Easter is a time when people get together with family and friends to celebrate and to enjoy a meal together. Of course, there is lots of chocolate to be eaten but the foil wrapped chocolaty goodness is just the wrapping and underneath it's all about getting together with family and friends and simply enjoying each other's company.
Sometimes it is difficult to know what to do and maybe you are looking for something different - but it doesn't have to take a lot of work. Keep it simple, get your family and friends to pitch in, relax and have a good time.
As a bit of a different type of gathering, invite your family or friends over and hold an Easter breakfast or brunch.
Make some of the usual breakfast foods such as bacon and eggs, sausages, omelettes, boiled eggs or scrambled eggs. You can also serve a more continental style meal, such as fresh fruit, pancakes, French toast or croissants. Have an assortment of fruit juices and freshly brewed coffee and tea.
Breakfast or brunch can be anything from a casual affair to something more elegant, it's all up to you. You can serve food buffet style or offer a more personal touch and make each dish to order.
Celebrate Easter, make the most of the weekend and gather your family and friends together for a laid-back, long, lazy luncheon.
Have a BBQ or serve cold meats and salads with crusty bread or maybe finger food style platters. Prepare a cheese, meat and fruit platter, crusty bread, canapés, vol-au-vents or savoury pastries. You can make lots of the food in advance and keep it in the fridge until your guests arrive. Don't forget to have plenty of cold drinks on hand. Then just sit back, relax and enjoy the day.
A tradition Easter dinner in many countries is often a roast similar to a 'Sunday roast'. This consists of roast meat and vegetables. Very often the meat is lamb because lamb is plentiful at this time of year, but you can really have any kind of meat.
Serve a selection of roast vegetables and gravy, crusty bread, perhaps have a salad. To finish off the meal have a nice dessert such as a cheesecake, Pavlova, profiteroles or a gateau.
Dinner can be casual or more formal depending on what you prefer. Maybe your guests can each bring a dish along to help you out.
These are just a few ideas and of course there are many, many more. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Get your family and friends to lend a hand with the preparation or even bring their own specialty dish. Get-togethers at times like this are supposed to be fun and relaxing, not hard work and stressful, so remember to have a great time.
The Simnel Cake is a fruit cake topped with marzipan and has traditionally been eaten at Easter since medieval times.
Place all the main ingredients in a large bowl and mix until evenly blended. Pour mixture into a greased cake tin and bake in the oven at 160C for about one and a half to two hours or until golden brown and firm in the middle. When the cake is cooked turn it out of the pan onto a cooling rack.
When the cake is cool brush the top and sides with warm apricot jam. Roll out the marzipan until fairly thin. Cover the cake with the marzipan, if there is too much cut off the surplus with a sharp knife.
Decorate the top if you wish.
Hot Cross Buns
450g plain flour
75 g mixed spice
˝ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
7g dried yeast
100m warm water
100ml warm milk
Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and rub in the butter. Stir in the currents, peel and spices and yeast mix. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, water and beaten egg. Mix this together to form dough, and then knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth.
Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Knead for a couple of minutes, and then divide into 12 even pieces. Shape into round buns, place on a greased tray, leaving space between each one. Cover and leave again for 30 minutes. Use ready-made shortcrust pastry cut into strips, place two pieces of pastry on the top of each bun in the shape of a cross. Brush the buns with beaten egg.
Place in the oven at 200C for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.