A Feast for Easter
Food has always given me a connection with people, those I cook it for and those I share a table with. It’s why I cook. Whether it’s the recipes I send out into the world or around my kitchen table at home, it’s these connections with people that keep me fired up about food.
The average adult eats 10 meals out of 21 alone every week (research from the University of Oxford). Busy lives and hectic work schedules are the main cause for this slightly depressing trend. I get that life is busy and I don’t get chance to eat dinner with my son every night (5.30 is a very early dinner for me) but we do our best to do it as much as we can. And that’s all we can do, our best.
Even more important then to get together and celebrate whenever we can. Easter seems to be a perfect opportunity for a big gathering – less pressure than the big Christmas dinner, warm enough to sit outside in the garden if we’re lucky, and the beginning of the heady days and long nights ahead.
I’m not inclined to spend the whole day in the kitchen, so these dishes can be put together leisurely over in a couple of hours, with a few breaks for sitting in the garden, or whatever you choose.
Easy pea, mint and preserved lemon filo tart
Nothing tempts like a tart. The buttery crumb of the pastry that gives way under your fork, the soft quiver of the filling within, the crumbs you can dab into your mouth with a finger. I make tarts far less than I should considering how much I like them. This one is incidentally vegan, provided you use vegan filo, which happens to be the most common.
Radish, sumac and herb salad
Radishes, those cheering orbs of bright pink, are at their best now. They are, of course, in their element when simply salted and dipped in butter, but their vibrant tones and crisp, peppered flavour are worthy of playing centre stage, too. You can use a mandoline or food processor to speed up the radish chopping. A mixture of honey and balsamic vinegar will stand in for the pomegranate molasses if you can’t get hold of it.
Chocolate, olive oil and rosemary loaf
You can use a standard olive oil here; it doesn’t need to be extra virgin. It pairs wonderfully with rosemary, but I have also made this by nestling a few bay leaves in the top of the batter instead. You could also replace the rosemary with orange zest or the seeds from a vanilla pod.