Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Well, thanks very much!  Someone could’ve told me Easter is this weekend!  I didn’t notice it sneaking up on me. The penny dropped only after I noticed an oddly-dressed, suspicious-looking hare carrying a basket full of colourful eggs hop by my kitchen window this morning, otherwise, but for the hare, I would still be unaware!  Without a care, the hare was off to a fancy dress party, with not a hair out of place!

Time is rapidly running out, and I haven’t even thought about making my Easter bonnet! I’ll just have to go topless…I mean hatless…over the weekend.

My chocolate Lindt bunny named Clint still calls my fridge his home. Long ago Clint ceased cringing and hiding behind the pickles, chutney and jam jars every time I opened my fridge door. With a glint in his brown eyes he grins cheekily at me when I reach into the fridge.  Every so often he tosses me a wink, too. Clint’s full of bravado knowing I’ll never eat him, but he failed to alert me to Easter’s pending arrival.  I ask so little of him; he could have warned me!  The only job he has to do is keep a keen eye on the contents of my fridge.  That’s not too much to ask, surely!

I might chew off one of Clint’s ears for neglecting to do so.  No…I couldn’t do such a heinous act; I’d choke!  He’s been my “roomie” for the past eight years, give or take; his trust in me is important to me.

That’s this year’s update on Clint, my Lindt bunny. 

Because Clint’s lived with me for so long we celebrate his birthday only; but I have noticed he manages to keep a low profile over Easter – just in case, I suppose.

I guess I’ll never discover what Lindt bunnies taste like because if I did buy myself another one it, too, would end up keeping Clint company in my fridge. I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to eat it, either.   Maybe that’s what I should do; buy a mate for Clint.  If I do I’ll definitely check what sex it is, though; otherwise I’ll end up with a whole tribe of chocolate bunnies in my fridge

Have no fear, Clint….I’ll stick to Cherry Ripes. They won’t look at me accusingly as ‘m devouring them. 

My late brother, Graham knew how much I loved Cherry Ripes; he always gave me a bundle of them instead of Easter eggs at this time of the year. He NEVER gave me chocolate bunnies! For Easters evermore I’ll continue cheerily chewing on Cherry Ripes; and, naturally, warm Hot Cross buns on Easter Sunday morn.  I placed an order for Hot Cross with the local bakery to be picked up by me early Sunday morning.  I know what I’ll be having for breakfast when I arrive back home.

I’ve had many memorable, enjoyable Easters; and then a few not so memorable or enjoyable.  Fortunately the former outweigh the latter.
I catered for hordes of Easter brides when I worked within the hospitality industry.  What is it about Easter and weddings, I wonder?  Could it be the full moon?  No matter there is some who deny it to be so; the full moon can affect our behaviour in the strangest of ways. 

It affected me one Easter many years ago.  My first marriage was conducted on an Easter Thursday evening.  However, I did my own catering for our small wedding reception.  See, I told you the full moon affects us in mysterious ways.  I also handled the catering for my second wedding; but I can’t blame the moon’s fullness because we married five days after the full moon.  Still on the subject of Easter and weddings…the following Easter, a year after my wedding, my brother Graham married on the Easter Thursday evening, too.  Easter weddings must have been catching in our family!

Hmmmm…I don’t plan such a drastic step this Easter, I assure you…just in case you were wondering.

Once upon a time in days of yore I’d prepare an elaborate spread for Easter Sunday lunch to share with friends and/or family, but I no longer do so.  I ceased the habit four or five years ago. It’s not that I’ve become mean; just lazy; plus it costs too much to entertain nowadays.  Selfishly, I’d rather treat myself than everyone else.  I used to spend a fortune; and I enjoyed the whole catastrophe; the planning; the preparation; decorating the table; setting the scene – all except the clearing away of, and the cleaning up of the catastrophe that remained after my guests had departed!  At least I’m being truthful!  I deserve an Easter egg, perhaps two, for honesty.

Because I’d not noticed Easter’s stealthy approach until I saw the derring-do hare this morning, I’ve made no extravagant plans for the weekend. My only set-in-concrete scheme is to forge through my ample stock of Cherry Ripes – taking no prisoners! 

An open, casual invitation was extended to me earlier this morning to join some acquaintances at a local café on Sunday afternoon. Live music will be on offer along with coffee and tasty treats.  I’ve left my decision whether I will attend or not open as well.  I’m not in the mood to make a commitment.  If at the time I feel like joining the group on Easter Sunday, I will…if not, I won’t!  The latter is most likely.

I definitely won’t be venturing out on the roads to travel far afield over the next few days. I’ll leave that activity to everyone else.  I’m sticking close to home.  After all that’s where the heart is, as well as my Cherry Ripes; and my cottontails! 

I do feel tempted to revert to a childish childhood practice.

Not only did I speak, think and reason like a child, I also believed in the Easter Bird (Santa and the Tooth Fairy, too; as well as handsome princes, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson and Audie Murphy) as only a child can.

Forget the Easter bonnet!  I’m going to fill my gardening hat with grass cuttings to see if my attempt at nest-making lures an Easter Bird out of the trees and shrubs.

If I spot a hare I’ll dare to snare it; and if it has already returned its fancy-dress costume to the hire shop, I’ll then dress it up as an Easter Bunny fit for a fair.  Don’t despair - the hare won’t care. I’ll do it with flair, I swear.

My menu is already planned for Good Friday…Smoked Cod with lashings of cheese sauce and various steamed vegetables; or…it is open for change…I might prepare the recipe below, instead. 

I’m not an overly-religious person. I don’t go to church; and haven’t done so since I was 16, other than for weddings (again!) and funerals.  These days I try to give both a wide berth.  And I’d rather hold my own personal beliefs than to have someone preaching down my throat.

As child I attended Sunday School every Sunday, along with my brother, Graham. Off we’d trot dressed in our Sunday best; Graham always about 10 paces ahead of me.  He didn’t want his mates to see him walking with his little sister.  Big brothers!! 

I’m glad Sunday School was part of my early learning years. That’s the way it was when I was a little girl; it didn’t do me any harm.

Every Monday morning the local Presbyterian minister, Mr. Henry - I was raised Presbyterian - came into our classroom and gave us Bible lessons, a practice I believe is a good thing to have happened; again it did us children no harm.  We are, after all, still a Christian country; and I hope and pray the status quo remains.

In these days of political-correctness when so many of the PC crowd jump up and down waving their arms in the air while they dictate to all and sundry (to those who listen - I don’t listen to them…their dribble goes in one ear and out the other with me) that we shouldn’t “offend”, I believe religious instruction in Australian schools is perhaps more important these days than ever before.  

As far back as I can remember…and that’s a long way back…we always ate fish on Good Friday…and it was always Smoked Cod or Smoked Haddock; I’ve continued that tradition.  The few times…I could count the times on one hand…I’ve not had Smoked Cod or Haddock on Good Friday, I’ve prepared and enjoyed a salmon or tuna mornay, instead.  Eating fish on Good Friday was more of a tradition than a religious gesture in our home.   Same applies to me today.

If I still feel hungry on Easter Sunday after devouring all my delicious, freshly-baked, warm Hot Cross buns, I’m tossing up between cooking a roast leg of lamb with the obligatory roasted vegetables, served with mint sauce…I love mint sauce (thanks Adulamite)…or I might roast a piece of pork belly.  Decisions!  Decisions!

Not having an Easter bonnet trimmed and ready is also a deterrent. I dare not go forth and enter the public arena without one atop my head.  What would the locals think?

Too bad what the neighbours and the locals might think - I’m going to have to put aside my reservations about not having my Easter bonnet decorated and trimmed – I can’t allow myself to be worried about what others think – because very shortly I’m going to make like an Easter bunny and hop to it! 

Seeing I’ve just realised Easter starts tomorrow, with my Easter basket in hand, I’m hopping off to the supermarket before it runs out of Cherry Ripes!   Maybe I’ll leave my basket behind, and grab a trolley at the supermarket!

Clint and I wish everyone a relaxed, happy and safe Easter.

Easter Breakfast: Heat grill to high. Trim 8 asparagus spears. Cut 4 slices of sourdough into 12 long, thin “soldiers”; a little shorter than the asparagus; place a spear onto each soldier; wrap tightly with bacon rasher or pancetta. Place on baking tray; season; grill until bacon is crisp.  Soft-boil 4 eggs; serve with asparagus soldiers for dipping.

Good Friday Smoked Cod/Haddock: Preheat oven 220C. Wilt 200g spinach in a little butter; season with black pepper; press out excess liquid; place in gratin dish; place 2x100g skinless smoked cod/haddock fillets on top. Dot with a little butter; spoon over 100ml crème fraîche; add 75g grated Gruyère and 50g grated Parmesan; arrange sliced tomato over the top. Sprinkle with 2tbs dried breadcrumbs; bake 15-20mins.

Easter Vegan Herb-Nut-Coated Cheese Log: Blend 270g extra-firm silken tofu, crumbled, 1/2tbs agar powder, 2tbs water, 2tbs raw tahini, 3/4tbs nutritional yeast flakes, 1/2tsp sugar and 1/4tsp salt in processor until very smooth. Place mixture in heavy-base saucepan; stir over med-heat until it bubbles for a few minutes and thickens. Add 2tbs light miso, 4tsp fresh lemon juice and 1 large garlic clove, crushed. Blend briefly; add 3 large sun-dried tomatoes, chopped and 2tbs chopped green shallots or chives; pulse briefly.  Line a loaf tin with plastic wrap; extend wrap over all sides. Scrape hot mixture into prepared loaf tin. Chill for about 30mins.  In clean processor, process 4tbs chopped, toasted nuts of choice along with 3tbs chopped fresh herbs or 1/4c minced parsley.  Spread this coating mix onto a piece of plastic wrap on the work bench.  Quickly unmold the cheese loaf onto another piece of plastic wrap; roll it up in the wrap; press and shape it into a “log”. Unwrap the log, and gently roll the log in the coating mixture; coating all over; press coating on with your fingers if some areas have been missed; then roll the log up again in the plastic wrap, twisting ends. Chill several hours until firm. When ready to serve, unwrap carefully and  place on serving plate; slice or serve with suitable knife along with crackers, crusty bread and/or pumpernickel.

Wild Rice & Cranberry Easter Salad: Add 1c wild rice to 3c water; bring to a rapid simmer; lower heat; cover; simmer gently until water is absorbed, about 30mins. Just before the rice is cooked, heat 1-1/2tbs olive oil in large skillet; add 3 to 4 minced garlic cloves; sauté over low heat until golden; add 3 to 4 thinly sliced shallots (green and white parts) and 2c thawed corn kernels (or drained can or fresh); sauté just until warmed through. Transfer cooked rice to skillet; turn up the heat to med-high; add 1/3c fresh lemon or lime juice, or to taste, 1/4c to 1/2c chopped coriander (cilantro), to taste, 2tsp ground cumin, 1/2tsp dried oregano, 1/4tsp dried thyme, 1/2c dried cranberries and 1-1/2tbs olive oil. Stir together gently; season to taste. Transfer to serving platter; sprinkle 1/4c toasted pumpkin (pepita) seeds over the top.

It’s Veally Easter: Preheat oven 200C. Brush 800g frenched veal rack, (6 cutlets) with oil; season well; roast 20mins. Combine 3/4c fresh breadcrumbs, 1tbs chopped parsley, 2tsp chopped fresh rosemary, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 lightly-beaten egg yolk and 1tbs seeded mustard. Remove veal from oven; reduce heat to 180C. Spread 1tbs seeded mustard over veal; firmly press breadcrumb mix into veal; roast 30-40mins.

Cherry Ripe Slice: Crush 1pkt Marie biscuits; combine with 125g melted butter, 3 chopped Cherry Ripe bars and 200g can condensed milk; press into slice tin; chill. Melt 250g chocolate; pour over chilled slice; set.  Yummy!

Cherry Ripe Choc-Cheesecake: Grease 24cm round spring-form cake pan. Process 150g plain chocolate biscuits until fine. Add 75g melted butter; process until combined. Press mixture over base of pan. Place pan on oven tray; refrigerate, 30mins. Preheat oven 160C (140C fan-forced).  Melt 200g dark chocolate. Place 1c (200g) drained morello cherries on absorbent paper. Beat 500g softened cream cheese and 1/3c caster sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer until smooth; beat in 2 eggs, one at a time. Gradually beat in cooled melted chocolate; stir in 1x150g chopped Cherry Ripe bar and the drained morello cherries. Spread filling over biscuit base in pan; bake for about 50mins. Cool in over with door ajar.  Chill cheesecake, 3 hours or overnight. Serve topped with whipped cream; dust with cocoa powder; scatter extra morello cherries over top.  Triple Yummy, yum!


  1. Happy Easter to you, to Clint and the furry people who let you live with them.
    And thank you so much for the recipes.
    The Cheese log and salad are right up my alley and the skinny one would enjoy a Cherry Ripe Cheesecake. If I am not too lazy.

  2. I am with EC, that salad sounds yummy and might even be doable for my sister this weekend.

    I will be thinking of you Lee as I do the Northern Beaches thing this weekend. Happy Easter to you.

    Your stories always crack me up ~ oops no egg jokes. I must say I have never had a Lindt bunny myself.

  3. Hey there, EC. Thanks for popping in. I hope you and the Skinny One have a wonderful Easter...eating the cheese log, salad and Cherry Ripe Cheesecake. :)

    Take good care.

  4. Hi Carol. Enjoy your trip to the beaches over the weekend...say "G'day" to them for me.

    Have a great weekend with your sister and your lad...stay safe on the roads.

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  5. Lee, the beaches say Hi back. The shops were crazily bare tonight ~ I wonder why. But I did get some green prawns and will be making garlic prawns for my sister and her hubby tomorrow night when they arrive from Mount Isa. The boy did not want to come up with me ~ so he is at home ~ cat sitting.

  6. I'd eat Clint, in fact he would have gone loooong ago!
    There again a hare could make a good stew for some folks. Quite what all this has to do with Easter I know not!
    You enjoying your time is however a good thing!

  7. That's why Clint the Lindt still sits safe and secure in my fridge and not yours, Adullamite...I haven't the heart to eat him now that he's become my friend.

    This has a lot to do with Easter!

  8. Would a chocolate bandy-legged old coot be too tough to eat? Methinks it would be.

  9. Depends if you've put your teeth in or not, Jerry! ;)

  10. I think you should buy a mate for Clint, he must be getting awfully lonely after all that time.

  11. He's got me, River! ;)

    Happy Easter to you!

  12. Thanks for the vegan recipe! The Easter Bird? We don't have him here...he must be Australian.

  13. Hi RK...I put those recipes up especially with you in mind. :)

    The Easter Bird was around when I was a little girl, RK...many moons ago. It was pretty popular within our family or those my friends in those years of yore! We'd all rush home from school on the Thursday and make nests in our hats ready for the Easter Bird to land.

    Someone must have plucked his feathers and scared him off...allowing the Easter Bunny to take his place! ;)

    "The Easter Bunny derives from an ancient association of hares, rabbits, and eggs with the fertile season of spring. Since rabbits and hares are prolific breeders that often produce large litters in the springtime, and birds lay their eggs around the same time, both have served as symbols of fertility in Western Europe since antiquity. The Easter Bunny combines these two events in the form of an egg-laying rabbit that heralds the season of new growth and life after the barren winter.

    The Easter Bunny seems to have started in Germany, where it is discussed in writing as early as the 16th century. German folklorist Jakob Grimm also wrote about German Easter customs in the 19th century, linking them to an ancient holiday known as Ostara, possibly also the name of a pagan goddess. In Western Europe, the Easter Bunny is a hare, called the Osterhase in German. Dutch settlers brought this tradition to the United States in the 18th century."

  14. It's probably just as well if you don't eat Clint after eight years! You might end up with a funny tummy or worse.

    I don't eat meat or fish on Good Friday, just a vegetarian meal. Last night it was a slab of zucchini slice with broccoli bake. Very delicious it was, too.

    Have a good Easter, Lee, and enjoy your Cherry Ripes. If I ever visited, they'd be safe from me. I don't like them.

  15. Hey Robyn...I have no idea how long chocolate keeps for...but there is no chance of me eating my mate. Clint and I will grow ungracefully old together!

    I've other chocolate (only dark choc) in the fridge that's also been there for quite a while. I like having it on hand...just for when and if I get the urge.

    I've liked Cherry Ripes since I was kid. I don't have them often...only every now and then - and at Easter. They do bring back lots of fond memories; Cherry Ripes and dark chocolate-coated ginger.

    I don't eat Mars bars or any others...

    YOur Good Friday dinner sounds very nice.

    Thanks for popping, too, have a very nice Easter. :)

  16. Carol...I apologise...I didn't see your second post. I hope you all enjoyed the garlic prawns...I love garlic prawns.

    The lad probably enjoyed being King of the House for the weekend; but I'll be he'll be glad to have you back at the reins. :)

  17. I can give the Cherry Ripe a miss but the asparagus....yes please!

  18. Great...all the more Cherry Ripes for me, Cosmo...and I'll just have to buy more asparagus.... ;)

    Nice to see you as always.

  19. This is so funny - I have a chocolate Easter bunny who lives in my fridge, too! For about 10 years. :) Hope your Easter was good!

  20. Well, there you go! Thanks for that, proves I'm not the only crazy one...or, maybe it proves both you and I are crazy! lol

    I'm pleased to hear that not only do I have a mate who thinks similar to how I do, but now I learn Clint has a friend, too. If we lived closer they could have sleep-overs! ;)

  21. Clint looks in very good shape for being around so many years.....I have a few of his brothers and sisters, myself...I always get some Lindt bunnies to give as little Easter treats to friends who stop by, or to families I know with little ones who might enjoy them....! For the longest time I couldn't get the Dark Chocolate ones, but this year I was able to get two---The rest, Milk Chocolate.

    From your recipes---you must be a GREAT Chef!!!!! They all sound quite yummy.....!

    Hope your day was a really lovely one, my dear!

  22. Hi Naomi...I only like and eat dark chocolate. Clint's in better nick than I am...but then he does live a sheltered life! ;)

    I used to cook a lot once...and I used to cook, I do as little cooking as possible.

    I had a very relaxing Easter weekend...doing very little...I hope you enjoyed yours. Thanks for coming by. :)

  23. Wow, that is one angry cat with the Easter bunny hat! I'm with you as far as avoiding hosting a big dinner party and then cleaning up. Sadly, we did host one and then sighed and grumbled as we cleaned up until midnight.

  24. But now that you've got your new kitchen, will be a breeze! :)