Experience the joys of summer with the delightful smells of barbecue coals and fresh herbs. Karen shares a recipe for delectable tender pork skewers that are perfect for the barbecue and have a subtle taste of lavender with chillies and herbs.
The sun has managed to show its face for several days now and with much excitement we planned a barbecue for an “al fresco” evening supper. The gas barbecue is undoubtedly handy for a large crowd and for ease of lighting too, but, it doesn’t have the same “soul” as a real charcoal fire with all its lighting rituals and skills – plus, there is something very elemental about cooking over coals, and the taste is unsurpassed. I love barbecues, as I can indulge in some of my favourite foods, such as acres of bread, bowls of assorted salads as well as an army of “cheeky” condiments.
As well as making a lavender marinade for my pork skewers, the pork had a second burst of lavender as we used the spring lavender “pruning clippings” to enhance the flavour of the skewers as they cooked. These skewers are so easy to make, and they can be prepared the night before, sitting in their “kicked up” chilli and lavender marinade in the fridge, and then just threaded onto the skewers just before barbecuing. If the British weather is typically inclement, then these will also cook quite happily in a cast iron ridged griddle pan, or under the grill.
If you are not a lover of fragrance and heat in your cooking, then by all means just omit the lavender and chilli; but, it really is a fabulous combination of flavours and good British pork has enough character and taste to hold up to these strong tastes, and the overnight marinade makes the pork juicy and succulent, without drying out when cooked over coals. I sometimes offer a basket of fluffy, hot pitta breads to accompany these pork skewers, so a “do-it-yourself” kebab can be assembled at the table, something the children will love to do too.
I hope that the promise of summer will continue to shine down on all of us in the UK, but it not, then why not take the barbecue into the kitchen, in a manner of speaking, and get acquainted with your grill and griddle pans; although, some gas barbecues can be safely operated on a large, well-vented room such as garage, and an “indoor barbecue” can still be fun, as I remember my dad cooking bangers over a small barbecue for my 13th birthday, and it was one of the best birthdays I have had! I hope you will enjoy my summer barbecue recipe if you try it – and, if you are not keen on pork, then chicken works very well in this recipe too.
Lavender & Chilli Infused Pork Skewers
Delectable tender pork skewers that are perfect for the barbecue and have a subtle taste of lavender with chillies and herbs. If there are any chilli haters, then of course omit the fiery addition.
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lavender honey
1 teaspoon of lavender flowers
1 teaspoon finely chopped sage leaves (optional)
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
½ teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
600g pork fillets, or lean pork loin chops – cut into bit size chunks
1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and put it and the pork pieces into a plastic container with a lid. Allow to marinate for 2 to 3 hours at least, or overnight in the fridge.
2. Light the barbeque and allow the flames to die down – cooking can commence when the embers are glowing red and there are no flames or smoke left.
3. Whilst the barbecue is being lit, thread the pork pieces onto the soaked bamboo skewers – allow 2 skewers per person and don’t overcrowd the skewers with meat.
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