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Try this French-style Easter lunch

Try this French-style Easter lunch

A traditional Easter menu is all about spring. Even though here in Australia we are entering Autumn, our great weather and fantastic produce means we can celebrate fresh ingredients all year round. 

Featuring lamb, rustic vegetables and simple cakes, traditional Easter food is all about comfort and accessibility. Although we don’t have a usual set menu for Easter like we do for Christmas, it’s a good excuse to splurge a little on a big leg of lamb for everyone to enjoy.

Here is a great and easy to prepare Easter lunch suggestion that takes it’s inspiration from the French tradition:

Roast leg of lamb with mint peas – a match made in heaven

Ingredients:

  • Leg of lamb
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of thyme
  • Olive oil
  • 2 whole bulbs of garlic
  • Frozen peas
  • Bunch of fresh mint + splash brown vinegar OR Mint sauce

Method:

  1. Season leg of lamb liberally with salt and pepper and finely chipped rosemary and a splash of olive oil
  2. Preheat oven to 180ºC
  3. Heat your oven pan on the stove (may need use two elements) until it is hot, add a splash of olive oil, chop your garlic bulbs in half horizontally to expose all the cloves (skin on is fine) and add to the pan, then seal your leg of lamb on all sides until browned
  4. Baste the leg with the juices in the pan, cover with sprigs of thyme and cook in the oven for an hour (medium rare – add 15 minutes for each degree of doneness)
  5. Turn the oven off and allow the leg to rest in the oven for 20 minutes to half an hour
  6. Pour the roasting juices into a small saucepan on the stove and reduce by a third to intensify the flavour and serve as your sauce
  7. Meanwhile, boil your peas for a couple of minutes, drain, then stir through mint and vinegar or pre-bought mint sauce and a small knob of butter

Paris mash – the best mashed potatoes you will ever eat

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg Dutch cream or Desiree potatoes, washed and unpeeled
  • ½ cup milk
  • 200 ml pouring cream
  • 150 gm butter (room temperature)

Method:

  1. Cut potatoes in half and gently boil in salted water until soft
  2. While warm, scoop cooked potatoes out of the skin and place in a food processor
  3. Meanwhile, warm milk and cream in a saucepan (but do not boil)
  4. Pour half the mil and cream and add half the butter to the potatoes and blend on lowest setting until it begins to soften
  5. Slowly add remaining milk/cream and butter bit by bit until the potatoes are very soft and creamy (almost like a sauce)

French caramelised apple tart – an easy and extremely rewarding treat

Ingredients:

  • Frozen puff pastry
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1kg Golden Delicious apples, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Heat oven to the temperature it says on the puff pastry instructions
  2. Cut your puff pastry to cover a baking tray, leaving a few centimetres around each edge.
  3. Mix sugar and cinnamon together, and sprinkle a couple of teaspoons over the puff pastry
  4. Arrange apple slices on top, starting on one short side and working up, overlapping slightly to form a fan design, leaving a small edge of pastry exposed
  5. Cover apples evenly with remaining  sugar/cinnamon mix
  6. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until top is lightly browning
  7. Meanwhile heat honey and vanilla essence in a small pot, glaze on top of the tart and replace in oven for a further ten minutes to finish caramelising and coking through
  8. At this point you’ll need to keep an eye on this as the difference between perfect and burnt can happen in a minute. Simply take out of the oven when it looks perfectly done, nicely browned and the pastry puffy and brown around the edges
 
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