Entertaining at Easter: Two Dinner Menus

I love that Easter is early this year, and we can send March on its way with chocolate eggs, homemade hot cross buns and bouquets of pink tulips.

Honestly, this month has been really tough in our household, with one sickness after another, four ER visits, antibiotics, allergic reactions to those antibiotics, missed school days and more sleepless nights than usual. I’m so ready for April, and spring, and weather warm enough that I can throw open the windows and air the whole place out. Who is with me?

In anticipation of the long weekend ahead, I’m guessing many of you are menu planning and making grocery lists.  Here on the blog we’ve made brunch plans, laid out a few menus for Easter lunch, and now I want to give you two menu suggestions for hosting dinner with friends and family.

Just to be clear, there’s no way am I suggesting that you host all three of these meals, but I do love to provide inspiration for any and all occasions.

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Entertaining at Easter: Two Lunch Menus

Let’s lunch! After months of desk lunches and brown bagging it, Easter long weekend provides an opportunity to plan a get-together with friends over a casual – but elegant – midday meal.

Whether you are hosting the in-laws for an informal ‘do’ or looking to catch up with a gaggle girlfriends, here are two menu ideas that can be adapted for any occasion. The first is planned around a sit-down lunch, where you can set a pretty table and bring out the best dishes.

The second menu is meant to be set out buffet style or passed around on trays for more of a standing and mingling lunch. It also provides some great do-ahead ideas, such as small jars of pretty panna cotta, which can be prepare several days in advance.

Whatever your style, I’m sure you’ll find inspiration in this post for entertaining this spring.

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Entertaining at Easter: A Brunch Menu

The Easter long weekend just might be one of my favourite occasions to entertain and I’ve been hosting a brunch for well over a decade on the spring holiday.

Easter brunch is the perfect opportunity to invite friends and family over and set a pretty table. Clara and I always dye a few eggs for a centrepiece, playing around with real ingredients for natural dyes. I iron my grandmother’s embroidered tablecloth and round up all my floral and pastel dishes. It’s okay if they are mismatched; they still look elegant.

And then there is the menu, which is always so fun to plan, but whether you simply bake a tray of hot cross buns and brew a pot of coffee or go for an elaborate ham & eggs spread, it’s the act of gathering that matters the most.

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Overnight Maple Hot Cross Buns

I wasn’t intending to develop a new recipe over the weekend, but I was playing around with these maplelicious hot cross buns and they turned out so well, I knew I had to share my notes and findings in a recipe.

On Friday evening I was in need of a little baking therapy (it’s a real thing, you know). Recent news and events from the week had left me floundering a bit; I needed to find my ground – and I aways find it in the kitchen.

I ground cardamom, cracked eggs, measured maple sugar and by the time I had the dough mixed up and in the fridge, I was already feeling better.

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Feed-a-Crowd Perfect Chocolate Cake

We’ve just come through our birthday season, celebrating both Clara and Mateo with two different events and enough cake from both parties to feed a small army. Honestly, with the size of our extended family, there’s no such thing as too much cake.

I wasn’t planning to share this recipe here, because, well, it’s full of sugar and you, dear reader, tend to enjoy naturally sweetened recipes like the beloved Dark Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake, a Apple Spice Cake or this Banana Layer Cake.

But the practical side of me won out because this slab cake feeds a crowd with ease, and keeps them very, very happy. This is a recipe you only come across once in a lifetime, after far too many ho-hum chocolate cakes. This one makes you stop talking and pay attention to the slice on the plate in front of you. It makes your guests exclaim aloud – and when the party has dwindled, make a request for a piece to take home.

In short, it’s perfect for your Easter long weekend entertaining [Read more…]