Dig into these delicious sweet, savoury and sometimes symbolic treats over the Easter holidays.

This Sunday, gardens, patios, balconies and public spaces up and down the land will, for a brief moment, transform into hunting grounds. Happily, the preyed upon will be both inanimate and wrapped in brightly coloured tin foil. Even well past childhood, who doesn’t love a good Easter egg hunt? Yet while chocolate rabbits, chicks and eggs are and always will remain a big part of the day, there are so many other Easter treats to tuck into, too – many of which hold significance to the festival. From traditional lamb – which represents sacrifice – to hot cross buns which, rather more unambiguously, nod to the cross, we round up some of our favourite Easter recipes. Don’t forget to dress the table with an abundance of daffs.

Pulled Lamb With Plum-Sriracha


Olive Magazine


For anyone who enjoys their traditions with a twist, Olive Magazine’s pulled lamb with plum-sriracha is a fantastically flavoursome option. Sticky, sweet and perfect for sharing, it’s the ideal dish to serve up and share. And while celebrations may yet be limited, if the weather gods choose to smile upon us, this dish is excellent for devouring al fresco – perhaps even with one other household. If not, then it is also lovely and warming when eaten inside by one family alone. Do ensure you cook enough for there to be plenty of leftovers for days to come.


Best Roast Leg Of Lamb


Jamie Oliver


For the traditionalists, however, few celebratory lunches beat a classic roast leg of lamb with, as Jamie suggests, proper homemade mint sauce. It’s easy, it’s spectacularly tasty, and it looks great served up – with excellent roast potatoes, naturally – on a board, just like pub fare at its best. After all, if we can’t go to the tavern, we shall bring the tavern to us.


Cavolo Nero, Mushroom, Potato & Fontina Strudel


Diana Henry/ BBC GoodFood


Easter lunch is typically a carnivorous affair. That doesn’t mean to say, however, that the vegetarians amongst us should have to forego the treats. We adore this recipe, by the toweringly brilliant Diana Henry, in which cavolo nero, mushroom, fontina and potato strudel is encased inside golden filo pastry. She notes that comté or gruyere make convincing substitutes if you can’t lay your hands upon fontina.


Easter Nests


Nigella


Perhaps it’s that, in the culinary stakes at least, our tastes remain stuck somewhere in childhood, but frankly, we don’t care: we will always love a chocolate nest loaded up with mini eggs. It’s an ideal thing to make with enthusiastic young bakers, too – and while, Nigella calls them cute but kitsch, we say they’re cute but classic.


Mary Berry’s Simnel Cake


Red Online


What better way to break your Lent fast than with a hefty slice of Simnel Cake – most particularly when it is made according to baking oracle Mary Berry’s infallible instructions. Once associated with Mothering Sunday – and thought to date back to the medieval period – this marzipan-topped fruit cake is now firmly an Easter tradition, the eleven marzipan balls representing the apostles, minus Judas.


Gail’s Hot Cross Buns


Delicious Magazine


There are all manner of new takes to be taken on hot cross buns – apple and cinnamon varieties, chocolate-flavoured ones, for example, abound in the shops – but we confess ourselves purists when it come to this particular seasonal treat. After all, why gild the lily? Hot cross buns are perfect toasted and then slathered in butter – and never more so than when created to this recipe. Gail’s, the high-end chain of bakeries, makes an exceptional example, which is topped off with spice syrup. Do make lots; these vanish just like the hot cakes they are.


Italian Easter Bread


Nisha Thomas/ Great British Chefs


Few do foodie traditions like the Italians. Often, though, their spectacular culinary creations call for ingredients – or levels of nonna-given skills – that we don’t possess. This delicious braided sweet bread, however, is within our capabilities. Containing a dyed egg as its centrepiece, it’s a fun one to involve the children with, too. As Nisha Thomas notes, any leftover bread – unlikely though the idea may be – is lovely dunked into morning tea. Happy Easter one and all.

By Nancy Alsop
April 2021

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Nancy Alsop

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