Ah! Easter… the time of unlimited chocolate binging and that slightly ill, guilty feeling that immediately follows. As a child not much could surpass the idea of hunting for chocolate in the garden and that a giant, mystical bunny put it there made it all the more intriguing. My parents had a strict no chocolate before church rule and we would attend an early morning church service, so we could come home and hunt for eggies as early as possible. Happy days!
These days the idea of a giant, magical bunny scares the s%*$ out of me. But I thought I would challenge some of the other Easter traditions and bring them a little more up to date.
Have you noticed how everything Easter-related is all adorable bunnies, newly-hatched chicks and bounding lambs?! In fact, if you look back far enough into history, Easter has its origins in the pagan celebration of Spring. So it makes sense to have Spring lamb and Spring chickens but as health conscious South Africans, perhaps we need to modernise our ideas a little.
1. Buy online
Roast leg of lamb makes a brilliant Easter lunch, but instead of buying bland lamb from the supermarket, consider ordering it online, directly from the farm. These lambs are organically raised and their diet of Karoo veld lends a delicious fragrance to the meat. The prices are great and products can be delivered to your door. Try lovelamb.co.za
2. Modish ways with hot cross buns
What do you get if you pour hot water down a rabbit hole? Hot cross bunnies of course. Get creative with your hot cross buns and try a bread and butter pudding using any stale hot cross buns, or if you are baking your own buns, try out some new flavours, inspired by what’s currently on supermarket shelves, like white chocolate and apricot. Yum!
3. Curb the sugar
Trying to reduce your family’s sugar consumption on Easter? Why not organize a treasure hunt for the whole family with clues? Try it at your local park and make a list of things to find (like an Autumn leaf, a pinecone etc) and those that find everything can get a prize, rather than simply hunting for eggs. Bonus points for running around the park!
4. Spring chicken!
Looking for a fresh way to present your roast chicken? Why not a beer can chicken on the braai, so much less stress and for a variation why not replace the beer with fragrant ginger ale?
5. Egg-cellent ideas
Easter brunch is a great way to entertain family and friends on Easter Sunday without all the stress and expense of a roast dinner. Go for fun egg dishes like Eggs Benedict, baked eggs or gourmet omelettes. Give your omelette a South African twist by filling it with biltong and sour cream.
6. Quality over quantity
These days there are so many amazing imported and artisanal chocolates on the market, consider supporting a local chocolatier instead of buying a whole load of cheap Easter eggs made with hyrdogenated vegetable fat. You may pay a little more but you will notice the difference in taste.
7. Seasonal sides
Looking for new and unusual vegetables as side dishes for your Easter lunch? Traditional Easter side dishes might be Spring baby carrots but consider instead, seasonal vegetables. Think about joining an organic box scheme for the pick of the crop. Each week you get a treasure trove of fresh, seasonal, organically grown veg and if you support a scheme like Harvest of Hope, you will also be supporting local peri-urban farmers.
8. What to serve with pickled fish
Pickled fish is a South African, Easter tradition. I don’t get it personally, and I REALLY don’t get the idea of eating it on hot crossed buns, but each to his own. I would say that if you are serving pickled fish, try serving it with fresh crusty bread and butter or with a fresh crunchy salad to cut through the sweetness of the sauce.
9. Eggs to dye for
As a fun craft for kids, try par-boiling eggs for about 5 minutes, then crack the shells (do not remove the shells) and return them to the simmering water. Add in a little food colouring and leave to boil for a further 5 minutes to create a “tie-dye” effect once the shells are removed on the outside of your hard boiled eggs.
10. if in doubt just make it egg/bunny/chicken shaped
Take pretty much any food and, using a cookie cutter, cut it into an “Easter shape” and voila! Instant Easter feast. I am thinking French toast cut into bunny shapes, egg-shaped cookies or fry your eggs in a chicken shaped cutter. You get the idea!
Do you have any of your own Easter foodie ideas to share? Tweet us @Food24!
- Julie Donald