Easter Sunday is almost here.
So as well as gorging on chocolate eggs why not make a feast for your friends and family.
From spring favourites like lamb to seasonal treats like hot cross buns, there's plenty for you to choose from.
Take a look at our Easter recipe ideas and decide what you're going to make.
Leg of lamb with apricot stuffing and mint couscous
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
1.7kg leg of lamb
2 tbsp olive oil
2 echalion shallots, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp za’atar
1 lemon, zested
small bunch mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped
75g dried apricots, roughly chopped
25g pistachios, toasted and chopped
75g stale breadcrumbs
3 tbsp olive oil
For the couscous
500ml hot vegetable stock
small bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
100g feta cheese, crumbledMethod
- Preheat the oven to Gas mark 7/220°C/ Fan 200°C. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy based frying pan. Add the shallots and cook gently over a medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes until softened and beginning to caramelise. Add the garlic, za’atar and lemon zest and cook for a further minute.
- Stir through the mint, apricots and pistachios. Transfer to a bowl and stir through the breadcrumbs. Season to taste. Using a sharp knife, cut 4 deep horizontal slits across the top of the lamb. Spoon the apricot stuffing into the slits.
- Put the lamb into a large baking tray and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cover loosely with foil and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to Gas mark 5/190°C/ Fan 170°C and cook for a further 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put a heavy based frying pan on the heat and add the couscous. Toss the grains around the pan until they start to turn golden, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the hot stock. Allow the couscous to soak up the liquid for a few minutes, stirring once or twice to ensure the stock is evenly distributed. Stir through the parsley and top with the crumbled feta.
Hot cross buns
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
50g butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
225ml milk, heated until just below boiling point
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
50g caster sugar
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
oil, for greasing
150g seedless raisins
75g mixed peel (optional)
100g plain flour
2 tbsp orange marmalade, for glazing (the one without bits)
- Stir the butter into the milk until melted. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then stir in the beaten egg. Sift the flour, sugar, yeast and spices into a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt and stir. Make a well in the centre, then gradually pour in the milk mixture, stirring to form a slightly sticky dough.
- Tip the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until soft and shiny (the dough should spring back when you press your thumb in). Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with a clean cloth. Set aside to proof in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Punch back the dough to knock out any air bubbles. Flatten slightly, then scatter the raisins and mixed peel, if using, into the centre; bring up the sides to enclose the fruit. Knead, on a floured surface, for 5 minutes more. Roll into a ball, flatten slightly, then divide into 12 equal pieces.
- Shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with nonstick baking paper, leaving a 3-5cm gap between each one. Cover with a tea towel and leave to proof for about 20 minutes, or until a fingertip leaves a small impression in the dough.
- Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6/200°C/ Fan 180°C. Mix the plain flour with 6 tbsp water to make a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm round nozzle. Pipe a cross onto each bun, then bake for 20 minutes, or until golden with the bases sounding hollow when tapped.
- Leave the buns to cool a little on the baking tray. Meanwhile, heat the marmalade in a small pan to make a runny glaze. Dip a pastry brush in the glaze and brush over the surface of each bun. Enjoy warm, from the oven or toasted, and spread with butter, if you like.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 18-20 minutes
A little Trex, for greasing
125g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
115g caster sugar
75g Trex, at room temperature
2 large eggs
3 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
For the filling and decoration
100g butter, at room temperature
250g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
2-3 drops pink or yellow food colouring
3-4 tbsp raspberry jam
Small Easter eggs and tiny icing flowers
- Position the oven shelves towards the centre of the oven. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas mark 4. Lightly grease two 18cm sandwich tins with a little Trex, then line the bases with greaseproof paper.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, Trex, unbeaten eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Use a wooden spoon to beat the mixture together for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and level the tops. Bake for 18-20 minutes. To test that the cakes are cooked, they should be golden brown, and when touched lightly the tops should spring back into place.
- Put the tins on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes. Remove the cakes from the tins and cool completely, then remove the lining paper.
- Meanwhile, beat together the butter and icing sugar until light and creamy. Stir in the vanilla and food colouring.
- Spread half the butter cream over one cake. Spread the underside of the second cake with the raspberry jam. Sandwich the cakes together and spread the remaining butter cream on top. Decorate with small Easter eggs and tiny icing flowers.