Tuesday 31 March 2015

Easter eats

We're heading towards the long weekend and if we're all good, very good indeed, the Easter Bunny may pay us a visit with a few chocolate treats.

Obviously there's a much broader reason why we're being treated to a four day weekend, but for me, it's all about the chocolate. And the hot cross buns. And the extra time with my family.

We're actually going to be going out for lunch on Easter Sunday so this past week, I wanted to have an early Easter themed celebration with my two boys. Nothing too fancy, just spring inspired recipes and a few treats too.

I headed to my local Co-op to see what was new and in season and quickly filled my basket with enough to make some Easter cakes, a nice meal followed by pudding, as well as a few other bits and pieces (there may have been a sneaky bottle of vino in there), but still only spent around £30.

So, what Easter eats did I make?

Fairy Cakes

Who doesn't like fairy cakes? There's nothing not to like really, is there? They're also really easy to make but as I wanted to pick up a number of things, I decided to go for an easy-peasy baking kit that had everything I needed in one box, aside from butter and an egg.

I thought that this kit was great value (around £1.65) as it came with decorations and icing sugar for the buttercream and it would make a really cheap and easy afternoon activity with littlies (not Ethan though, he's still a bit too small to really help with baking, although he did start demanding that I make him cake!).

Within 10 minutes, I'd made my batch and popped them in the oven, and once they had cooled, I decorated them with a mix of wafer daisies and Mini Eggs.

They may have been simple but they looked and tasted great.

Mustard Lamb with Irish Mash

I took a recipe from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals cookbook and to be honest, I had to improvise a little. I took some sliced lamb, coated it in some flour and a teaspoon or two of English mustard powder, then cooked it slowly in a pan on the hob.

I added a glug of apple cider and a pinch of rosemary then, whilst this was simmering, I boiled and mashed some white potatoes, sautéed some sliced leek and garden peas in butter with a twist of black pepper then mixed it all together with a couple of tablespoons of mint sauce.

I wanted to bring together lots of complimentary flavours and I served the lamb and mash with carrots. It wasn't the prettiest of dishes but it was tasty all the same.

Hot Cross Lemon Bun Pudding

Hubs loves hot cross buns and bread and butter pudding, so I thought it would be fun to combine the two. I took four stale hot cross buns, sliced them into three then 'buttered' them with lemon curd - I wanted to add a bit of spring zing.

I then made a simple custard, beating together some melted butter, semi skimmed milk, an egg and the juice of one lemon with a drop of vanilla which I poured over the waiting buns. A touch of lemon zest over the top, and it was ready for the oven.

30 minutes on low at gas mark 4 was all that was needed to have this baked to perfection - hubs' clear bowl said it all!

So, thank you to Central England Co-operative for the inspiration to try some new things and make the most of the fresh produce this spring ahead of the Easter weekend.

What will you be cooking for the family? Will you be enjoying some home baking or just the taste of Easter eggs?

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