Easter Time With Feastforfamine Friends

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Easter is a time of celebration. It’s celebrated across the World with many traditions spanning centuries. It is also a time to spend with family and friends and a fun time for children and some adults with the mass production of Easter eggs, Easter egg hunts, bonnet making and, of course, the Easter Bunny!

As part of Feastforfamines’ philosophy to celebrate food from all corners of the world, I’d like to share with you some of the lovely foodie traditions that have been passed on to me. There are new recipes to enjoy as well, such as an Afghan twist on one of my own traditions – roast lamb Inspired by Afghanistan: Spiced Slow Cooked Lamb, Carrot, Almond, Tumeric and Sultana Rice with Carrot Yogurt

So let’s start with Spain and a dessert that my friend Victoria tells me is synonymous with Easter – ‘Torrijas’. Torrijas are a cross between Eggy Bread and French Toast, which means you could also enjoy these as a lovely Easter Brunch too. Have a look at how to make these delicious treats here: https://youtu.be/iRaAEmyY6ig

My friend Angela has said that in Poland, Easter is bigger than Christmas when it comes to celebrating, and it sounds like they have a huge amount of fun. Easter greeting cards are sent, children turn their hands to egg painting , lambs made from sugar adorn family tables and there are no shortage of water fights!! Festive Easter dishes include Babka Bread and a wonderful Polish cheesecake which I have on good authority tastes even better if you add some booze soaked cherries on top. You can find Angela’s favourite cheesecake recipe here: http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/41676/polish-style-vanilla-cheesecake.aspx

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Over to Russia where Sasha has told me that, like in many other parts of the World, fasting is a common practice at this time. Here, it culminates in much eating of the cake Paskha, a cheesecake made using traditional moulds. Have a look at one way of making it here: https://www.whats4eats.com/desserts/paskha-recipe There is also a creative tradition here too, with eggs dyed in vibrant colours and cookies decorated .

In Portugal, my friend Cesar tells me that some families cook ‘Cabrito’, a roasted goat dish, which brings to mind my own memories of Easter as a child. A variation of this recipe may use lamb instead of goat and can be stewed in red wine, rather than roasting. It’s also enjoyed at Christmas time. If you’d like to read more about it, have a look here: https://catavino.net/recipes/portuguese-recipe-cabrito-assado-roasted-goat/

Children still enjoy Easter Eggs in Portugal, but they also like to share sugared almonds and ‘torroes’, which are coloured sugar cubes. Cesar likes to prepare a crab mousse for him and his family at this time of year. It’s a simple dish but takes a lot of time, so a perfect treat when you have a long weekend to cook, he combines all the meat from the crab with boiled eggs and pickles and I was also luckily enough try it this weekend, it was delicious!

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Speaking of crab, but moving to a warmer climate, my friend Nathalie tells me there is a wonderful tradition in Martinique where a crab dish called Matoutou is made and taken to share on the beach. The recipe involves cooking a whole crab with rice, chives, onions, garlic, tomatoes, allspice leaves, chilli pepper, lemon, cloves and a spice called Colombo powder, all left to simmer until cooked. In Martinique crab is such a popular dish at this time of year they also hold a Crab Fair in Le Vauclin.

Now for my own memories of sweet Easter Treats. Did any of you ever make those little Easter nests at school? Or at home? I still make them now with my daughter. They’re easy to prepare, cute and delicious.

I also like to make biscuits and cookies around this time, and recently made Easter Bunnies with Hazelnut Noses. You can find the recipe here: https://wordpress.com/post/feastforfamine.blog/397

I think that most people would agree there is a lot of chocolate consumed at Easter time! But did you know that the Ivory Coast is one of the biggest producers of the cocoa bean in the World? I decided to have a go at making some sweet treats inspired by the Ivory Coast a recipe which I will share with you all soon!

So spring is here, the Easter egg hunt is on and whatever your traditions are at this time of year, I hope you have fun cooking some amazing treats this weekend.

Inspired by Afghanistan: Spiced Slow Cooked Lamb, Carrot, Almond, Tumeric and Sultana Rice with Carrot Yogurt

Afgan Lamb

Try something different with lamb this Spring…you won’t regret it!

Serves: 6

Prep: 30-40mins
Cook: 3 hours plus marinading time

Ingredients: For the Lamb; 2kg leg of lamb, 1 tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp, salt, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tsp cinnamon,  1 carrot, 125g natural or greek yogurt, 200ml water

For the Carrot Yogurt Sauce: 250g greek or natural yogurt

For the Rice: Rice 1 large cup of dried basmati rice, 1 tsp. turmeric, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 carrots, 2 tbsps. sultanas, 1 – 2 tbsp. toasted almonds, 1 tbsp. olive oil, pinch of salt

Method

  1. Make your marinade for the lamb, place the peeled garlic cloves in a pestle and mortar and add the turmeric, cumin seeds, cinnamon and salt and mix to a paste
  2. Add the paste to the yogurt, mix well and cover the lamb in the mixture and set aside in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight
  3. Preheat  your oven to 150F
  4. Peel and slice the carrot and place under the lamb leg
  5. Add 200ml of water, cover with foil and cook in the oven for 3 hours
  6. For the last 15min of cooking time take the foil off and then place back in the oven
  7. Roughly 30mins before you want to serve the lamb make the rice
  8. Cook 1 large cup of rice to two parts water, add to this 1 tsp. of turmeric and 1 cinnamon stick,  (you can follow packet instructions or what I normally do is bring the rice to the boil and then simmer lid on for 10mins until all the water is absorbed)
  9. Once cooked, leave the rice to cool slightly while you peel and grate two carrots, and toast the almonds
  10. Add  1 tbsp. of olive oil to a pan and lightly cook the carrots and sultanas for a few minutes
  11. Add to this the rice and a good pinch of salt and half of your toasted almonds, warm through and set aside until ready to serve
  12. Once your lamb is cooked, take the sliced carrot from the bottom of the baking tray and add to a saucepan on a medium heat with 250g of yogurt and 4 tbsps. of juices from the lamb
  13. Bring to the boil then turn the heat off and blitz all in a food processor
  14. Plate up your lamb, by placing the rice underneath, lamb on top, with some more of the lamb juices if you wish and scatter over those almonds!
  15. Serve the spiced carrot yogurt on the side
  16. Enjoy on first sitting and on second sitting using up all those delicious spicy lamb leftovers!

In Afghanistan, Save The Children are working to support the rights of Children, especially girls, who have previously gone without basic education. Young girls are also at risk of exploitation, marriage at a young age and abuse.  Boys are also often recruited to armed groups to support their families. In spite of the dangers, Save The Children are there on the ground working to improve health and education, working with communities and religious leaders to effect change.  To find out more take a look at the following link:

https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/where-we-work/asia/afghanistan

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Thanks x