Easter feast (Feaster!): serves eight
The bonus about this meal is that most of the stuff can be prepared beforehand, leaving you more time to be with your family and friends during the celebration. Thelamb chops can even be done on the braai, so mom can have even more time to ‘wine-d’ down!
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Tart with Lemon Balm and Parsley Pesto
You can prepare almost everything beforehand here, but don’t bake the pastry – bake it on the day so it is deliciously crisp and fresh!
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
240g crème fraîche (seasoned with salt and pepper)
160g smoked salmon (for a vegetarian option, roasted red pepper would be a great alternative)
Lemon balm and parsley pesto:
This recipe makes too much for what is needed, but it is great to keep in the fridge to add to salads and fish dishes later.
30g lemon balm
30g flat leaf parsley
15g Grana Padano cheese, grated
3 tbsptoasted pumpkin seeds
180ml olive oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
- Blend everything together. Add a squeeze of lemon if you want more of a kick!
- Use what you would like and bottle the rest. I used about a third for this tart.
1 Granny Smith apple, sliced into thin sticks
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (white wine vinegar if you don’t have)
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup water
400g puff pastry
1 egg (egg wash)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Fold the pastry in half and roll it out into a rectangle on a floured surface.
- ‘Spray and Cook’ a baking tray and place the pastry sheet on the tray. Egg wash the pastry, and then place the tray with the pastry into the freezer until hard or until needed.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until golden brown.
- All you need to do now is assemble just before eating!Spread the crème fraîcheover the puff pastry (make sure it has cooled down completely).
5.Place the smoked salmon evenly on top, topped with your sliced red onion, pickled apple and, lastly,dollop the lemon parsley pesto on top (making sure each person gets some!).
- Garnish and cut into eight slices!
Lavender Marinated Lamb Chops with Mint Lemon Yoghurt, Beetroot Relish, Pink Peppercorn Roasted Sweet Potatoes, and Heirloom Tomato and Haloumi Salad
This has a little more prep than the other dishes, but the time-consuming stuff can be done the day before. In fact, I recommend you do most of the prep for the whole meal the day before! The condiments are the items that need the most prep time(ironically) but it is worth it – I promise!
For a vegetarian option, substitute the lamb chops for brinjal ‘steaks’.
Serve in a bowl in the middle of table with a spoon, for everyone to help themselves.
Mint and lemon yoghurt:
400g Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp thinly sliced mint
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste
- Get a muslin cloth (or a clean dishtowel) and lay it over a sieve over a bowl. Place the yoghurt in this and let it sit overnight (the longer the better) – this will make the Greek yoghurt even thicker and even dreamier!
- Once this is done, mix everything together, cover it and put it in the fridge. Done! Don’t forget to check the seasoning.
300g roasted beetroot, chopped
2 tsp cooking oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 white onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
- Fry onions until soft and translucent on a low heat.
- Add ginger and garlic until cooked.
- Throw in the mustard seeds. Once they start to ‘pop’, add the allspice and cinnamon.
- Cook on a low heat for 20 seconds, and then add the rest of the ingredients.
- Leave with the lid off on a medium heatfor 30 – 40 minutes. Again, check the seasoning is to your preference.
- Place in a container once cool. Put it in the fridge and done!
Lavender lamb chops:
I love cooking with lavender! It is so versatile, but if too much is added it can taste like soap! Less if definitely more with this herb.
1,6 kg lamb chops (I prefer to get them in racks and cut them into chops later – make sure that the bone is cut through at the bottom for the chops though, so you don’t battle at home.This way you can render that outer lamb fat evenly and properly)
1/4 cup fresh lavender buds (this can be swapped for rosemary)
1 cup oil
- Blend the lavender and oil and pour over the racks in a bowl or deep tray. Marinate in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Get a pan on low to medium heat and place the rack fat side down to render. Once it is beautifully crisp and golden brown (it can take up to 20 minutes), take the rack off. Once cool, cut into chops and keep aside. Keep the oil for basting. These are now ready until it’s time to eat!
- When about to cook, baste the chops with lavender oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Grill or pan-fry the chops to your liking (remember that it would have cooked a little from rendering the fat –be careful not to overcook). Keep basting with lavender oil to lock in that flavour.
- Rest and serve!
Pink peppercorn roasted sweet potato:
1,2 kg sweet potato, cut into chunks
15 ml olive oil
4 tbsp crushed pink peppercorn (I prefer to use a pestle and mortar over the grinder, so the peppercorns aren’t so fine)
- Par boil sweet potatoes until they are just cooked (you can do this the day before).
- Coat the potatoes in olive oil, salt and 2 tbspof crushed pink peppercorns.
- Roast at 200°C until golden brown.
- Once they are in the serving dish, sprinkle over the rest of the peppercorns for an extra pop of colour and a fresh peppery flavour.
Heirloom tomato and haloumi salad:
If you aren’t a big tomato fan, you can swap the tomatoes for grilled asparagus or roasted beetroot.
Rosemary and garlic marinated tomatoes:
600g heirloom cherry tomatoes, gently poke each one with a toothpick (just once!)
500ml olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
Marinating the tomatoes (or beetroot, if you’re that using instead) is optional. I prefer it for extra flavour, but it does take more time! So, if you’re in a hurry, don’t worry! Just cut the tomatoes in half and carry on with the rest.
- Get your oil, rosemary and garlic on a low heat to infuse. After 10 minutes, take off heat and allow to cool.
- Get a bowl of ice water ready and a pot of water boiling (both big enough for all the tomatoes to fit in!). Also, get a colander ready to drain.
- Once the water is boiling, drop all of the tomatoes in for a few seconds (you don’t want to cook the tomato). Quickly drain the tomatoes and then shock them by dropping them in the ice water. The tomatoes’ skins should break open.
- Leave for three minutes, drain the tomatoes again and peel them. Allow them to dry in the colander.
- Add your peeled, dry tomatoes into the cool oil. Leave them overnight to marinate.
120g sour dough loaf, pulled apart to make rustic croutons
1.I like to deep fry croutons. It’s super quick, and they turn out evenly coloured and the perfect texture – a little bit soft in the middle and crunchy on the outside. Fry until light golden brown, drain and season with salt.
Almond andbalsamic dressing:
1/4 cup toasted flaked almonds
1/2 tsp garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp smooth Dijon mustard
80ml balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey
400ml olive oil (I prefer to not use extra virgin. The flavour is too overpowering for me)
1.Blend all of the ingredients together.If it is too thick, add some hot water until you reach the desired consistency. Check seasoning.
700g haloumi, sliced
Fresh basil leaves
80g rocket, washed
Assembly (make sure this is done only as you are about to eat, no one likes chewy haloumi and soggy croutons!):
- Place the rocket on the serving platter. Evenly spread out the marinated tomatoes (drain as much oil as possible – this can be reused to cook with or make dressings or mayo, etc. with).
- Sprinkle the croutons and fresh basil leaves on top.
- Pan-fry or grill the haloumi so it is just soft, cut it into blocks and sprinkle over the salad.
- Finish by evenly drizzling over the vinaigrette, and voila!
Carrot and White Chocolate Blondies
This makes 10, which in my family means it serves five people. Double if necessary!
I make brown butter in this recipe for a caramel nutty flavour. If you prefer not to, use 250g of salted butter.
These can be served with vanilla ice cream, custard, mascarpone or just as is!
400g butter (this will yield about 250g brown butter)
225g white chocolate chips + 50g extra for drizzling on top
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 tap baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup carrot, grated (squeeze as much liquid out of this, with your hands or in a cloth, as possible!)
2 tbsp roasted hazelnuts, chopped (you can use any other nut if you prefer, or leave it out altogether)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Cover a 9×9 baking tin with grease-proof paper, then ‘Spray and Cook’it well.
- For the brown butter, place the butter in a saucepot and melt.
- Once melted, leave the butter on medium heat for 10 or so minutes, until it starts to darkenand smell beautifully sweet – you will know when it has reached this point,trust me!
- Take it off and sieve through a fine sieve, or even better, a muslin cloth. Throw the brown remnants away.
- You should be left with about 250g of brown butter. If you are a few grams short, just add normal butter until you reach 250g in total.
- Place the white chocolate and butter in a bowl togetherand then put it over a double boiler, until all the chocolate is melted. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Mix the eggs and vanilla essence together, and add it to the chocolate butter mix. Stir well.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and spices, and add to the above mix. Once the flour has been half incorporated into the mix, add the carrot and nuts. Stir until well and evenly combined.
- Pour into your prepared baking pan and prepare your cream cheese swirl.
Cream cheese swirl:
The ingredients can be doubled – depending on how much cream cheese you would like
85g cream cheese
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla
- Mix the cream cheese and sugar together.
- Add the egg white and vanilla. Stir well.
- Spread or swirl the cream cheese mix over the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 180°C.
- Allow to cool and then cut into 10 rectangles.Drizzle with 50g white chocolate and they are ready to serve!
Kelly Sampson is the founder and proud owner of Kelly’s Eatery is the Litchi Orchard, Salt Rock. After spending several years working in restaurants, Kelly decided to start one of her own. Offering delicious, wholesome food with menus that change regularly, Kelly has gone from strength to strength. They also offer catering options, and are pet-friendly with a dedicated pet menu!