Pig on a carpet ride?

Last night’s dinner was tasty and refreshing – Weber-roasted pork ribs; a salad of orange, fennel, sesame seeds, carrot and beetroot; and some Basmati rice.

The pork had been marinated overnight in a wet paste of berbere spice mix, cumquat-infused vinegar, olive oil and about 1/2 a teaspoon of caster sugar. Then we roasted them for 35-40 minutes, which rendered most of the fat and gave the meat a dark golden brown hue.

I’ve posted our recipe for berbere spice mix previously. Our supply is running low and our stock of dried cayenne chillies is almost exhausted but there might be just enough to make a small batch of berbere to see us through until – fingers crossed – the cayenne chilli bush in our garden has delivered us some red fruit later in the summer.

While the ribs and root vegetables were roasting, it occurred to me that there could be a link between ‘berbere’ and the word ‘berber’, as in one of the indigenous peoples of northern Africa from whom we derived the name of a style of carpet. A brief search of Wikipedia suggested … probably not. Which was not so surprising. Berbere is a spice mix from the north-east of Africa, especially Ethiopia; the lands inhabited by the Berbers had their eastern extremity in the west of Egypt.

But I digress.

To make the salad, the carrot and beetroot were peeled, chopped into small chunks, boiled for 3 and 5 minutes, respectively, and then roasted in some olive oil and salt. Maggie peeled an orange with a knife, removed all the pith and the innermost edges of each segment of the orange flesh and then cut the segments in half, crossways. She added some shaved fennel, the roasted vegetables, a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of homemade vinaigrette dressing.

Ribs berbere 1   Ribs berbere 2

Ribs berbere 3

I haven’t posted our recipe for the vinaigrette dressing before. It’s not so amazing but I refer to it quite often, so here it is:


60ml olive oil (or vegetable oil if you prefer a lighter flavour)
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp (20ml) red wine vinegar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp caster sugar
lemon juice and caster sugar, as necessary (see step 2, below)


  1. Combine all ingredients, except the parsley, in a small jar, put the lid on and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. (Alternatively, whisk the ingredients in a small bowl with a fork or similar.)
  2. Check the taste; add a little fresh lemon juice if it is too oily for your palate; add a little sugar if it is too astringent.
  3. Spoon over leaf-based salads before tossing salad gently.
  4. The dressing will keep in the fridge for about a week; raw garlic is the limiting factor. Bring to room temperature and shake briefly before re-using.

About rmgtravelsandfood

Maggie and I were both born in the early 1950s and we live in Melbourne, Australia. This blog is mainly devoted to our shared passions for travel and fine dining at home. Recently, I added Australian politics to the scope of the blog, inspired by the election of a Labor Government at a national level. Rick Grounds
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