There’s so much to love about Easter. Chocolate is a fail-safe gift and everyone’s stoked that the annual four-day weekend has arrived. But the best bit? All you have to do is eat your way through the break.
If you’re entertaining at home, you’ll want lunch to be a deliciously long, leisurely affair. No one’s in a rush, so make a day of it. Even if you’re putting a lot of effort into the occasion, there are still ways to make it feel like a lunch staycation – a lunch so relaxed, it’s practically a holiday.
It’s autumn, that lovely unpredictable season that can serve up any number of conditions. Easter Sunday, which falls on April 1 this year, could be balmy enough for a garden party or cool conditions could sweep in and put an open fire firmly on the agenda. Naturally, you’ll be at the mercy of mother nature’s whims, so prepare options. Whether that’s cloth-covered trestle tables in the backyard or a moodier dining room affair. Knowing where you’re eating might have an impact on the menu, drinks and table settings.
The secret to being able to say, ‘Oh, I just threw this together!’ is actually getting almost everything done in advance. Stagger the tasks so it doesn’t feel like a kitchen-based marathon on the eve of your lunch, too. Some appetisers can be made days before, frozen and warmed on the day. You can prepare salads in the morning and assemble an antipasto platter in a matter of minutes as guests arrive.
Even aspects of the main meal can be prepped early – if you’re cooking a roast, chop all the vegetables beforehand so all you need to do is throw everything in the oven and watch the timer. That way you have time to enjoy a glass of sparkling when everyone arrives. We’d recommend a bottle of Croser NV.
The key to a long, leisurely lunch is making the table a destination that people settle into. You want it to be a place for people to linger long after they’ve put their knife and fork down, so make sure they’re going to be comfortable. That might mean borrowing or hiring some decent chairs and putting thought into the place settings as well – think small bunches of garden flowers in glass tumblers or autumn leaves scattered along the centre, with Easter eggs hidden underneath.
What’s on the Easter dessert menu? A cake or tart will likely be crowd-pleasers, but if you’re feeling particularly indulgent, why not serve each guest a Baileys chocolate martini? Alternatively, more chocolate might be a bit too much to handle, in which case a traditional espresso martini will do the trick.
If you’ve already spent hours preparing a big meal, shaking and serving these tasty ingredients is an easy way to finish off a relaxed afternoon. There’s little left to do after this but take a post-feast nap… the dishes can wait.