Many people opt for lamb at Easter, thinking that it’s in season. But in fact it’s a tradition that’s rooted in religion, and Easter’s usually a bit too early to find the best Spring lamb in this country. So I tend to choose beef, which is at its best in April. Like Christmas, Easter’s a time of year when you can really push the boat out and have three courses, knowing that people will want to linger at the table and just enjoy being together. I am unusually away for Easter this year, but plan to cook the menu that we put together for the magazine on another day because it’s such a great feast! So pick up your copy in store this week and you will be ahead of the game.
I’d love to know what you cook at Easter, email us at the magazine or go onto Facebook or Instagram and share your traditions.
We’ll be adding new recipes to this page every week so stay in touch. Happy eating and see you soon!
This spectacular pastry parcel stuffed with beef, mushrooms and prosciutto has oodles of wow factor but is easier to make than you might think. In fact it is the ideal special occasion dish as it only takes 15 minutes to assemble and then it’s in the oven for an hour, which gives you time for a pre-lunch drink and a leisurely starter with your guests. Pop in a tray of new potatoes to roast at the same time, and stir-fry some spring greens while the meat is resting. We’ve planned it for maximum impact and minimum stress. Watch our video to show you how to sear the meat so that it retains all its juice and flavour.
Preheat oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas 6 and lightly oil a baking tray. Heat a heavy based frying pan until hot, rub half the oil over the beef and cook until golden. Remove beef from the pan then brush the mustard over.
Heat the remaining oil and butter in the pan and gently cook the mushrooms with the garlic and thyme for about 5 minutes.
Roll the pastry out to a rectangle a few centimetres longer than the joint and wide enough to fold over the beef to encase it.
Arrange the slices of prosciutto across the pastry then sit the beef joint in the middle of it. Spoon the cooked mushrooms over the beef.
Bring the pastry up and over the beef, then seal it and trim the ends. Score the top then brush with egg and place on the baking tray.
Cook for 1 hour until golden. The beef should be slightly pink inside.
When you’re cooking for a family, it makes sense to try and stretch your ingredients to get more than one meal from them. The Sunday roast is a great way to do this – leftover lamb can become meatballs, beef makes a great cottage pie and chicken is probably the most adaptable of all.
I often buy a slightly bigger chicken than we need for Sunday so that I can make this pilaf for a weekday dinner. It is so easy, and it uses up the left-over roast vegetables too! But you can add any type of cooked veg, this dish is so versatile - mine never tastes the same twice, but it’s always delicious.
An added bonus with chicken is that you can make wonderful home-made stock which brings a deep, rich taste to soups or risottos. So don’t throw away your chicken bones, watch our video to see how easy it is to make perfect stock every time.
Heat the butter in a pan, add the rice and stir, then add 400ml water, lemon zest and cinnamon, cover and bring up to a gentle simmer for 14 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Soften the onion and pepper in the oil in another pan for 5 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for another few minutes, then add the leftover vegetables and stir together.
Add the rice (removing the zest and cinnamon) along with the remaining ingredients, and stir until hot through
What I love about these, is that you can customise them to everyone’s taste. Each batch makes 14 truffles and then you can make a few of everyone’s favourite flavour, whether you like milk or dark chocolate, orange or vanilla or even a cheeky few drops of Bailey’s Irish Cream! By making your own you’re never left with that chocolate at the bottom of the box that no-one likes!
Some people get into trouble when melting chocolate as they find it always separates. It’s usually because you’re trying to do it too quickly. But just watch our video to show you how to do it without mishap.
For milk chocolate truffles
For white chocolate truffles
For dark chocolate and
Half-fill a pan with water and bring it to the boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Put the cream, butter and sugar into a bowl, place it over the water (the bowl should not touch the water) and heat until the butter and sugar have both melted.
Add the pieces of chocolate and stir to mix together until the chocolate has melted. Add the flavouring, if using, eg finely grated orange zest, vanilla extract or alcohol.
Leave to cool, then cover the mixture and chill in the fridge for 4 hours. The mixture should then resemble a hard chocolate mousse.
Try coating the truffles with hundreds and thousands, finely chopped nuts or crushed ginger biscuits.
This Chilli con carne is the perfect weekend dish – it takes just 20 minutes to prepare and then you pop it into the oven and forget about it for 2 ¾ hours. I make it on Saturday if we’re going out with the kids and we all love coming back into the house to the wonderful smell of our dinner all cooked and ready to eat! Like any stew or casserole dish, this also freezes very well so you could make a double batch and stick half in the freezer for a midweek supper when you don’t have time to cook – it’s all about making life easy for ourselves when we are so busy.
Serve it with sour cream and avocado, our video shows you how to cut it up easily.
To serve, cooked rice, fresh coriander, avocado and soured cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 160ºC/fan 140ºC/gas 3.
Dust the beef in the flour.
Add the oil to a large heavy-bottomed casserole dish and brown the beef in batches, removing from the pan as you go.
Drain excess fat from the pan, and add the onion and celery and soften gently for a few minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook for 2 minutes.
Put the meat back in the pan with the stock, tomatoes and beans. Bring to simmering point, add the chocolate, allow it to melt, then stir through.
Cover the dish and put in the oven for 2½ hours. Serve with rice, coriander and soured cream, if using. Slice half an avocado each and serve on the side.