If you didn’t already know, you may have noticed from the constant instagram shots of cadburys creme eggs and bunny-based humour all over the internet today that it’s Easter Sunday. By law, we are required to eat our bodyweight in chocolate, and in my family, traditionally throw brightly coloured hard boiled eggs down a hill until they smash. But that’s a short story for another day…
In celebration of the resurrection of our lord and saviour The Easter Bunny, I invited an assortment of my closest lady-bros over to make hot cross buns. The last time I made these was aged about 8 with my Grandma, where “helping” consisted of eating all the mixed peel and smearing my dough-covered mitts on the furniture, walls and dog. At my mother’s recommendation I went for a classic Delia Smith recipe, probably the exact same one Grandma used, and for a first attempt I’m pretty pleased with the results!
My only fault was not letting the dough rise enough to start with, which meant they were slightly denser than they should be, but flavour-wise they are spot on! If I’d been a little less impatient/lazy I could have added sweet shortcrust pastry crosses to the tops, rather than just scoring them, but I didn’t feel they needed them. I do tend to freeze the small balls of leftover dough from my pastry making though, so if the timing were right I might have just been able to whip out some pre-prepared. Ah well, another year perhaps!
My other Easter treat is my variation on a fantastic lunch I had a few years ago at the Riverford Field Kitchen. Hearty food served to long communal tables is the main attraction of this place, and I’ve been several times since, but the standout dish from my first visit was roast spring lamb served with a fresh and herby salsa verde. The tangy salsa cuts through the fattiness of the meat perfectly, making a refreshing change from the traditional mint sauce, so I thought I’d create my own version at home.
In further celebration of all things seasonal, all the herbs involved were plucked from our garden, with the addition of fresh wild garlic from the woods across the road. I covered the boneless lamb leg with a puree made from a handful of wild garlic and fresh rosemary leaves, mixed with salt, which cooks to form a soft crust. All of this was served up with roast potatoes, carrots and peas, and steamed purple sprouting broccoli from the garden. Bloody marvellous. I’m now sat back drinking prosecco and feeling rather pleased with myself.
A handful of fresh mint
A handful of fresh parsley
(optional) 5 large leaves wild garlic
1 clove garlic
1/2 a lemon
1 heaped tbsp capers
A generous glug of olive oil
Black pepper to season
Finely chop all the ingredients except the olive oil and lemon, and mix together in a bowl. At this stage I stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and leave it to sit for a while, as the lemon juice helps take the harshness out of the raw garlic. After about 20 mins, mix in the olive oil (enough loosen it up into a thick sauce), taste and add more lemon juice if you would like it sharper.
While my salsa verde went with roast lamb, it would also be great on a steak, or with any barbequed meat once the weather improves!