An Easter Staycation

For most people, Easter weekend is a four-day celebration involving gratuitous eating and drinking with family and friends.

This year, it is going to be quite different for many people, so we’ve put together a list of things you can do to at home instead.

How to Cook Duck Casserole

Recipe from our Founder, Katy Simpson.

I usually do 8 legs. Season on both sides.

Roast for about 15 -20mins (180 fan) with a little thyme, shallots, few garlic cloves until the skin tightens, brown a little and release its fat.

Transfer the legs to a casserole dish skin side up season.

Using some of the duck fat and essence, make a gravy using a spoonful of flour and half a bottle of red wine or less wine and more water or chicken stock. (I tend to use Merlot) add a spoonful of redcurrant jelly, juice of 1 orange.

You need enough gravy to go up to half cover the legs.  add the shallots and 2 prunes per leg. 

Cover with foil and put the lid on.

Oven cook cool 140 fan Gas 4 for 1-1.5 hr until the meat is tender.

The skin looks anaemic and flabby at this stage …don’t worry.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Any excess fat will come to the surface which you can remove by laying a piece of kitchen roll on the surface a few times…a little fat gives it richness though.

(you can at this stage refrigerate overnight if you want and then remove the fat) which has hardened)

About a 1.5 hr before you want to serve, place back in the oven at 140 fans until it warms through a little, then remove the lid and foil, season the skin with salt, turn up to 180. The sauce will reduce, thicken and the skin brown.

Check on it regularly at this stage…. add a little water if you lose too much sauce.

It is a very forgiving recipe and easily adapted. I’ve made it with rose wine and fresh peaches in the summer even dried apricots, figs. all sorts. just check the sweetness level Prunes tend to darken it and make it sweet but you can use anything even brandy…all seems to work 

If you use soft fruit like blackberries add them towards the end they are just warming through. 

Serve with dauphinoise potatoes

An Easter Egg Hunt With The Family

You can still do the traditional Easter egg hunt with the family around the garden or in the house. If you wanted to make it a little different or were struggling to get hold of chocolate eggs, you could always paint stones in Easter egg designs with your children and hide these instead for a grand prize at the end!

Picnic At Home

You don’t have to go outside for a picnic – get creative and turn the inside outside. Try a romantic night in, throw a blanket on the floor, ice bucket and Fizz, use your best glasses, an assortment of nibbles and then turn the TV on to a still landscape or coastal shot.

Do Some Baking

Try the recipe below for an incredible Honey, Blackberry & Bay Tart.

Pastry

150gr plain flour

100gr ground almonds

2 x teaspoons of honey

90gr unsalted cold butter cut into cubes

1 x free-range egg

50ml cold milk

Frangipane

100gr unsalted butter

4 x tablespoons of honey

2 x free-range eggs

100gr ground almonds

2 x tablespoons of plain flour

½ a Lemon – Zest only

½ an Orange – Zest only

1 x Vanilla Pod / Scrap seeds out with sharp knife

450gr Blackberries

6 x  Bay Leaves

To Serve:

Crème Fraiche

Running honey

Pre-heat oven to 200 c (180 fan)

Lazy pastry goes straight into food processor. Everything in, except milk, pulse to crumb like texture and then slowly add milk. Take out and form ball on counter top adding more flour if needed.

Wrap dough in Clingfilm and put into fridge to rest for 30 minutes or longer.

Butter your tart tin. Roll out your pastry onto flour counter until it is ½ cm thick. Ease into tin, pushing pastry into sides, trim off excess. Then prick the base with fork and back into fridge for 30 minutes.

Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill up to the top of case with baking beans and blind bake for 10 minutes. Take out the case, remove beans and paper, return to oven for another 5 minutes until firm. Then leave to cool.

Now to make the frangipane – I use a mixer for ease. Mix the butter and honey until smooth, add eggs and stir well.  Then add almonds, flour, citrus zest and vanilla seeds from pod. Mix together until you have a smooth thick paste. Scatter the blackberries on base of tart case, then pour on top the frangipane, add bay leaves on top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Remove bay leaves.

Serve with crème Fraiche and a teaspoon of honey. You can decorate the plate with fresh bay leaves from the garden, a couple of blackberries and a dusting of icing sugar.

Enjoy!

Family Quiz

Even though the pubs are sadly closed, many of them are doing weekly quizzes for a small donation. You can even create an online team with family members or friends via zoom conference call. Look online at your local pubs, or even try out some new ones and see which ones have quizzes available.

At Home Spa Day

Just because you can’t go to the spa, doesn’t mean it can’t come to you! Run a hot bath, light some candles and play some relaxing music to unwind. Try a body scrub, moisturise, hair mask or even a manicure with your favourite Noble Isle hand lotion.

DIY / Upcycle

There are probably many little jobs around the house that you’ve been needing to do for a while but haven’t had the time – now is the perfect time! If you fancy something slightly more creative, why not try upcycling? You can buy old furniture on sites like eBay and spend time making them into something beautiful. Try buying some old pine bedside tables, sanding them down and painting them with chalk paint. Add some new handles and voila!

Read a Good Book

Taking the time to sit down and spend a few hours reading a good book is not something we usually have the luxury of being able to do, apart from on holiday.

Here are the top books on Goodreads for April 2020: https://www.goodreads.com/book/popular_by_date/2020/April/

Sorry to see you go

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