Are you hosting this year and need some ideas for Easter meals? Holidays are a time of celebration and, invariably, celebration is a time of eating way, way too much. Somehow, though, on a festival day, it’s ok not to be counting the calories; in fact, loading up your plate for a second or third time is pretty much compulsory in my house. To get you inspired for the upcoming paschal festivities, I’ve done a little research and put together a list of 7 delicious Easter meal ideas.
1. Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon or Crispy Bacon
Consider this a grown up version of the Easter egg. Eggs Bendict is a great way to start the day, and is also ideal served as part of a hot celebratory brunch. For each plate you’ll need poached eggs, hollandaise sauce (good quality store bought is fine), a couple of slices of toast (use the bread of your choice) and a liberal serving of crisp streaky bacon or, healthier, smoked salmon. On top of the bread slices, layer the bacon or salmon and poached egg and top off with a splash of hollandaise. Yum!
2. Blueberry French Toast with Maple Syrup and Crème Fraiche
This is another brunch or breakfast idea that sticks to the established ‘Easter Egg’ theme. Make sure you use really beautiful fresh bread: I love plain ciabatta. It inflates fantastically in the egg mix, and the texture after a quick pan fry is just divine. Whisk up 4 eggs (more if you’re serving a big crowd) with little castor sugar and touch of cinnamon. Soak your slices of ciabatta for a few minutes and then place into a hot pan, flipping until golden brown on both sides. Serve with fresh blueberries and a dollop of crème frâiche; drizzle over with maple syrup.
3. Chocolatey Crépes
The kids get chocolate bunnies and eggs, so why shouldn’t you indulge in this delicious brunch-time treat? Either buy a bottle of thick, good quality chocolate ganache, or make you own using great chocolate, butter and double cream (no, sadly, it’s not slimminng). Once this is done, simply make up a batch of ordinary pancake mixture (flour, egg, milk etc) and, to this, add the zest of an orange and a little squeeze of its juice. The ‘citrusseyness’ adds a bit of festive zing and helps to differentiate between these and ordinary crepes. Once your pancakes are made, spread each one thickly with your ganache, fold up and enjoy.
4. Simple Lamb Cutlets
Lamb is a traditional Easter option and you could serve it either as a lunch or a dinner dish. For this variation you’ll need lamb in the relevant quantity, dried chilli flakes, olive oil, sea salt, a lemon and dried green herbs. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, however; feel free to experiment with your own favourite flavours. Tenderize your chops and then place them in a large flat dish. Coat the meat with olive oil and cover with a combination of chili, lemon zest and juice, salt and herbs. Leave to rest for a couple of hours and then fry for a few minutes in a hot pan, adding more olive and a few spoonfuls of water to guard against sticking and burning. It’s also a good idea to keep some of the marinade out of the pan, and then use it to pour over the chops once they’re nearly cooked. Simple and tasty: serve with new potatoes and Mediterranean veg.
5. Glazed Ham
Another Easter favourite: there are so many variation of this age-old, classic dish. Again, you could serve glazed ham as the main feature either of a lunch or a dinner menu, and you should also feel free to get inventive with the glaze. Traditional versions use honey or brown sugar, but you might also use marmalade, for a fresh, citrus flavour or pineapple juice to give your dish a tropical twist.
6. Classic Chicken and Ham Pie
This is yet another traditional favourite and was a regular feature on the English table when my parents were growing up. You’ll need a roll of store-bought shortcrust pastry (or you could make your own if you’re feeling very energetic and, for the filling, cubed chicken breast, chopped ham, nutmeg, pepper, double cream, chicken stock and melted butter. Coat the chicken in flour and nutmeg, and place into a casserole along with the ham, chopped onion, cream, chicken stock and melted butter. Season well and place the square of pastry over the top to make a lid. Cut a couple of slits in the crust, bake in a hot oven for about an hour.
7. Hot Cross Buns
No article on Easter food would be complete without hot cross buns. Again, there are many variations of this great festive bread and you should do some research before you embark on making it; my favourite uses a lemon infused dough and plenty of sultanas. Delicious: the taste of Easter.
That concludes my list of 7 delicious Easter meal recipes. I’ve tried to stick with tried and tested classics because, to me, that’s what celebrations like Easter are about: food cooked the way your mum made it. Don’t feel constrained to follow my example, however. Do you prefer a festive menu that’s a little more avante garde?