It's fair to say Easter was somewhat subdued last year. Sandwiched in the midst of calls to stay home and help flatten the curve, it didn't feature the usual levels of eating, entertaining and euphoria that we've come to expect of the four-day holiday. This year, thankfully, feels markedly different.
If you're getting organised for a dinner party, brunch or casual get-together, allow us to help. We've earmarked five Easter dishes that balance tradition and inspiration, are designed to be shared and will still allow you, as host, to be part of the festivities. We consider them the all-stars because they deliver time and again.
Photo: William Meppem
Traditionally a seafood supper is served on Good Friday. Simple, fresh and light, this smoked ocean trout dish is always a crowd-pleaser. Smoking is optional, but encouraged; you'll find the sweetness of the pea and bean salad offsets the smokiness of the fish beautifully. Drizzle with buttermilk dressing and dress with lemon just before serving.
Photo: William Meppem
Traditionally Simnel cake doesn't contain chocolate, but what's Easter without chocolate we say? This sweet update uses the good stuff in the cake batter, and is finished with a rich chocolate glaze. Topped with almonds and cocoa — instead of the standard symbolic eleven balls of marzipan — it's the kind of cake guests will speak of long after Easter has ended.
Photo: Mikkel Vang
For those wishing to mark Easter Sunday with lamb, we give you this generous braised lamb shoulder. Paired with peas, tangy pecorino and red chilli, the meat falls from the bone with mesmerising ease. You'll need to set aside a day of braising time (well, seven hours) so this is more of a languid cook-up than a last-minute 'let's do lamb' option, but still, well worth it.
Photo: Ben Hansen
The festive aroma of warm spices has been circulating since late January, and with good reason(s). Easter feels like a double celebration to restore some much-needed revelry, for one, but we've also long-thought hot cross buns shouldn't be confined by seasonality. There's something universally comforting about them that demands access all year-round. If you're in the mood to bake, we have recipes for you – try the sour-cherry hot cross buns or Gourmet Traveller's ultimate hot cross bun recipe.
Of course, we all know that time and dates creep up on you, so you can always rely on Bakers Delight to deliver freshly-baked buns daily. Perfecting their original recipe over 40 years, they have an array of flavours from Traditional to Choc Chip and Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns. Available at selected bakeries, if you're lucky, you might stumble upon crowd-pleasers Mocha, Fruitless and Sourdough. Packed with spices, juicy fruit and finished with glossy glaze, they'll have you salivating. And don't disappoint.
Photo: Ben Dearnley
There's more than one variety of egg at Easter. If you've overindulged on the chocolate kind or simply don't have a sweet tooth, try Dan Pepperell's recipe for devilled Easter eggs for size. They were the most important canapé on dinner party menus in the '60s and '70s so add kitsch nostalgia to any modern-day line-up, not to mention they can be made a day ahead and kept refrigerated. Music to any host's ears.
Brought to you by Bakers Delight