Dinner with a few friends is the best. A full blown party is too much work – the hosts never can really relax and enjoy it. But up to about twelve people is just great. You want to do something a bit special for guests, so you make more of an effort.

Yesterday for dinner we had one family come over, two kids from another family over on their own for the first time, and then our neighbours added on after everyone else had eaten. The neighbours pushed it a little over the edge but not too much. I decided to go for kebabs big time and went out shopping for meat. The boneless turkey breast looked good and was priced right. So was ground turkey and then a really nice piece of chateaubriand.

Chateaubriand skewers with paprika and red wine

I cut the meat up into pieces about 2/3 of an inch square. I made a marinade out of red wine, olive oil, salt, pepper, a tiny amount of cayenne, herbs de provence, smoked paprika and a little pomegranate molasses. Let the meat sit in it for a couple of hours, then alternated the meat on skewers with pieces of onion and grilled on high, direct heat and turned until richly browned all over.

Cardamom Yoghurt Turkey kebabs

Cut the turkey up into thinnish pieces about an inch square. Make a marinade out of lemon juice, olive oil, yoghurt, garam masala, cayenne pepper, freshly ground cardamom, some oregano, salt and pepper. Marinate the turkey for a couple of hours. Put on skewers alternating with pieces of onion, but don’t pack the pieces tight – leave a quarter of an inch between them. Put them on the grill on high, direct heat and push them sideways so that the pieces of turkey lie down flatter on the grill like overlapping fish scales. Grill until done – about six minutes each side.

Grilled vegetables with solomon’s dressing

Pomegranates – Song of Solomon – that’s the connection. Cut up into large bite sized pieces lots of grilling vegetables. Squash, zucchini, onion, eggplant, peppers. Toss with olive oil and salt. Grill on the grill until browned and cooked through (just). Then toss again with a dressing made of lemon juice, pepper and pomegranate molasses.

Scallion Kebabs

Most people wouldn’t think these were kebabs – they look more like very tiny and thin hamburgers – and they aren’t made on sticks. Tough – kebabs they are and kebabs they ever shall be. Get a couple of pounds of ground turkey and put it in a large bowl. Finely slice the green parts of a bunch (or even two) of scallions. Put them in the bowl as well. Add about three tablespoons of ground cumin, one and a half tablespoons of ground pepper, one and a half tablespoons of salt, two tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons of lemon juice. Thoroughly mix together and let rest for a couple of hours in the refrigerator. Take out to the grill and make sure the grill is hot and well oiled. Then take lumps of the meat mixture about one and a half tablespoons in size and firmly flatten them into disks between your hands until they are disks between two and three inches across. Put them on the grill – as many as will fit – and grill until there are brown marks on the down side. Turn and repeat. Serve with all kinds of things. These worked out especially well the next day reheated in pita bread with rice, tomato, cucumber and olives.

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