Of all of the holidays in the year, Easter seems to come and go without much fanfare.
We, of course, have great memories of Easter egg hunts and great feasts of lamb and hot cross buns.
These days, it doesn’t occur to us much to take time for this holiday, slow cooking a leg of lamb for hours, or even getting around to exchanging Easter eggs.
We are using the finest seasonal ingredients here with spring onions, spring lamb, and spring rhubarb all being featured.
We start with a breakfast of poached eggs on good sourdough and drizzled with our favourite springtime dressing: Spring onion vinaigrette, whose acidity and gentle onion flavour pairs amazingly well with fresh eggs.
For dinner, or even a late lunch, we are having lamb steak sandwiches made even more decadent with melting brie and homemade wild garlic butter.
For an undemanding Easter dessert, there’s a delicious rhubarb Eton mess, decorated with mini chocolate Easter eggs if you wish, but we prefer a little orange zest.
Easter was never supposed to be all about the chocolate was it?
This sandwich is pure indulgence.
Think melted brie, juicy lamb steaks, garlicky butter running down your fingers, the crunch of sourdough and the combination of flavours.
If you can’t find wild garlic, either by foraging for some or in your local greengrocer or market then crush a nice fat clove of garlic with some sea salt until translucent and mash this into the butter instead.
Chanterelles would work amazingly here instead of chestnut mushrooms if you can find them.
2 boneless lamb steaks
2 tbsp of wild garlic, lemon and parsley butter
1 tbsp of mayonnaise
4 medium-sized chestnut mushrooms sliced thinly (use chanterelles if you can get them)
4 thick slices of good young brie (Wicklow Bán Brie is a good Irish version)
Large sourdough baguette
For the Butter
125g of Butter
25g of wild garlic leaves chopped finely (or one clove of garlic, crushed)
Pinch of sea salt
10g of fresh parsley, chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
For the butter: Place the butter in a bowl and mix together with salt, parsley and the chopped wild garlic until well combined.
Squeeze over a little lemon juice and mash into the butter as best you can.
The lemon juice and butter will not want to come together but mashing it should combine it enough to get the flavour.
Transfer to a ramekin or roll into a tube in brown parchment and place in the fridge to set for at least an hour.
Season the lamb steaks liberally on both sides with salt and black pepper.
Heat the butter with a little olive oil on a high heat in a large frying pan.
Add the steaks when the butter is bubbling and reduce the heat to medium.
Cook for 2 minutes before flipping them over for a further 4 minutes while spooning the butter over the top.
Add the mushrooms to the pan after the first 2 minutes and let them cook in the butter and lamb juices.
Cut the baquette into two pieces and cut in half. Heat them under a grill for a couple of minutes until hot and turning golden.
On one side, spread the mayonnaise and on the other drizzle some of the buttery juices, letting it soak into the bread.
Roughly chop the lamb steaks and place them on the bottom piece of bread.
Top this with the mushrooms and finally the slices of brie.
Put the top piece of bread on and eat immediately letting the juices run down your chin.
This is about as simple and seasonal as it gets.
Use as much rhubarb as you can while it is in such abundance.
Simply heating on a medium high pan down to a pulp with sugar and a little water is all you need to do here in terms of actual cooking.
I like to pick up those wonderful large Italian meringues you can find nowadays, flavoured with rosewater, pistachio or hazelnut.
Supermarket meringue nests will work fine as well, this is all about minimum effort after all, we won’t even mention making our own for this recipe.
350g of rhubarb
2 tbsp of caster sugar
3-4 tbsp of water
300ml of double cream
1 packet of meringue nests or 2 large Italian style meringues
Zest of 1 orange
Trim the rhubarb and cut into short pieces about 1 inch long.
Place in a small pan with water and sugar and cook in a medium high heat until the rhubarb has lost its shape and become like a sort of thick compote.
Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl whisk the cream until thick and forming gentle peaks with your whisk.
Be very careful not to over whisk; you want a nice softly whisked cream and not something on its way to butter.
Break up the meringue with your hands and combine with the cream, gently using a large spoon.
When the rhubarb has cooled, carefully swirl into the cream and meringue mixture and serve either in a large serving platter or individually with a little grated orange zest on top.
Waking up on a cold morning and coming downstairs to find two glass bottles of milk, a glass bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice, and six fresh eggs left at your front door, is a custom from our recent past that I really believed should be revived.
What a wonderful thing, especially in the countryside where to be without milk and eggs is really inconvenient.
8-10 spring onions, trimmed and cut lengthways
Handful of parsley, chopped
Good sourdough toast with butter
4 fresh organic eggs
4 spring onions
pinch of salt and pepper
1 tbsp of rapeseed oil
For the vinaigrette
Slice three of the spring onions thinly and place in a pestle and mortar with the salt and pepper.
Grind to a rough paste and place in a small bowl with the juice of one lemon and the tablespoon of oil.
Whisk gently with a fork.
Cut the remaining spring onion into small rounds and add to the bowl, stirring to combine.
I like to drizzle this on absolutely everything, especially poached eggs.
For the eggs
Make sure you use really good quality eggs that are fresh.
Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water to a simmer and add a few dashes of white vinegar.
Crack the eggs into a small cup or bowl.
Create a whirlpool and slowly tip the eggs one at a time in. Cook for around three minutes.
Remove from water onto kitchen paper using a slotted spoon. Cut away any scraggly bits.
Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Heat up a griddle or grill pan on a high heat and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Cook the scallions until wilted and lightly charred or seared.
Drape over buttered sourdough, place the poached eggs on top and drizzle generously with the zingy spring onion
By far my favourite way to eat eggs.