Nope! I’m mistaken! It’s Clint, my Lindt Bunny!
As it stands at this point in time, in case you’re wondering – Easter 2015 - Clint, my chocolate bunny remains upright in my fridge untouched by human hand or mouth; a smug smile upon his gold-wrapped face. There’s not a dent in his armour; and it hasn’t rusted, either. Clint sits on the top shelf having taken up residence in my fridge at least eight years ago, mingling in the best of company. Keeping him entertained are a variety of jams, two jars of olives, a bottle of gherkins, a jar of pickles, one of chutney, along with other interesting tasty bibs and bobs.
Feeling somewhat sorry for Clint by having no one of his own kind to keep him company throughout the years I bought him a partner yesterday; an Easter surprise for him. I was going to give her to him on Easter Sunday, but being an impatient person I couldn’t wait that long.
Okay – yes, it’s a “she”, but there won’t be any math classes going on, if the thought had crossed your mind. In case you can’t work out my meaning – in another word - “multiplication”.
I may be wrong, but I’m sure I noticed Clint, with a glint in his eyes, flick his ears, whisk his whiskers and do a little hippity-hop when Honey Bunny joined him. But, then again, perhaps it was my imagination. My imagination does have a tendency to run wildly out of control sometimes – perhaps more than sometimes. “Often” instead of “sometimes” is probably more like it. You might’ve noticed – maybe not.
Down Under here in the Great Southern Land Easter has arrived already, but I’m ready.
Rather than hide my Easter eggs making them fodder for ants I ate every one of them last week. Don’t despair! I’m not in distress because I’ve a few blocks of rich dark chocolate, not hidden in my fridge, but in full view whenever I open the door. My stash includes a couple of blocks loaded with almonds; one generously filled with mint and a couple of plain ones. If I’m not mistaken, I think there’s also one chock a block with hazelnuts, as well as a box of dark chocolate-coated ginger.
Now don’t you go getting any funny ideas! I’ve got alarms set all around my fridge door, plus surveillance cameras at the top, bottom, sides and at the rear, as well as two ferocious attack cats! Also, I have a tribe of Easter Birds outside that keep a keen eye on proceedings all year round, not just at Easter. (At Christmas they act as a winged escort for dear Santa and his deer). I wonder if the kookas, maggies, butcher birds, currawongs and crows will arrive on Sunday laden with basketfuls of Easter eggs for me.
I have to be honest…I must own up…I’m tough enough to face the consequences! While at the supermarket this morning I weakened; I fell under a spell. I bought some Cherry Ripes. Like my Christmases are never complete without licorice…my Easters are never complete without a supply of Cherry Ripes on hand!
My late brother Graham always gave me (whether by hand or via Australia Post) a bundle of Cherry Ripes for Easter. It’s not for me to break tradition!
By the way…and bit of trivia…and you know how I love trivia…almost as much as I love Cherry Ripes…maybe even on par with the bar – Cherry Ripes were first made by Australian confectioner MacRobertson’s in 1924 (MacRobertson’s also used to make a most delicious chocolate-coated nougat bar; operative words “used to”). Cadbury Australia took over MacRobertson’s in 1967 and, thankfully, continued producing Cherry Ripes. The bars are now Australia’s oldest chocolate bar; a bar consisting of
cherries and coconut, coated with dark chocolate.
May Cherry Ripes along with Peters Drumsticks (ice creams) reign forever!
Back to my visit to the supermarket this morning and my run-in with the Cherry Ripes - I really didn’t need the urging and recommendation from one of the sales girls, but I accepted it with good grace. After all I recognised she was a kindred spirit; one with the same immaculate, good taste as I when it comes to Cherry Ripes! I could’ve quite easily handled the situation without her assistance, but with a wide, sincere smile across my face I thought it most important to thank her and follow her directions that led me towards a new variety of Cherry Ripes.
Blow me down! As I stood browsing the shelf bearing the delicious chocolate-coated (dark chocolate, of course) cherry-coconut bars, the helpful young woman hadn’t lied to me. She’d not led me down the cherry tree-fringed garden path! Right there in front of me were two new varieties of Cherry Ripes…tempting…tempting! I’m sure I heard them calling my name… yelling out loudly, in fact! Feeling slightly embarrassed I had to tell them to lower their tone; everyone was looking at me!
Need you ask? Of course, my resistance was down. It had collapsed as soon as I stopped before the display; and, of course, I bought a couple each of the new variety of Cherry Ripes, as well as the original one (plural…because I bought a packet of 12 of the original)!
Would you expect or accept less of me? No, of course you wouldn’t! Like a leopard, I don’t change my spots!
Please don't have palpitations! No need to fear...to go on sugar-chocolate-overload-alert...I won't be devouring all of my stock of chocolate over Easter...it will last me quite a while. One must not be greedy...a little at a time increases the pleasure.
And as for Clint...well...he'll still be sitting comfortable, secure and untouched in my fridge forever more....
The other day I’d reminded a friend of mine Easter was nigh and she immediately cut off our conversation. She had to race off to have her Bunny outfit dry-cleaned. Give her a wave (or a lift) if you see her hopping by.
These days the Easter Bunny has replaced the Easter Bird. When I was a kid we didn’t have the Easter Bunny…we had the Easter Bird; in our household, anyway.
Full of excitement each Easter Graham and I built nests out of dead grass and leaves. Again, our mother’s hats came into good use as bases to hold the nests. Mum’s hats served many purposes.
We never waited until Easter Sunday. Graham and I always received our eggs on Good Friday; no waiting around for us! The Bird was the word, and the bird always dropped off to us first. Again, it was one of our many personal traditions within our little family unit.
On the Thursday afternoon before Good Friday as soon as we arrived home from school and we’d changed into our “around the house and yard clothes” we immediately got stuck into gathering the necessary grass etc., for the construction of our nests. Once completed to our satisfaction, we placed our nests in a strategic position; a spot where it was impossible for the Easter Bird not to trip over them. We went to bed filled with anticipation, comfortable in the knowledge when we woke on Good Friday morning the Easter Bird would have found our nests. We knew he'd not let us down. As in past Easters, when we were sleeping soundly, he would deposit his variety of eggs. We imagined the Easter Bird was a “he” because the “she” would’ve been still busy at their home laying eggs...
Chocolate eggs were few when we were kids. We mostly received the colourful sugar eggs that held surprise treats within. Sugar eggs were more popular and more available those years of long ago when I was a little girl. And I can assure you, it was a long time ago; but the memories are as fresh as if it were only yesterday…well, maybe last year!
It might be a good idea for me to build a nest for the Easter Bird, but then again, I guess it’s just as easy for me to walk to my fridge and help myself to my stash of chocolate treats.
There’s no such thing as too much chocolate - is there?
Let’s face it, I do have a good excuse for building up my stocks. We’re being told by those in the media…those supposedly in the know…there’s going to be a worldwide shortage of cocoa…so perhaps now is the time to stock up.
Ever since I was that little girl building nests for the Easter Bird a cheesy smoked cod or haddock gratin/mornay is on my Good Friday menu. I'm not a religious person. It's more out of tradition than anything else; but can't imagine eating meat on Good Friday - ever..
This Good Friday smoked cod or smoked haddock isn’t on my menu, but I am going to prepare a salmon mornay for myself…using canned salmon in a cheese sauce with corn niblets and chopped shallots added to the mix; and then topped with cheesy mashed potatoes sprinkled with breadcrumbs, all finished off in the oven until the top is golden and crisp.
However, we mustn’t forget Easter is not just about chocolate, bunnies or smoked cod, etc…for many folk
Easter is an important period in the Christian calendar.
My wish is for everyone to have a safe, joyful weekend.
Smoked Cod-Salmon-Potato Pie: Put 800g smoked cod in deep pan; add 400ml milk, 200ml fish stock, 1 bay leaf and 1 onion studded with 3 cloves; bring slowly to boil; reduce heat; cover; simmer 5mins. Remove fish; set aside to cook. Strain liquid into jug. Melt 50g butter in saucepan; add 50g plain flour; cook, stirring, 1min; add reserved liquid; cook, stirring, until it boils and thickens; simmer over very low heat. Remove skin from cod; flake flesh into large pieces. To cod, add 100g smoked salmon, cut into thin strips and 1c fresh/frozen peas; put in base of deep ceramic baking dish; add 3tbs chopped parsley, 1tbs lemon zest, 1tbs lemon juice and 2tbs drained capers to sauce; season; pour over fish; chill. Mash 900g boiled potatoes until soft and smooth; season; spread over fish; cover completely; sprinkle with grated cheddar; bake in 180C oven 35mins.
Smoked Haddock Gratin: Place 500g spinach in colander; slowly pour over hot water to wilt it. Cool under cold water; squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Butter gratin dish; roughly chop spinach; scatter evenly over base; season; lay 500g skinned smoked haddock, cut into 5 portions on top, skinned side down. Nestle 12 cherry tomatoes amongst fish. Combine 300ml double cream or crème fraîche, juice of ½ lemon, 100g grated cheddar, 2 sliced shallots and a dash of nutmeg; season well with pepper and a little salt; dollop and spread over fish; scatter a handful of dried breadcrumbs over top; bake 30mins in 180C oven.
Canned Salmon Mornay with Pasta: Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Lightly grease a 5cm-deep, 28cm x 20.5cm ovenproof baking dish. Cook 300g dried bow-tie (or similar) pasta in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, until tender; drain; refresh under cold water; return to pan. Melt 2tbs butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 finely chopped medium onion and 1 finely chopped celery stalk; add a couple of teaspoons of prepared English mustard (optional); cook, stirring, 2 minutes or until softened. Add 2tbls plain flour; cook, stirring, 1 minute or until bubbling. Gradually add 3c warmed milk, stirring; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring, 5 minutes or until thickened; add to pasta. Stir in 415g can of red or pink salmon (or canned tuna, if preferred) drained and flaked, 1tbls lemon juice, 1-1/2 cup frozen peas, corn and carrot mix and ½ to ¾ cup grated tasty cheese and a tablespoon of grated parmesan. Spoon into prepared dish. Combine ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, ½ cup dried breadcrumbs and ½ cup grated cheese in a small bowl. Sprinkle over pasta mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Serve with vegetables or tossed salad. In lieu of the topping as above, you can top the mornay with mashed potatoes, grated cheese and breadcrumbs.
Chocolate Nests: Put 1c semi-sweet choc chips in saucepan with 3tbs butter and 2tbs golden syrup; melt gently; stir in 3c Rice Bubbles; spoon 8 mounds onto lined baking sheet; make a dip in centre. (Or put the mixture in paper cupcake holders). Chill overnight; peel nests carefully off baking paper; fill with chocolate eggs.
Cherry Ripe Brownie Bar: Preheat oven, 160C. Lightly spray 22x7.5cm bar pan with oil; line base and the two long sides with baking paper, allowing sides to overhang. Use metal spoon to stir 60g butter, 52g finely-chopped Cherry Ripe and 120g dark chocolate in saucepan over medium heat until chocolate melts. Set aside to cool slightly. Whisk 1 egg and combined 1/4c caster sugar and 1/4c lightly-packed brown sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add ½ cup plain flour. Stir until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crumbs cling to a skewer inserted into the centre. Cool slightly. Finely chop 50g red glace cherries. Cut another 50g glace cherries in half; combine the glace cherries, ½ cup condensed milk and ¾ cup desiccated coconut in a bowl. Stir in 4-6 drops of red food colouring (optional). Spoon cherry mixture over brownie; smooth surface; bake 20-25 minutes or until light golden; set aside to cool completely. Remove from the pan. Heat 130g dark chocolate. Reserve 2tbls of the melted chocolate; pour the melted chocolate over the bar; spread over the top and sides. Drizzle reserved chocolate lengthways to create lines. Set aside until chocolate sets. Slice to serve.