I love spring, full of promise of new life and new starts. The first spring flowers and the buds on the trees are always a welcoming sight, finally throwing back the curtains and letting the bright spring light shine through. My first born was a spring baby, born just before Easter...I loved pushing my pram through parks full of sunshine yellow daffodils, one of the happiest times of my life...early spring always reminds me of that time.
I always mark Easter with a leg of lamb, lamb and spring time go and hand in hand but it is very fitting for Easter.
Nigella writes in 'Feast': 'The word 'Easter is supposed to derive from 'Eostre', the Norse Goddess of spring and Rebirth but not only as a mark in the calendar, it shares much with the Jewish Passover, from the Paschal lamb (though in the latter to signify the sacrifice offered to God rather than by God) to the name itself: the Hebrew for passover is pesach; Easter is pesach; Easter is paques in French, Pasqua in Italian.'
Our Easter lunch is slow roasted leg of lamb, roasted on a bed of onions with garlic and fresh mint served with sticky garlic potatoes (from Feast), my kids have issues with eating lamb but both decided it was delicious and took seconds....what more can you ask for. The potatoes are wonderful, I love new potatoes but cooked this way, half mashed half roast.....delicious!
Pudding caused a bit of a dilemma, I had promised my daughter that I would bake the Easter nest cake in 'Feast' she has had her heart set on this cake for a few years now but a whole host of family events have always got in the way, this year I was going to bake it....well, I was until I actually read the recipe, I then realised that this recipe was the exact same as Nigella's Cloud cake (from Nigella Bites) I HATE Cloud cake! I had heard good things about it, drooled over it in the program, baked it...and was bitterly disappointed. It just wasn't for me, or anyone else here to be honest as it sat, left alone for days before being binned. That never happens, lol.
Instead, I fiddled with a recipe I had ripped out of a magazine ages ago, Chocolate caramel cake. This was just the thing to round off a Easter lunch, a chocolate sponge, filled with vanilla cream and Dulce de leche with a side serving off Mini eggs, full of unnecessary calories but Oh so good!
chocolate caramel cake:
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
200g plain flour
25g good quality cocoa
1tsp baking powder
3-4 tbsp milk
250ml double cream, lightly whipped
5 tbsp ducle de leche
cocoa and sugar coated eggs to decorate.
Pre heat oven to 180c
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixer.
Add eggs, one by one adding a spoon of flour after each.
Add remaining flour, cocoa and baking powder.
Split between two 8in baking tins and bake for 25 - 30 minutes.
Cool and sandwich together with the dulce de leche and double cream. Sprinkle with cocoa and decorate with sugar coated eggs.