Easter is here and the long weekend means spending time relaxing, enjoying the company of family and friends. With this in mind, we’ve come up with three super-delicious recipes for impressing your guests. Alongside the elegantly laid reclaimed wood dining table and dashing fabric dining chairs, you have the perfect mix for a great time.
Easter Sunday Lunch – Succulent, roasted leg of Welsh Lamb
Easter is the time that succulent lamb starts to appear in the butcher’s window and thus, it is the traditional dish for Easter Sunday lunch. This recipe combines the sweetness of honey with the tang of citrus. Let it marinade and roast slowly for a more succulent meat.
- 1 leg of Welsh lamb
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp clear honey
- 1 tbsp of cinnamon, fennel seeds and ground cumin
- 3 garlic cloves
In a large plastic bag or non-metallic dish, smother the leg of Welsh lamb with the orange and lemon juices and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge. The following day, remove the lamb from the fridge an hour before cooking.
Heat the oven to 200° or gas 7. Take the lamb out of the marinade and pat dry. Rub 2 tbsps. of the olive oil and roast for 15 to 20 minutes until browned. Remove the lamb from the oven, reducing the heat to 140° or gas 3.
Mix the orange and lemon zest with the remaining olive oil, honey, spices and garlic. Season well. Next lay a large sheet of greaseproof paper on the top of a large sheet of foil. Sit the lamb on top, rub the paste all over, pulling up the sides of the foil and scrunching it closed.
Put the lamb in its foil packet in a roasting tray and back in the oven. Roast slowly for four hours until very tender. Rest in its foil wrapper for at least 30 minutes. Use the juices in the foil for making a tasty gravy. Carve and serve with roast potatoes and spring vegetables.
Creamy courgette lasagne
For those not keen on lamb or vegetarian guests, this creamy, cheesy courgette lasagne is tasty. For hungry guests, it also makes a pleasant addition to the roasted leg of lamb too.
- 9 sheets of dried lasagne or you can use fresh
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 700g courgette or about 6 courgettes, finely grated
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 250g tub of ricotta cheese
- 50g full flavoured cheese such as cheddar
- 350g jar of tomato sauce
Heat the oven to 200° or gas 7. Cook the lasagne sheets for about 5 minutes in a pan of boiling water until softened, but not cooked through. Rinse in cold water and drizzle with a little olive oil to stop them sticking together.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion, adding the courgettes and garlic after a few minutes. When everything is soft, stir in around two-thirds of the ricotta and cheddar. Season well. Heat the tomato sauce in the microwave until hot.
In a large dish, layer the lasagne starting with half the cheesy courgette mix, then a layer of pasta, followed by a layer of tomato sauce. Repeat, finishing with a top layer cheese using the remaining ricotta dotted across the surface and the rest of the grated cheddar.
Bake for around 10 to 15 minutes until the cheesy top is golden and the lasagne layers cooked.
Serve with seasonal veg and a slice or two of garlic bread.
Strawberry & Poppy Seed Cake
This delicious cake is worth the extra effort as is including the shot of orange liqueur. Make the cake a day ahead and assemble on the day for a luscious end to your Easter Sunday meal. Or it makes the ideal afternoon tea cake too.
- 4 tbsp poppy seeds
- 200g unsalted butter, melted, plus a little extra for greasing
- 225g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 225g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the syrup and filling, you will need;
- Zest and juice of 1 large orange
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp orange liqueur (optional)
- 170g Greek yoghurt (full-fat works best!)
- 500ml crème fraiche (again, full-fat works best!)
- 350g strawberries, sliced, keeping a few slices back for decoration
Dry fry the poppy seeds in a pan over a gentle heat for two minutes or so, or until aromatic. Allow them to cool.
Heat the oven to 160°, gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm round sandwich tins. Now mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Put the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk until thick, pale and creamy.
Pour in the melted but cooled butter and vanilla extra and briefly whisk to combine. Sift in the flour and baking powder mix followed by 3 tbsps. poppy seeds. Use a large metal spoon to fold in the flour and seeds, taking care not to knock too much air out of the mixture.
Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown and springy to touch. Once baked allowed to cool for at least 10 minutes or overnight if assembling the cake on the day.
To make the syrup, warm the orange juice with 50g of the sugar either in a pan or the microwave. Stir in the orange liqueur if using.
Using a large knife or cake cutter from your wooden shelving, cut each cake in half so that you have four cakes. Brush the side and edges of each cake circle with the warm orange syrup.
Make the filling by beating the yoghurt, crème fraiche, remaining sugar and orange zest together until thick and spreadable. Divide the mixture across the four cakes, spreading evenly but keeping enough creamy mix for the top layer.
Stack the cakes with the creamy yoghurt mix and slice strawberries, finishing with a layer of creamy yoghurt on the top side, complete with sliced strawberries. Scatter the remaining poppy seeds and allow the cake to sit in all its glory on the large sideboard for at least half an hour! This allows the syrup and flavour to combine before you cut it.
Serve with a dollop of cream or tasty vanilla ice cream and extra strawberries!