Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter!

I love Easter. But it’s not quite the same as it used to be when I lived in the UK, with a big family or friend get-together and a huge roast dinner, usually consisting of a succulent leg of lamb. Now we live in Switzerland, leaving family and our closer friends behind, the big Easter get-together has had to take a back seat (for the time being anyway)

And this year, my husband is away in the US for work so it’s just me and my two girls. So it’s down to me. Our Easter weekend began last night, with the girls snuggling up with mummy and the popcorn on the sofa to enjoy The Voice on the BBC. A very late night. So it wasn’t until around 10pm when I got chance to sort out our traditional Easter Egg Treasure Hunt. I have a series of clues I use, adding a few extra details, hiding places and rhymes so it is a little different each year.

I also have a lovely little selection of re-usable decorated eggs, which I build on each year. I found a couple of beautiful ones in Vollenweider this year – I had to tiptoe through the outrageously priced but incredibly beautiful chocolate sculptures to the back of the shop where the cheaper items are hidden away – and picked up a couple for a few francs each (top left and right) 

My youngest daughter loves to decorate our Easter tree
I then get a big bag of choccy eggs from Aldi and put them inside my treasured egg shells. And let the fun begin! I often hide the eggs in more unusual places – slippers, plant pots, etc so there is a humorous element to the treasure hunt thrown in. And at the end, the final ‘treasure’ was a couple of ‘Paint Your Own’ bunnies set of two which I picked up at Manor for a bargain 2.50sfr (The store begins its Easter sale a few days before Good Friday!)

And for the first time this year we made Jamie Oliver's hot cross buns. Very easy and incredibly yummy. Recipe below:

Easy Hot Cross Buns

Add 200ml semi-skimmed milk and 50ml water to a small pan and place over low heat for a few minutes until slightly warm. In a separate pan, warm 55g butter over a low heat until melted. Transfer warmed milk mixture to a medium bowl and stir in 2x7g sachets dried yeast. In a large bowl, sift 455g strong bread flour, add 1tsp sea salt, 1tsp mixed spice, 1tsp cinnamon, ½whole nutmeg, 55g caster sugar. Finely chop 2 pieces stem ginger and stir into mix. Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, followed by the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, beat 1 egg and add it to bowl. Using a fork, mix well to a rough dough, then knead for around 10 minutes until soft and springy. Return dough to a flour dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.

Transfer dough to a clean flour dusted work surface and knock back, then sprinkle over dried fruit (55g sultanas or raisins, 30g dried cranberries, 2tbsp mixed peel) and knead into dough for 1-2 mins. Divide dough into 12 pieces and roll each into balls, spacing them out on a greased/lined baking tray as you go. Cover with the tea towel and leave in a warm place for a further 30 minutes, or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Mix 2tbsp plain flour and 2tbsp water into a thick paste. Gently pat down the risen buns then carefully trace a batter cross over the top with a spoon. Cook for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and transfer to a wire cooling rack, brush over a little runny honey and leave to cool.

Top tips:
• Swap the raisins and dried cranberries for your favourite dried fruit.
• To keep the buns moist for longer, soak the dried fruit in fruit juice for a couple of hours beforehand.

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