorate with black olives.
Grilled spatchcocked Quails
6 plucked and drawn quails
2 tablespoons of Olive oil
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
Grinding of salt and pepper.
12 wooden skewers soaked in water
Serve alongside the other BBQ,d meat, Greek salad, grilled vegetables etc.
30g of bakers yeast
600 ml of tepid water
½ teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
6 desert spoons of olive oil.
and place on the now smoking baking tray in the oven, shut the door but keep an eye on them they don’t keep long. When puffed and crispy brown they are ready.
When they are in the oven you can make some more.