Easter is a time of indulgence, and with fantastic seasonal produce to choose from it’s a great time to cook up a feast for friends and family. At Easter, we love to serve Spring lamb with a fresh salad, bursting with flavour. But don’t forget the other Easter staple: hot cross buns. Executive Chef of our award-winning catering company Create, Darren Deadman, shows us how to turn them into a fantastic dessert.
Spring Neck of Lamb with Lemon and Thyme
Spring lamb is light, buttery and delicious. Lamb is always increasing in price but to make it more cost-effective you can try different cuts. Here we are using neck of lamb, which is an amazing but underused cut which, if treated well, gives a delicious dish full of flavour.
1 hour and 15 minutes
• 25 ml rapeseed oil
• 1kg Scrag end neck fillet of lamb, off the bone
• 15 ml of lemon juice, plus some zested lemon rind
• 6-8 sprigs of thyme
• 125ml of lamb stock
• Salt and fresh ground black pepper
• Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan.
• Add the lamb and allow it to sizzle and spit, turning occasionally until lightly browned all over.
• Add the lemon juice, thyme and stock.
• Season with salt and plenty of pepper.
• Bring to the boil then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Place a lid on the pan.
• Cook gently, turning the meat over occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until the meat is tender.
Serve with warm freshly baked sourdough or a good farmhouse bloomer and a plum tomato, red onion and basil salad. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add a few crumbs of crumbled feta to the salad. This gives it a lovely seasoned taste which helps to cut through the rich and creamy lamb.
Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding
We all love a toasted hot cross bun; what is Easter without them? If you find yourself with an excess though, you can turn them into a wonderful Easter dessert that is the perfect way to follow your lamb. This is similar to a traditional bread and butter pudding, but the addition of the hot cross bun spices really lift it to a whole new level. Well worth a try this Easter.
1 hour and 15 minutes
• 6 hot cross buns – any condition, fresh or on the verge of stale
• 50g of butter, soft enough to spread
• 2 eggs
• 4 egg yolks
• 60gm of caster sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla essence
• 200ml of milk
• 200ml of double cream
• Preheat the oven to 170°C or gas mark 3
• Butter an ovenproof dish
• Slice the hot cross buns in halves and butter both sides of the bottom halves and then arrange in an oven proof dish
• Whisk together the remaining ingredients and slowly pour half the mixture over the bottom halves, ensuring everything is covered
• Butter the top halves of the buns, place on top of the bottom halves
• Add a few bits of butter to make sure the tops don't get too dark
• Pour the rest of the mixture over the buns
• Ideally leave to soak for about an hour before cooking to allow to soak up all the egg mixture
• Bake for about 45 minutes or until puffy and rich dark brown
Will you be cooking up a feast this Easter? Show us your creations! Tweet us @concertogroup to share your pictures.