Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Easter treats

Easter treats, originally uploaded by Tea Potty.
Hope you had a happy Easter! It was a bit chilly and changeable here, but we managed to get out and about a bit. It is hard to believe that last Easter I was wearing shorts and we ate our Easter dinner (lamb shanks in red wine -- yummy) outside!

This weekend all crafts got put aside and I donned my apron for some major cooking and baking. I started on Thursday with hot cross buns. I’ve never made them before and although I did do a bit of swearing, I will make them again next year. Maybe I’ll try a different recipe, as the buns were heavy and not as fluffy as I like them.

On Friday, we made our fun eggs. Usually we make chocolate eggs (dark chocolate drizzled with milk and white chocolate) in a silicon Easter egg mould, but this year we broke with tradition. We made chocolate rice krispie Easter eggs. While the crispies were still warm in the pan, I used the egg mould to roughly press the treats into shape. Then using lightly oiled hands we finished smoothing them into eggs. Using a bit of leftover melted chocolate, we “glued” on smarties and chocolate buttons. My daughter was covered in chocolate by the time she was done, but we had great fun.

As all of the hot cross buns were gone by Saturday, I made a batch of simnel muffins to last us the weekend. These are one of my favourites – they have a little nugget of marzipan in the middle.

Most of Sunday afternoon was spent hovering around the kitchen. As our relatives are too far away for a quick weekend visit, I just had to cook for the three of us. It gives me a good excuse to try out new recipes that I wouldn’t cook on a daily basis. This year I made Gary Rhodes’ slow-roasted, honey-glazed duck. Although the glaze turned out much darker than it should have and the skin didn’t go crispy, it was gorgeous. It was the best duck I have ever had – slightly sweet from the honey and meltingly tender. One store-bought, 2.4 kg duck fed the three of us perfectly. This was a bit disappointing as I was hoping for leftovers. I should’ve known though. It was time consuming for just one meal – basting every 5-10 minutes at the end! I will consider doing this one again either for a romantic Valentine’s dinner or maybe doubling it and doing two ducks at once.

As I knew I would be spending so much time on Easter dinner, I resorted to buying Louise Lamb (see above). Around us here in Germany, this lamb-shaped cake is popular in bakeries. If I can still find one, I’m going to buy it – it was so cute! It was a pound-cake or Madeira-cake type of cake covered with powdered sugar. We ate it with hot custard, but I’m sure berries would be perfect as well.

Now we’re getting back into our workweek routine, with just our Easter sweets left to console us until the next holiday! I’ve hung up my apron for a little while (friends and relatives are descending on us in a week) and have resumed my embroidery.

One last note – I’m so excited about my latest flea market find! I don’t have a proper tea set, so I’ve just collected pretty and unusual tea cup and plate sets from local flea markets. I never spend more than 5 euros. I was so surprised to see this one with a spool of thread and needle on it! I snapped it up naturally. Now I think it is time for a muffin and cup of tea!

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