I’m not a religious person. I do however, love a good tradition. Coming from an Eastern European background, food and religion are tightly woven together. While the religion has faded through the generations, the food traditions have not. I’m more a glutton than anything, so any excuse for a big feed isn’t going to go missed. Now Easter has come and gone and I thought it might be nice to share what it was that I had on my table.
I went a little OTT with the whole cute Easter theme. It’s like the Easter Bunny/Martha Stewart threw up on our dining room table. I’m not mad at it.
Season of abundance and all that jazz, I feel it was only right to provide a cornucopia of chocolate on every surface. I feel I succeeded.
Now for the main attraction; food. Being a Russian Easter we had a few traditional staples. A brioche-like sweet bread known as Kulich served with a creamy ricotta spread, speckled with booze soaked sultanas. Originally farmers curd or quark is used but I’ve found ricotta to be a good substitute. Studded with almonds are the letters “X” and “B” which loosely translates to “Christ has Risen”. Both are delicious not only on the day but the proceeding days after, however I have no qualms with these being made year round.
Next up was the cake. Again I went a little overboard…
It’s just a basic chocolate cake with a simple chocolate buttercream, assaulted with Easter eggs, Lindt balls and leftover chocolate nests. I mean…it’s ridiculous.
Sides were simple lemon roasted potatoes and another Russian staple of cucumbers with a bushel of dill and a splash of white vinegar. Not pictured was the abundance of side dished my family members provided us with (quinoa salads, roasted chicken legs, roast vegetables etc).
For main I made a ridiculously easy roast lamb dish. Heres a simple run down of the ingredients.
1 leg of lamb (I’m not going to specify weights here as it can vary so much and as this is slow cooked at a low temperature you can’t go wrong with whatever the weight)
2 large onions chopped finely
2 large carrots chopped finely
1 large leek chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 stalks of rosemary
2 tins of white beans (sometimes I use butterbeans, sometimes navy, all work fine)
large bunch of mint
large bunch of parsley
1 cup of white wine
2 cups water
1 tablespoon mint sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
The whole thing couldn’t be more simple.
In a large fry pan heat the oil and throw in the onion, leeks and carrot. Soften for 10 minutes gently before adding in the rosemary, bay leaf and white wine.
Let that bubble away and bung in the beans, water and mint sauce. Chop all the herbs and sprinkle half into this mixture. Pour this all into a large baking dish and proudly sit the lamb on top of it’s comfy bed. Sprinkle the leftover herbs over the top, along with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and a glug of olive oil.
Into a very hot oven (220 degrees) blister the leg for 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and cover tightly with foil before returning into the over. Set the temperature down very low (about 140) and leave for 6 hours. After which it should be tender and falling apart blissfully while the bean mixture under should have formed crusty edges (this is a desirable phrasing) and be a great gravy substitute. I also like to squeeze half a lemon over the top once it’s rested and ready to serve.
Well that was what was on my table. If you want more Russian based recipes let me know. I know I didn’t share any with any detailed recipes but I ran out of time in all my prep to take extra photos. I’ll leave a link below to two recipes I have used in the past for both the Kulich and Pashka.
Enjoy this picture of my cousin’s dog Tiffany. I mean…come on.
Hope you all had a lovely Easter