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Feast

To celebrate Feaster, we’ve compiled our all-time Easter menu - with help from some of the world’s best food bloggers.

BREAKFAST

Felicity Cloake’s Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are a festive food, rather than a common or garden breadstuff, and they deserve to be treated as such. A rich, golden dough, heavy with spice and sweet with dried fruits and sugar makes them the kind of thing you really shouldn't eat all year round – which is exactly as it should be.

Makes 16

Ingredients

200ml milk, plus a little more for glazing
3 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
Pinch of saffron
20g fresh yeast
50g golden caster sugar, plus extra to glaze
450g strong white flour
100g butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
3 eggs
150g currants
50g mixed peel
3 tbsp plain flour

1. Heat 200ml milk gently in a pan along with the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and saffron until just boiling, and then turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 1 hour. Bring back up to blood temperature and then mix the strained milk with the yeast and 1 tsp sugar.

2. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and grate over the butter. Rub in with your fingertips, or in a food mixer, until well mixed, and then add the rest of the sugar and the salt and ginger. Beat together 2 of the eggs.

3. Make a well in the middle, and add the beaten eggs and the yeast mixture. Stir in, adding enough milk to make a soft dough – it shouldn't look at all dry or tough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then lightly grease another bowl, and put the dough into it. Cover and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size – this will probably take a couple of hours.

4. Tip it out on to a lightly greased work surface and knead for a minute or so, then flatten it out and scatter over the fruit and peel. Knead again to spread the fruit around evenly, then divide into 16 equal pieces and roll these into bun shapes. Put on lined baking trays and score a cross into the top of each, then cover and put in a warm place to prove until doubled in size.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 200C and beat together the last egg with a little milk. Mix the plain flour with a pinch of salt and enough cold water to make a stiff paste. Paint the top of each bun with egg wash, and then, using a piping bag or teaspoon, draw a thick cross on the top of each. Put into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until golden.

6. Meanwhile, mix 1 tbsp caster sugar with 1 tbsp boiling water. When the buns come out of the oven, brush them with this before transferring to a rack to cool. Eat with lots of butter.

The Artful Desperado’s Mexican Hot Chocolate with a Hazelnut Praline Egg from Winnow Chocolates

Ingredients

4 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
2 to 4 tablespoons of sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
Pinch of salt
2 cups milk or half + half (or your favorite milk substitute)
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Whisk together the cocoa, sugar, salt, and about 2 tablespoons of milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until cocoa and sugar are dissolved. Turn up the heat to medium and whisk in the rest of the milk. Keep whisking occasionally until heated through. Stir in the vanilla and serve.

APPETISERS

Platter of smoked salmon, smoked trout and gourmet salmon pate from Huon Aquaculture with Island Menu's Cider Battered Oysters

Ingredients

Oysters
1 cup of apple cider
1 cup of flour
Salt
Canola oil for frying

To make the batter, combine flour and cider into a runny paste and refrigerate for one hour.  Fill a medium sized pot with oil and heat until 180 degrees Celsius or just before it starts to smoke (you want it nice and hot).  Dip the oysters in the batter and fry until golden. Season and serve.

LUNCH

Rohan Anderson's Spanish Rabbit

Ingredients

Rabbit legs from two rabbits. That’s 8 legs in all. 
2 chorizo sausages, chopped
5 slices prosciutto, shredded
5 large wild mushrooms, chopped
6 cloves garlic
700ml tomato passata 
1 cup Spanish Fino sherry (or dry white wine)
2 quills cinnamon
3 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 heaped tbsp fresh thyme
Plain flour 
Olive oil 
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celcius conventional heat, not convection. Heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan on high heat.

Dust the rabbit in flour and brown all sides. Once done, set aside in a baking dish.

In the same pan, separately cook the chorizo, then the mushrooms. The chorizo just needs a quick little fry and the mushrooms should be cooked until they have reduced in size. When done, transfer into the baking dish with the browned rabbit.

Add the passata, cinnamon quills, garlic, herbs, bay leaf, and sherry. Mix up all the ingredients and season. Lay the shredded prosciutto over the top.

Cook covered for 2 hours. After the first hour of cooking check fluid levels and top o? with hot water if necessary.

During the second hour, check until the meat is tenderly falling from the bone. Serve each plate with a few legs and spoon over the sauce from the baking dish.

Smitten Kitchen's Parsley Leaf Potatoes

3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter

8 small-medium baking potatoes (about 4 pounds), scrubbed

16 fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Coarse salt

Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Place roasting pan in oven with butter; once butter has melted, just a minute or two later, remove pan from oven. Halve each potato lengthwise. Place one parsley leaf in the center of each cut half, then sprinkle cut sides generously with salt. Arrange face-down in pan with melted butter; try not to nudge them around or the leaves will move (as mine did) off-center. Roast potatoes for 35 to 45 minutes (depending on size) until tender. There’s no need to turn the potatoes over unless they get so dark underneath (this can happen with a thinner roasting pan or oven than runs hotter) that they risk overcooking before becoming fully tender; if so, just flip the potatoes for the remaining roasting time.

Sophie Hansen's Bean Salad

Ingredients

3 cups green beans, trimmed

1 cup walnut kernels, roasted and roughly chopped

3 baby cornichons, finely chopped

1 tsp capers, finely chopped

2 tbsp chives, finely chopped

2 tbsp chervil, finely chopped

2 tbsp parsely, finely chopped

Juice of one lemon

4 tbsp olive oil

250g marinated feta, crumbled

Bring a large pot of water to the boil, throw in the beans and cook for three minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water, or better yet, plunge into an ice bath (this will keep their colour and crunch nicely). Set beans aside while you make the dressing. To do this, just mix together the cornichons, capers, herbs lemon juice and olive oil and season to taste (remember the cornichons, capers and feta are all quite salty so you probably won’t need to add any/much salt). Just before serving, mix together the beans, dressing, walnuts and feta and toss to combine.

AFTERWARDS

Julia Ostro's Honey Chocolate Cake with Mascarpone Icing with Speckled Eggs and Hot Cross Bun Brittle from Winnow Chocolates

100g 70% chocolate, roughly broken
125g runny honey
100g brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
150ml extra virgin olive oil
100g natural yoghurt
150g self-raising flour, sifted
50g dutch-press cocoa powder, sifted

Mascarpone and Thyme Frosting

200g mascarpone
100g natural yoghurt
two sprigs of thyme, leaves only
150g icing sugar, sifted

To Serve

Seasonal fruit eg. figs, grapes and blackberries

1. Preheat oven to 175C. Grease and line a 20cm baking tin.

2. Place the chocolate and honey in a heat proof bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water. Stir to combine. Set aside to cool briefly.

3. In a large bowl, place the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, oil and yoghurt. Whisk until smooth and well incorporated. Add the chocolate mixture and mix well. Gently fold in the flour and cocoa powder until the batter is smooth and there are no lumps.

4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out nearly clean. Cool in tin for ten minutes and turn onto a wire rack to continue cooling.

5. For frosting, place mascarpone, yoghurt, thyme leaves and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat until light, fluffy and thick (approximately 2-3 minutes). Spread frosting generously on cooled cake, and top with desired fruit. 

AND FINALLY

Five Cheeses and Spiced Cherries from Bruny Island Cheese and a nip of Nant whisky

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