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Easter feasts to feed a crowd

Easter feasts to feed a crowd

For many, Easter is a time when family and friends get together to share a meal. Whether you’re having a big family feast or a low key gathering, we have your celebrations sorted.

Easter traditions are steeped in food.

Did you know that versions of decorated eggs, pancakes and roast lamb can all be traced back to medieval times in Europe? And some say that hot cross buns originate from St Albans buns, invented by the monk of St Albans, Thomas Rockcliffe, in the mid 14th century.

Lent, which occurs over the 40 days before Easter Sunday is traditionally a time of abstinence. Those who observe often mark the occasion by giving up rich or indulgent foods, especially meat and dairy. By contrast, Easter is a time to feast.

There are many delicacies that feature in traditional Easter meals enjoyed around the world today. Foods vary between countries and regions, but they all tend to be quite indulgent and often feature the foods that are forbidden during Lent.

If you’re enjoying an Easter spread, here are some inspiring ideas to get you started.

To start

The perfect way to start your Easter feast is with a seasonal sharing board. Make your platter super colourful with fresh seasonal vegetables, chilli-flecked marinated feta and bright dips like beetroot hummus. Add some devilled eggs to really get into the Easter theme.

Main course

Make the most of friends or family gathered around an Easter table with a substantial feast of protein, roast vegetables and salads.

Lamb has been a traditional staple of Easter celebrations for centuries. It is believed that since the seventh century, prayers in the Italian monastery of Bobbio blessed the lamb that was eaten for Easter lunch. There are many ways to prepare roast lamb with different flavourings and spices depending on the origin of the recipe. This simple recipe uses garlic, lemon and herbs rubbed on the lamb before roasting. Remember to plan ahead, so that the lamb has time to marinate in the flavourings.

Prefer fish? This bay-crumbed salmon with creamed spinach and wild mushrooms is the perfect centrepiece for an Easter feast. This recipe is just as indulgent as lamb, with a generous amount of double cream and glug of white wine.

If you are looking for a vegetarian centrepiece, try this delicious whole roasted cauliflower with a thyme and paprika rub. It is visually impressive and smells tantalisingly good. Your carnivore friends will wonder why they haven’t tried it before. Tip: it can also be cooked in the BBQ!

Sides

Nothing compliments a roast lamb or salmon like Hasselback Potatoes. Golden roasted, crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle, and seasoned with garlic and herbs, they really are divine. Add some honey roasted carrots or maple-glazed pumpkin and let people dig in.

In most of Australia, we’re lucky enough to still be enjoying warm weather over the Easter weekend. Take advantage of the sunshine and impress your guests with some seasonal, colourful salads full of nutritional goodness. Gone are the days of limp lettuce leaves and a few slices of tomato. Here’s a few hearty salads that will change how you think about salad: sweet potato and corn salad, chargrilled broccoli with chickpeas, almonds, lemon and chilli, roast pumpkin salad with lentils and honey-miso dressing.

Desserts

Even though there is abundance of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns at Easter, there is always room for dessert. Try one (or more!) of these and you’ll be rolling your guests out of the door.

Easter Simnel Cake

This Easter classic is packed with dried fruit, citrus zest, spices and ground almonds and topped with a thick layer of marzipan. There is evidence of the Simnel Cake going as far back as the 13thCentury in England. We’re pretty sure this recipe from Nigella is a bit fancier though.

Triple chocolate & Peanut Butter Layer Cake

If you’re looking for something a little less traditional but just as impressive, try this stunning triple chocolate and peanut butter layer cake. It is a triumph of sponge, peanut butter frosting, ganache drip, pretzel bark and chocolate eggs.  Bonus: the kids will love getting involved in decorating the top with their favourite treats.

Hot Cross Bun & Butter Pudding

Need to use up left over hot cross buns? This Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding is super simple with only four ingredients, and a sure fire crowd pleaser.

We hope your Easter is filled with good food, great company and plenty of chocolate.

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