Our team have, as with many others, been spending a lot more time at home of late. We’ve used this time to good avail practising and perfecting some delicious and decadent Easter recipes to share with you!
Wishing you a happy and healthy Easter, from all at Esker.
Easter No-Cook Crispie Tray Bake
An indulgent treat perfect to make with the kids, and you can substitute different chocolate bars depending what you’ve got at home
150gm/5oz rice crispies
2 Crunchie bars, roughly chopped
2x 100gm bags of Mini Eggs, lightly broken/crushed
2 Curly Wurly bars, roughly chopped
4x 59gm Mars Bars, roughly chopped
1) Lighly grease a 20cm/8in square tin and then cover with cling film. This is essential to help remove from the tin!
2) Put the rice crispies in a large bowl along with half the chopped Crunchie bars and half the broken Mini Eggs
3) Put the butter, marshmallows, Curly Wurly and Mars Bar into a pyrex bowl and using a microwave oven melt on a medium heat in 30 second bursts, stirring each time
4) Working quickly, pour the chocolate mixture onto the rice crispies and mix together well until all combined
5) Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and press down evenly and firmly
6) Sprinkle the remaining Mini Eggs and Crunchie bars over the top, pressing down lightly to ensure they stick
7) Put in the fridge to cool for at least 1 hour, preferably over night
8) Once cool, turn out of the tin, remove the cling film, and slice into 2 inch / 5cm squares.
One-Pot Cajun Mince and Rice
Roast lamb is traditionally the meal served on Easter Sunday. This easy, one-pot method is a great meal for any night of the week, as it’s quick, easy and no mess!
225g minced lamb
120g ‘easy cook’ rice
1 crushed clove of garlic
1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
300ml vegetable or meat stock
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 spring onions, chopped
- In a large saucepan dry fry the mince, onion, celery, green pepper and garlic until browned
- Add the herbs and spices, cook for another 2 minutes
- Add the stock, rice, tomato puree and Tabasco sauce. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Remove from the hat and add the chopped tomatoes and spring onion. Stir well and serve immediately
Chocolate Nut Simnel Cake
A classic Easter cake with added indulgence from the chocolate and nuts
150gms / 5ozs softened butter
220gms / 8ozs caster sugar
120gms / 4ozs sour cream
4 medium eggs
180gms / 6ozs self raising flour, plus 2 tablespoons to dust the raisins
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100gms / 3ozs roasted chopped hazelnuts
20gms / 1oz toasted chopped almonds
100gms / 3ozs raisins
To fill and ice
300gms / 10ozs white marzipan
60gms / 2ozs roughly chopped dark chocolate
70gms / 2 1/2 ozs dark chocolate
120gms / 4ozs butter
100gms / 3ozs icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180C / 350f / Gas mark 4
1) Grease and line two 8in / 20cm round tins.
2) Put the two tablespoons of flour into a bowl, add the raisins, stir well to coat/dust.
3) Add the remaining cake ingredients into a large bowl. With a wooden spoon mix thoroughly until smooth.
4) Divide the mixture equally between the 2 tins, smooth the mixture and place in the oven for approx. 25-30 mins until cooked through.
5) Remove cakes from tins and cool completely on wire racks
6) Melt the 70gms / 2 1/2 ozs dark chocolate for the butter cream and allow to cool. Cream the butter and icing sugar and then gradually add the melted chocolate.
7) Using two thirds of the butter cream, spread on the base of one of the cakes. Place the other cake on top. Cover the top with almost all of the remaining icing (reserve approx. 1 tablespoon).
8) Using two thirds of the marzipan, roll out to 8in / 20cms round and place on top of the cake.
9) Melt the 60gms / 2ozs chopped dark chocolate. Divide the remaining marzipan into 11 pieces and roll into balls. Using a cocktail stick, dip the balls into the melted chocolate and allow to set on baking parchment.
10) Using the remaining buttercream put 11 equal spaced spots around the edge of the marzipan-covered cake. Place the chocolate balls onto the spots.
Vegan Hot Cross Buns
Recommended by Raj Sahota, recipe by BBC Good Food
300ml unsweetened almond milk
50g dairy-free spread
500g strong white bread flour
7g sachet fast action yeast
70g golden caster sugar
½ tsp salt
2 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
2 heaped tsp mixed spice
1 large orange, zested
50g mixed peel
For the cross
70g plain flour
For the glaze
50g apricot jam
- Put the almond milk in a saucepan over a medium heat. Once simmering, add the spread, remove from the heat and allow to melt. Set aside to cool to hand temperature.
- Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk mixture, swiftly combining with a wooden spoon to create a sticky dough. Tip out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface.
- Knead the dough by stretching it back and forth on the surface for 5 – 7 mins or until smooth, springy and elastic. Shape into a ball and put into a lightly oiled mixing bowl. Cover and leave in a warm spot to rise, for 1hr or until doubled in size.
- Turn the dough back onto the surface and flatten into a round. Spread the orange zest, sultanas and mixed peel onto the dough and knead again until everything is well distributed. Form into a ball, return to the bowl, cover and leave to rise for another hour.
- Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Knock the dough back by turning it out onto your surface and gently punching out the air. Divide the dough into 12 even-sized pieces, weighing for accuracy if you like. Roll each one into a ball. Arrange the buns on the baking sheet, leaving a 2cm space between each one. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise for 45 mins.
- Heat the oven to 220C/ 200 fan/ gas 7. To make the cross, in a small bowl, mix together the flour with 1 tbsp of water at a time to create a thick, pipeable paste. Spoon it into a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle and pipe crosses on the buns. Transfer to the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 15-20 mins or until deep golden brown.
Meanwhile, gently heat the jam in a small saucepan over a low heat to loosen. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps. Once cooked, brush the warm jam over the tops of the buns. Set aside to cool a little before eating.
All-in-one Salmon with Vegetables
A fantastic family fish that cooks in one pot. Perfect served with a creamy mash
4 Salmon or Halibut steaks or cutlets, skin on
375g baby carrots, cut in half lengthways
1 fennel bulb, cut into strips
2 small courgettes cut into finger-sized strips
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
150ml white wine
Lemon wedges and parsley to garnish
- Melt the butter in a shallow pan with a lid. Add the carrots and fennel and saute for about 3 minutes. Stir in the courgettes, lemon rind and parsley.
- Place the fish steaks carefully on top of the vegetables, season and add the wine. Cover with the lid and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the fish is opaque. Do no over cook.
- Carefully lift the fish steaks onto warmed plates. Surround the fish with the vegetables and spoon over the juices. Serve garnished with parsley and lemon wedges.
Vegan Apple & Raspberry Ginger Topped Crumble (low sugar)
A dessert that’s tasty and healthy!? Recipe from Sam Townsend
For 2 people:
- 1 large bramley apple
- 125g raspberries
- 110g plain flour
- 60g dairy-free spread
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp rolled oats
- 1 tbsp demerara sugar
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- Pre-heat oven to 190C
- Chop the apple and mix in with raspberries (sprinkle over 1tbsp golden castor sugar) and place in 20cm round baking dish at least 5cm deep.
- For the crumble topping, mix the flour and sugar in a bowl with the ground ginger as well as a good pinch of salt. Rub the dairy-free spread in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like moist breadcrumbs. Shake the bowl and any big bits will come to the surface – rub these in too!
- Pour the crumble mix over the fruit to form a pile in the centre then use a fork to even out. Gently press the surface with the back of the fork so the crumble holds together and will go crisp when baked. Then lightly drag the fork over the top for a decorative finish. Sprinkle the oats and demerara sugar over evenly.
- Place on a baking tray and place in the oven for approx. 35-40 mins, until the top is golden and the fruit feels very soft when you insert a small sharp knife.
- Leave to cool for 10 mins before serving.
- Enjoy the delicious crumble with some oat-based vegan custard!
A traditional and tasty recipe – no need to stick to rounds if you’d rather make other shapes!
225g / 8oz plain flour
110g / 4oz caster sugar
110g / 4oz butter
1 teaspoon mixed spice or ground cinnamon
110g / 4oz currants
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 beaten egg
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C / gas mark 5.
Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until well combined and fluffy. Add the lemon zest, sift in the flour and mix well. Stir in the currants and enough egg to make a soft dough.
Roll out to 1/4 inch or 0.5cm thick, and cut into rounds about 2 inches / 5cm in diameter.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Dust lightly with caster sugar whilst still hot, and leave to cool completely.
With thanks to Nancy Hawksworth from Shardlow Women’s Institute for her recipes, Raj, Sam, and BBC Good Food. Happy cooking!