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Its Easter soon, and what better way to celebrate the long weekend than by eating  good food, drinking good wine and sharing the good times with loved ones. Families come in all shapes and sizes, be they related or not. Family is what matters, and who has time to cook elaborate meals when there is much socialising to do? Shopping for fresh local produce is pretty easy at your one stop shopping mall, The Hyperdome.

Good Friday

Good Friday is traditionally meat free, and there is nothing nicer than sitting with friends in the late Autumn sun, drinking a local Pinot Grigio and enjoying a smoked trout pate with toast points. Bruce the Butcher has smoked trout, all the way from Jindabyne, which makes for the most delicious seafood snack.

Smoked Trout Pate with toast points

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Recipe

  • 1 whole smoked trout (approx 500gms)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Tb fresh dill
  • 2 Tb horseradish cream
  • 100 gm cultured unsalted butter – room temp (feel free to use normal butter if one isn’t cultured)
  • 2 Tb creme fraiche

Method

Peel and fillet the smoked trout. This is a fiddly job, but it’s not onerous. If you have a glass of wine to hand and friends to chat with, it’ll be an easy peasy job, just be sure to keep an eagle eye on the smaller pin bones that you may miss. I tend to give the flesh a good going over just to make sure I’m not going to cause serious harm to my guests later on. No one needs a trip to emergency on Good Friday due to a trout pin bone lodged in the throat!

Quite simply then, throw everything in the food processor and whiz until you get the desired consistency. Check the seasoning, add more of anything until you’ve got a well balanced taste sensation, you know what you like, I don’t. I like my trout with a bit of bite, you may like yours dilly, play around with the ingredients till you’re happy.

I serve my pate with toasted fresh white bread with sesame seeds (fancy term is toast points), from Bakers Delight and a bottle of Lerida Estate Pinot Grigio.

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Easter Saturday

Honey and Macadamia chicken roll with broccolini and toasted nuts

Barry from Lenards, Tuggeranong wants us to eat chicken all Easter weekend! So, roast chicken roll it is. A whole boned chicken, stuffed with crunchy macadamia nut and honey stuffing, is not only really easy to cook, but it’s moist and delicious too. Served simply with steamed sesame broccolini and toasted nuts, a few roast potatoes and a local Riesling, this Easter Saturday roast is a winner, winner chicken dinner!

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Recipe

  • 1 honey and macadamia rolled chicken – cooking instructions here
  • 2 bunches broccolini
  • 1/2 cup mixed slivered almonds and pepita seeds (or whatever you have in the pantry) toasted
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Method

Add all ingredients, except the nuts, to a frypan, cook the broccolini for approximately 8 to 10 minutes on medium heat until the stalks are just tender, but the vegetable remains bright green. Add the nuts to the oven for the last 2 minutes of the chicken cooking time and toast till light brown, set aside.

Drain and serve the broccolini with the toasted nuts, the well rested chicken (make sure you pour the juices over the meat once served) and a glass of the Vintners Daughter Riesling

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If you can be bothered cooking a carb, duck fat roasted potatoes are awesome! Recipe below.

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Easter Sunday

Anthony from Bruce the Butcher said a nice boneless leg of pork would make a simple, but special addition to the Easter Sunday table. So, roast pork with apple cider gravy it is. Piping hot garlic beans, fluffy on the inside, crunchy on the outside and too darn delicious duck fat roasted potatoes and a glass or two of chilled Rosé, this is a Sunday roast to be thankful for.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pork roast, approx 2kg
  • 2 cans of cider (I used Young Henrys cloudy cider as it was 50% off at BWS)
  • 2 red onions
  • 4 or 5 apples that have been left to die a natural death in the fruit bowl by your grape preferring children
  • a whole head of garlic cut in half, extra 3 cloves for the beans
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 kg roasting potatoes
  • 2 Tb duck fat (you can get duck fat from Woolies, Coles, most butchers and specialist chicken stores)
  • 800 gms green round beans

Method

There are so many ways to roast pork. Take the hints from the experts at the Pork people page. My only tip is to dry the roast out, uncovered in the fridge for a few hours before bringing the meat out to bring to room temperature before roasting. I rub only salt into the crackling, and lots of it, and blast it on 220 for half an hour to get the crackling going. And if it needs 5 minutes under the grill once it’s rested, then go for it. Lets face it, flabby crackling ruins a party like running out of wine at 8pm does.

Pop the quartered, unpeeled apples, quartered onions, 1 can of cider, the whole head of garlic into a roasting pan (cut side down so it soaks up the juices), put the pork on top, and roast until medium.

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Top up the pan with water if it looks like it’s getting a little dry. Pork can be a little pink these days, so rest it for a good while, on a plate, and make the cider gravy.

Remove the apples and mush them to make apple sauce. Put the roasting pan on the stovetop, on medium heat, scrape down the sides and get all the good sticky bits off the bottom, add the other can off cider and the cup of stock, bring to a boil and reduce by half, and check for seasoning. Voila, cider gravy.

Duck fat roasted potatoes

Par boil the quartered potatoes until just tender, don’t worry if they’re a little too tender, they’ll just have more crunchy bits, just don’t inadvertently make mashed potatoes. Steam dry while the duck fat heats up in a roasting tin while the pork cooks. Rough the potatoes up in the colander, the edges soak up the duck fat and become all crispy like delicious potato jewels. Add the potatoes to the hot oil and season well. I always add whole garlic cloves when roasting potatoes, cooks treat. Roast the potatoes until crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, around 45 minutes at 180, depending on how hot your oven cooks.

Beans

While the pork rests, add the beans, a cup of water, a little oil and the chopped extra garlic to a fry pan, add a good pinch of salt, and cook on low until just tender. The garlic sweetens this way, it loses its harshness and doesn’t become bitter as frying garlic so often does.

Serve your roast pork lunch with the cider gravy, the apple sauce, the roasted garlic and a Long Rail Gully chilled rose.

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Easter Monday

Easter Monday is a day for relaxing and either eating the rest of the kids’ chocolate, hiding it in the laundry for next year, or cooking with it. I’ve done all 3.

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One recipe I do often is Easter egg brownies. And rather than reinvent the wheel, I go to the queen of baking, Not Quite Nigella and her Easter egg brownies. The only difference is that I don’t have a very sweet tooth so I use 70% cocoa chocolate but then add Caramello eggs on top. If you freeze the eggs for an hour before you bake the brownies, they won’t melt all over the place, I like the little eggs perching atop the squidgy brownie interior.

Morning tea at Easter time just isn’t proper unless there are Bakers Delight hot cross buns. Sarba from Tuggeranong Bakers Delight suggests you get a mixed 6 pack and a loaf of bread for $2, their Easter special this month. But seeing that I can’t choose, I had to get 8, there are *4 different types after all.

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*Not counting fruitless hot cross buns. But who eats them, anyway?

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The girls, all dressed up and just waiting to sell you the new apple hot cross buns.

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So, there you go. Just an idea of what’s on offer this Easter at The Hyperdome Shopping Centre.

I’ll see you there!