Easter on a plate

Smoked haddock fish cakes

Smoked haddock fish cakes - Credit: Angela Adams

As I write, the sun is shining and the sky is a wonderful springtime blue, and Easter is on its way. Sharon Turner and I have chosen some of our favourite recipes; fish for Good Friday, Roast lamb and of course chocolate for Easter Sunday.

Words: Mary Kemp Photos: Angela Adams

As I write, the sun is shining and the sky is a wonderful springtime blue, and Easter is on its way. Sharon Turner and I have chosen some of our favourite recipes; fish for Good Friday, Roast lamb and of course chocolate for Easter Sunday

Smoked Haddock Fish Cakes 

I love smoked haddock; you can use this recipe for a starter or main course, serving it with peppery salad leaves or green vegetables. They freeze brilliantly too. 

1kg smoked haddock 

1 egg 

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100g fresh breadcrumbs 

½ tsp salt 

Zest of 2 lemons 

1 tbsp chopped parsley 

1 tbsp tarragon 

4 tbsp finely chopped chives 

½ red onion, finely chopped 

To crumb and finish 

100g dried breadcrumbs 

2 eggs 

Pinch salt and pepper 

Vegetable oil for cooking 

  

Using a processor chop the fish very finely, and then mix thoroughly in a bowl with all the other ingredients. Divide into 12 balls, approx. 100g each. Flatten and create a patty/fish cake. Stand on a lined tray. Whisk the eggs and put the dried breadcrumbs in a bowl. Coat each fish cake in egg, then breadcrumbs. 

Chill or freeze at this point. 

Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan and gently cook through, for a good 5 minutes a side depending on the thickness, until golden brown. 

Tartare sauce 

200ml good mayonnaise 

½ red onion, finely chopped 

6 small gherkins, finely chopped 

2 heaped tsp capers chopped 

1 tbsp Dijon 

The grated zest and juice of 1 lemon 

2 tbsp chopped parsley 

Mix all the ingredients except the parsley, taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley just before serving. 

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Roast rack of lamb - Credit: Angela Adams

Roast rack of lamb with a fresh herb crust 

This recipe combines some of best spring ingredients you can eat; it's one I was given many years ago whilst training at Le Manoir, and I still love. It takes a little time to prepare, but it is worth every minute. You can have the lamb pre-prepared, the jus made and the potatoes in the oven, giving you lots of time with your guests knowing you have taken the stress out of cooking them a wonderful dinner.  
Serves 4 – 6 
 
2 x Best end of lamb; 6x8 bones- ask you butcher to French trim them and remove the backbone. 
English mustard 
1 x recipe of herb bread-crumbs mix

The jus 

The trimmings and bones of the two loins, and a little extra if your butcher has them. 
4 small tomatoes, chopped 
2 garlic cloves, crushed 
A good sprig of rosemary 
2 shallots, peeled and chopped 
150ml white wine 
450ml good chicken stock 
 
Heat a saucepan until very hot and add the lamb bones. You don’t need to add oil to the pan as there should be enough excess fat. Colour the bones over the heat; this should take about 10 minutes. Add the onions and garlic then, after a few minutes, the tomatoes and rosemary. (Alternatively, you can brown the bones in a hot oven at 220C, gas mark 7, and then transfer them to the saucepan to finish the stock.) 

Add the wine, bring to a boil and then reduce by a half. Cover the bones with the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 35-40 minutes. 

Once cooked, strain through a colander and reserve.

Herb breadcrumbs

150g white breadcrumbs 
1 clove garlic 
A handful of parsley 
3 good sprigs rosemary 
4 -5 sprigs thyme 
50ml rapeseed or olive oil 
salt and pepper 
 
Remove the herb leaves from any woody stalks. Then put all the ingredients in a food processor to chop and blend, add the oil and season. 
 
Cooking the lamb 
Pre-heat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6, or in an Aga use the roasting oven. 
Seal the lamb racks, fat side down, in a hot oven-proof pan for a couple of minutes each side. Then place then pan in the middle of the roasting oven for 8-10 minutes.  
Remove the pan from the oven and allow the meat to cool. Once the meat has cooled remove every other bone; this will make it easier to carve. 
Spread a little mustard on each rack and then a layer of herby breadcrumbs. At this point the lamb can be chilled until needed. But do remember to bring it back to room temperature before cooking. 
To cook the lamb - preheat the oven to 200C, Gas Mark 6, or use the Aga roasting oven and cook for 8-10 minutes for medium rare, 12- 15 minutes for medium. 
 
Reheat the jus, boil to reduce slightly. If you like a thicker sauce thicken with arrow root.  
Serve with fresh mint sauce or redcurrant jelly. 

We served a potato and celeriac dauphinoise with the lamb, which we made with 600g celeriac and 800g potatoes finely sliced, 900ml cream and 30ml milk, adding three sprigs of rosemary and two cloves of garlic. Serve with a medley of green vegetables, sprouting broccoli, peas and new season asparagus. 

Hot chocolate puddings with white ganache

Hot chocolate puddings with white ganache - Credit: Angela Adams

Hot chocolate puddings with white chocolate ganache 

Chocolate pudding with runny, white chocolate middles. Delicious! 

20g butter and a tbsp flour for preparing the moulds 

200g butter 

200g dark chocolate broken into pieces – I use Bournville 

6 eggs 

100g caster  

1tsp vanilla extract 

60g plain flour 

1 tsp cocoa powder 

White chocolate ganache 

120ml double cream 

300g white chocolate, broken into pieces 

30g butter 

Bring the cream to just below boiling point, remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until it has completely melted, continue stirring, adding the butter until smooth. Pour into a dish or small tub and chill and set. 

The puddings 

Pre-heat the oven to 170C, fan oven 150C, gas mark 4 – in a three or four oven Aga, cook on the grid shelf on the floor of the baking oven, in a two oven Aga on the grid shelf on the floor of the roasting oven, using the cold shelf to reduce the heat. 
Butter and flour 8 x 175ml pudding moulds and cut out a small circle of baking parchment, placing in the base of each mould. 

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl over simmering water. Stir to combine and stand to cool. 

In a food mixer whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick, mousse-like and pale. This can take several minutes. 

Pour over the chocolate mix and fold in. Sieve in the flour and cocoa powder and gently fold, until totally smooth. 

One third fill each mould, drop 1 tbsp white chocolate ganache in the centre and then completely cover with the rest of the mix. 

Bake for 15/20 mins until the top is firm and the sides have set. Rest in the moulds for five mins and turn out. 

Dust with a little extra cocoa powder and serve with a little cream if you are feeling indulgent.