Jan Bilton's tempting Easter treats
Easter offers the opportunity to take a break and enjoy the last warming days of summer. An opportunity to go camping, enjoy a picnic at the beach or invite friends over for a meal.
There are many traditional Easter foods shared around the world — eggs, lamb and the much-loved dried fruit and spice hot cross bun.
In the northern hemisphere, eggs are given to celebrate Easter and spring. Hens’ eggs were originally decorated with dye or paint but these have been replaced with chocolate eggs. The tradition of hiding eggs for children to find on Easter Sunday — supposedly brought by the Easter bunny — is still a game played in our family.
In Europe there is a general tradition — not confined to Christians — that Easter is the time to start enjoying the season's new lamb. An Italian favourite is spit-roasted suckling lamb while the Greeks favour baby lamb, plainly roasted. However, I have chosen to slow-roast our New Zealand lamb in a Greek style.
If you plan to make your own Hot Cross Buns or Easter breads here are some tips for using yeast: It should always be fresh — check the use-by date on the jar; use high-grade flour — it is stronger and has more gluten; work in an even, warm atmosphere — draughts should be avoided; mixing and kneading must be thorough to incorporate the yeast. The second kneading should not be too heavy or too much gas will escape; if necessary, substitute one tablespoon (15g) of dried active yeast granules for 30g of compressed yeast.
Deliciously tasty and tender. Get the recipe
Great to take on picnics to serve with cold meats. Get the recipe
Deconstructed Easter eggs. Get the recipe
Portions can be reheated in the microwave. Get the recipe