Get into the kitchen with these Easter recipes

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EASTER is not only a religious festival and cultural holiday but also a time for friends and family to get together and share a memorable lunch or dinner. The chefs at Capsicum Culinary Studio, South Africa’s largest culinary school with six campuses across the country, share their favourite Easter recipes. Here’s what they will be cooking this weekend.

Hot Cross Buns

What would Easter be without the ubiquitous hot cross bun? This recipe produces buns that are full of flavour and packed with dried fruit and spices just as hot cross buns should be.

Ingredients for the buns

  • 320ml milk
  • 50g butter
  • 500g bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 7g sachet yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 75g sultanas
  • 50g mixed peel
  • zest 1 orange
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Ingredients for the cross

  • 75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

Ingredients for the glaze

  • 3 Tbsp smooth apricot jam

Method

  • Bring 300ml of the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool.
  • Meanwhile place the bread flour, salt, caster sugar and yeast into a bowl and mix until all ingredients are combined. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk and butter mixture then add the beaten egg.
  • Mix well with a wooden spoon, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough. Tip dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size.
  • With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest and cinnamon and knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Cover and leave to rise for a further hour or until doubled in size.
  • Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and roll each piece into ball on a lightly floured surface. Arrange the balls across two baking trays lined with baking paper, leaving enough space for them to expand. Cover with a clean tea towel to prove for 60 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 220ºC. Mix 75g plain flour with 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross. (Tip – add the water 1 tbsp at a time until you have a thick paste.)
  • Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle and pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.
  • Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
  • Gently heat 3 tbsp of smooth apricot jam and while still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.

Asparagus & Tomato Tartlets

These little tartlets are absolutely more-ish and make the perfect starter for an Easter dinner or they can be served as a light lunch with a side salad.

Ingredients

  • 2 rolls shortcrust pastry
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 4cm lengths
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halves
  • 4 eggs
  • 120g ricotta cheese
  • 25g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 packet rocket, chopped

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly spray 6 x 10cm-diameter fluted tart tins with oil.
  • Cut six circles from the pastry and place the circles in the greased tins. Press to fit and trim off the excess. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from fridge and place the tins on a large baking tray.
  • Steam the asparagus for 2-3 minutes until tender, then drain and refresh under cold water (to retain colour).
  • Divide the asparagus between each pastry base and top with tomatoes, cut side up.
  • Whisk the eggs, ricotta, parmesan, lemon zest and chives in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and pour over the asparagus and tomato.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling is set. Serve with rocket leaves.

Roast Leg of Lamb

This roast leg of lamb, seasoned with rosemary, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and garlic, makes for the perfect Easter lunch or dinner that will have family and friends lining up for seconds.

Ingredients

  • 1.8kg trimmed lamb leg, boneless, rolled and tied
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt, more or less to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper

Method

  • Preheat oven to 190ºC. Line a roasting pan with aluminium foil and place a rack in the pan.
  • Combine crushed garlic, rosemary, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper, mix well and rub mixture all over lamb.
  • Roll the lamb, using string to tie it together, and tuck a few sprigs of rosemary under the string.
  • Roast on the rack for 70 minutes until medium-rare (60ºC on a meat thermometer). Adjust timing depending on the size of the roast.
  • Remove, cover in foil and let it rest on a cutting board for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove string, slice and serve with Hasselback potatoes and your favourite veggies.

Hasselback Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg medium-sized floury potatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • A few sprigs of rosemary
  • Sea salt flakes

Method

  • Heat the oven to 200ºC. Use a metal skewer and insert through the back of one of the flatter sides of the potato.
  • Place on a chopping board, skewer-side down, and slice through the potato using a very sharp knife to make slices a few millimetres apart.
  • Remove the skewer and repeat with the remaining potatoes.
  • Put the potatoes cut side up on a shallow baking tray and drizzle over the oil.
  • Rub each potato with your hands to coat well in the oil, getting some in between the slices.
  • Toss in the bashed garlic, rosemary, and season well.
  • Roast for 50 -60 minutes or until the potatoes are tender throughout and the tops are golden and crisp.
  • Baste with any oil in the pan halfway cooking to get extra crisp potatoes.
  • Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese for an extra tangy flavour.
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