I have long held Autumn to be my favourite season. There is so much to love – the light, the food, the warmth, the crisp nights, the first fires lit. And Easter! What a celebration of life that one day embodies. I anticipate its arrival on the calendar and enjoy it more than any other day of the year. Where Christmas brings decadence, Easter represents joy.

We celebrate Easter with minimal pomp and ceremony. It is not about gifts (although every year, I place a set of flannelette pyjamas or a flannelette shirt for everyone at the table – which, as we are heading into the colder months, is entirely practical and necessary!). And irrespective of your religious leanings, the holiday (for me) is about sacrifice and that joyful relief that follows. It is about love and honouring the good. It is about paying homage to things greater than us. I feel we all need reminders to remain humble. Humility is often an overlooked character trait that I hold in high esteem.

And, of course, there is chocolate. Too much so for my youngest kids – they have asked for their chocolates to be hidden for a while so they can recover!

Our Easter table was simple but delicious. The morning saw me busy in the kitchen preparing brunch while getting on with the spinach filo pastries, hot cross buns, and preparing the leg of lamb. I wanted to make the most of the oven by starting the procession of baking and roasting before serving brunch. By the way, I love brunch. Next to dinner, it is my favourite meal. Economical of time, more treat-like than lunch (because whenever is bacon or pancakes not considered a treat), and it means one less meal to plan or eat! Perfection!

Coincidentally, the oven being on for much of the day was desirable from a heating perspective. It was a cold Easter weekend. We will return to warmer days for the remainder of April, but these past few days have been a prelude to winter. I even lit a fire! Perhaps not entirely necessary, but close enough! I haven’t had a fireplace since living in Toowoomba many, (many) years ago (sorry to be repeating myself here!). It is a novelty that never grows old. So, with the oven on, and a fire crackling, we spent a very toasty Easter Sunday.

Back to the food! Brunch this Easter was bacon, fried eggs, cooked spinach, buttered toast, and grilled tomatoes done to my dad’s style – cut in half, sprinkled with sugar, salt and pepper, and cooked cut side down in the pan until soft and with the juices slightly jammy. We served it up with a big pot of tea. The tea was a bit of a treat from The Tea Centre – Chocolate Bomb Rooibos. It was delicious!

While brunch was cooking, the spinach filo pastries were getting crisp and golden in the oven. The recipe I loosely follow uses silverbeet (2 or 3 big bunches, cooked, drained and finely chopped) instead of spinach, as I prefer the robustness of leaf and flavour. If I have goat’s curd or cheese, I mix in that, but this year I had a basket of ricotta in the fridge. I add a couple of eggs, a good grating of pecorino, and a generous pinch of salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. I add a spoonful of mixture to each filo sheet, either folded in half lengthwise and then folded into a triangle or folded in half and rolled on the diagonal to create little horns. This year I did both and ended up with plenty for the freezer. Perfect for lunch boxes.

This year, I followed a hot cross bun recipe by Sophie Zalokar, applying some amendments suggested by Jude Blereau. They were easy to make and delicious. I served them with butter and black raspberry jam I sourced from the local organic apple farm and another pot of tea using The Tea Centre’s Monk tea this time. We have these teas as Sunday treats. Every other day we return to our faithful Madura tea.

After all that baking, I turned the oven down to 100 degrees C and popped in the leg of lamb. Before roasting, the lamb had reached room temperature and was drizzled liberally with olive oil and sprinkled generously with salt and dried oregano leaves. I covered the bone end with alfoil. But otherwise, I let it cook at that temp until about 4 pm, then turned the oven to 170 for a further couple of hours. It was beautifully pink and tender throughout.

With dinner prepped and slowly doing its thing, the kids and I had time to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons and go on an Easter egg hunt. My eldest son loves board games and has progressively filled any available cupboard space with new and exciting games. They are a lot of fun and an excellent exercise to encourage children to focus, take turns, be patient, and be gracious in defeat and victory! The hunt is always fun for my eldest and me to lay out. We have a lot of gum trees in the backyard, so there are plenty of crooks and hollows to hide those little gems. As usual, we overdid the eggs, and the kids’ baskets were full. They always pool and evenly distribute their hauls, leaving some aside for us big kids!

As I wrote in my last post, I made the lemon mousse by Trine Hahnemann for dessert. It was delicious. That lemony hit was the perfect end to a simple but soul-enriching day.

If Easter were not joyful enough, Easter Sunday heralded the arrival of 9 fluffy, adorable chicks! It went against my better judgement to raise chicks. But our clucky bantam had already begun the process a few days before we noticed her absence from the flock. With a rooster now part of the mix, ensuring the eggs are collected and refrigerated to stop embryos from forming is something we generally stay on top of. This little clutch went under the radar, so we thought we’d move the hen and her brood to a separate pen and watch the whole process unfold. I was not expecting such success. Out of ten eggs, nine hatched, and all still happily chirping, with mummy hen doing an excellent job keeping them warm and fed. It was an Easter blessing!

Last weekend was also a special occasion. Our neighbours (which we have now we live in a village) invited us to a laneway lunch. Our home backs onto a laneway like our neighbours and those in the next street. Many of us came together to meet for the first time. The organisers had set up a long table in the laneway, with each of us invited to bring a plate to share, a drink to enjoy and a chair to sit on. We enjoyed a long lunch, and I had the pleasure of meeting our lovely neighbours. I made a double batch of spinach polpettine (a gorgeously simple recipe by Tessa Kiros in her book Limoncello and Linen Water) and a fig and custard tart. The pastry recipe I based on an Emiko Davies recipe, and the custard filling recipe used was from Sophie Hansen’s A Basket by the Door, the figs I bought from the local organic apple farm. Both were delicious and made enough leftovers to feed hungry teenagers for the following days.

It was such a successful and enjoyable lunch we decided on a repeat date in winter by a firepit, with soup and chillies and some imbibed beverage to warm our bones!

With Easter over and the school holidays begun, it is time for a much-needed reset. Our expenses have gotten out of control, and I have not been menu planning particularly well. Holidays are great for rest but are also excellent opportunities to re-establish good habits. To help me on my way, I have been re-reading Rhonda Hetzel’s books Down to Earth and The Simple Home. Rhonda’s books are full of helpful and relevant suggestions and recipes towards living a simple life at any stage of life. I am bad at managing money and often lose heart and faith when reading those sections of the books, but I can avoid it no longer. Women in their retirement years, living on the generosity of children or friends or in the back seat of their cars, is a real problem. I am long overdue in addressing my finances and future security. Taking a close look at my expenditures for May will be a focus heading into the next school term while making some necessary changes to the way we live, the way I shop and cook, to make the best use of the time we have and what we earn. I am excited about how that journey unfolds and will endeavour to share some of the successes and pitfalls here.

I hope everyone has enjoyed a joyful Easter or weekend if that celebration is not on your calendar.

Until next time, take care xx

6 thoughts on “Easter

  1. What a beautiful celebration of Easter for your family with wonderful food, happy activities and a clutch of new chicks ~ just perfect! It’s not a festival I celebrate but I agree entirely with the list of sentiments you focus on which for me come through the celebration and honouring of spring, the joy of new growth and new life and the promise it brings. Humility, too, in the face of all that is wonderful and powerful in nature. Enjoy the holidays, rest well if you can . . . I’m sure your ‘re-set’ will be a challenging but rewarding journey. Bon courage ! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a pretty special day – I think a lot of religious holidays can be paired back to their core message which is relevant irrespective of religion. I’d like to experience a spring Easter one day – my other favourite time of year! Thank you for your optimism – the holidays will be great and a reset is welcome so I will enjoy the challenge. I caught up on your last post yesterday which was a thoroughly enjoyable read but ran out of time to comment – will be reading more today!

      Liked by 1 person

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