Easter is just around the corner; a time of year that usually involves seeing loved ones, gathering around the table to enjoy a family meal and indulging on a few too many chocolate eggs. But this year will be different. This year some of us might be staying at home, as social distancing and self-isolation means that meeting up with family and friends will have to be put on hold for the time being. With these current restrictions in place, home cooked food has taken on an even bigger significance and for those like me who enjoy cooking, it is one of life’s pleasures that can still be achieved during the lockdown.
Being cooped up can become an opportunity if you look at it in a positive way. Our confinement as it were, can be seen as the perfect chance to experiment in the kitchen with new dishes and recipes. If you usually cook a traditional leg of lamb at Easter for instance, this year you could try spicing it up with a Middle Eastern marinade or why not go for a vegetarian or vegan feast? Get the whole family or household involved and give children and little ones easy tasks to tackle to make them feel part of the preparations. As we’ll be cooking for a smaller gathering than usual perhaps, there’s no need to stress and plan as much in advance as we would otherwise. This year things can be scaled down but we can still enjoy a delicious home cooked meal with our loved ones.
Whenever I’m entertaining at home, I always prefer to serve a cold starter and if you are having lamb as your main meal, sustainably sourced smoked fish makes a really tasty first course. You can pickle your own cucumbers as a side or even add some capers, gherkins or cornichons. Something a little sharp will cut through the fattiness of the salmon; it’s all about balancing the flavours.
Easter Lamb Recipes
For those who are planning on cooking a leg of lamb, give our recipe for Lamb with Boulanger Potatoes a try. It’s so easy, as everything is cooked on the same tray and if you’re using our roasting probe, you will achieve perfect results with minimal effort. If you worry you’ll have a lot of lamb left over, this can always be transformed into a variety of dishes in the days that follow. Fill up flatbreads with slices of the cooked lamb and some hummus or use the meat to make a pilaf. To make a pilaf, fold just-cooked rice through the leftover meat and cover for a few minutes to gently warm up.
If you’re cooking for one or two, you can always substitute a whole leg of lamb for a rack, which is more manageable. My favourite way to cook a rack of lamb is to use our warming drawer – I lightly oil and season the lamb, cover it with foil then leave in the warming drawer on 60˚C for as long as I need, then pan fry before serving.
Hot Cross Bun Recipes
Another tasty tradition is Hot Cross Buns and if you’re venturing into making your own this year, it’s a great activity for an Easter afternoon. Check out our mouthwatering recipe here which uses a combination of mixed spice, cinnamon, orange zest, sultanas and chocolate chips to give extra flavour. Miele ovens have a fantastic feature called Moisture Plus, which injects steam into the oven cavity and is perfect when baking bread or rolls. Any leftovers can be turned into a tasty bread and butter pudding, which, when cooked in our combination steam oven, will give an incredible velvety consistency thanks to the controlled temperature and humidity.
Another teatime treat you can try at home is Chocolate Hot Cross Bun Pudding. Our recipe makes two individual puddings so just double the ingredients if you want to cook four at once. If you prefer to leave out the chocolate, you can make them as fruity versions instead, substituting sultanas for dark chocolate chips.
Whatever you’re planning to cook this Easter, stay in touch with your loved ones and even if you can’t physically have them with you or visit them in person, use one of the many online or social resources we are so lucky to have, in order to spend some quality virtual time together. Happy Easter to all of you, from all of us.