Easter traditions are many and varied. In South Africa, hot cross buns and pickled fish are staples in their own right. There is simnel cake in the United Kingdom, pashka in Russia, and mämmi in Finland.
Now we know that Oom Oubaas from 7de Laan warned you about ‘volksvreemde disse,’ so you don’t have to try anything over-the-top. Unless you want to, of course.
For this article, we drew inspiration from celebrities chefs, topping it all off with a hot-cross bun pudding and Suzelle’s famous bunny cake.
Stuffed BBQ milk fish
Nico Mandranca from Rey’s Place said growing up, the staples they had over Easter included fish, eggs and vegetable because meat was forbidden during Lent.
The main course was Inihaw na Bungas (BBQ milk fish, which is a type of sole, stuffed with Filipino chimichurri and sasawan.) It might sound like a mouthful, but it’s very easy to prepare.
For this dish, you’ll need whole milk fish, tomato, onion, ginger, garlic, chilli and juiced calamansi or lime.
- A piece milk fish bangus, with scales but guts removed
- 1 piece tomato ripe, diced
- A piece red onion diced
- 1 piece lemon or 3 pieces calamansi
- A tablespoon ginger minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Wash the milk fish. Pat it dry using a paper towel.
- Open the incision and then rub the salt on the inside of the dish. The fish should have an incision either above or below the belly area.
- Meanwhile, combine tomato, onion, and ginger in a large bowl. Squeeze some lemon juice in and add the ground black pepper. Gently stir.
- Stuff the mixture inside the milkfish.
- Grill the fish in medium heat for about 10 to 12 minutes per side.
- Serve with toyomansi and steamed rice.
Roast Pork in a pressure cooker
For chef Michael Otto, Easter is synonymous with traditional Italian food. He has fond memories of eating dyed boiled eggs at his Nonno’s home and added that she made the best dolmades he had ever tasted.
The main course was roast pork prepared in a pressure cooker, accompanied by a “rainbow of vegetables, bowls overflowing with pasta and salads made from the season’s bounty.”
- Instant Pot
- Pork Shoulder
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 2 Tbsp Worcester Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Mixed Herbs
- A Tbsp Rosemary
- 1 Chicken Stock Cube
- Salt & Pepper
- Place the olive oil and the coconut oil in the bottom of the Instant pot and use the palm of your hand to rub it about so that the bottom is well covered.
- Place the pork shoulder into the Instant Pot on top of the oils.
- Score the top of the pork.
- Mix all of your seasonings and the chicken stock cube in a bowl and then rub into the top of your pork.
- Place the lid on your Instant Pot and cook on the slow cooker setting for four hours.
- Take the lid off and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve with warm crusty bread or in wraps.
Dominika Sikorska, a Polish Chef and owner of the Pierogi Pierogi food truck, swears by handmade, pan-fried dumplings. She recalls how her family would spend Good Friday and Holy Saturday labouring in the kitchen for Sunday’s feast.
“We prepare the feast and bake the meat, but while we are doing it, we can’t eat the meat. We also go to church with our beautifully-prepared baskets. It is a big day.”
- 250g/9oz self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 150ml/5fl oz warm water
- 300ml/10½fl oz soured cream
- small handful fresh dill, to garnish
Mushroom and sauerkraut filling
- 50g/2oz dried mushrooms
- 250g/9oz ready-made sauerkraut (available in jars from larger supermarkets)
- 40g/1½oz butter
Cottage cheese and potato filling
- 250g/9oz floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper, cut into pieces
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 250g/9oz half-fat cottage cheese
Mushroom and sauerkraut filling
- Soak the dried mushrooms in 300ml water and set aside to infuse for 1 hour.
- Drain the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse under a tap to remove some of the acidity. Transfer to a pan of boiling water. Reduce the heat until the water is simmering and cook the sauerkraut for 30 minutes. Drain well.
- Remove the mushrooms from the water using a slotted spoon, reserving the water. Finely chop the mushrooms.
- Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sauerkraut, mushrooms and the reserved water. Bring the mixture to the boil. Continue to boil the mixture until all of the liquid has evaporated, then remove from the heat and set aside until cool.
Cottage cheese and potato filling:
- Boil the potatoes in a pan of salted water until soft enough to mash (about 20 minutes). Drain well and set aside to cool.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onions for 4-5 minutes, or until crisp and browned. Reserve a tablespoonful of the onions for the garnish.
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Fill the well with the salt, oil and water. Using your fingers, gradually stir the flour into the wet ingredients, until the mixture comes together as a soft dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5-8 minutes, or until it is smooth and glossy. Wrap the dough in a clean tea towel and set aside to rest in a cool room for at least 20 minutes.
- When the potatoes have cooled, transfer them to a large bowl and crumble over the cottage cheese. Mash until smooth, then stir in the fried onions until well combined. Set aside.
- To shape the pierogi, roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 3mm. Cut 10cm rounds from it using a pastry cutter.
- Place one teaspoonful of the cottage cheese and potato filling into half of the pastry rounds, and one teaspoonful of the mushroom and sauerkraut filling into the remaining pastry rounds. Brush a little water around the edge of each pastry round, then fold the edges together to create a bulging semi-circular dumpling, pressing the edges together to seal.
- Poach the pierogi, in batches if necessary, in a deep-sided pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes, or until they float to the surface.
- To serve, pile the pierogi onto serving plates and serve the soured cream in small bowls alongside. Sprinkle with the reserved fried onions and the dill. Recipe from BBC.
Hot Cross Bun Bread Pudding
Tammi’s Nutella Hot Cross Bun Bread Pudding is simply to die for. Tammi says on her blog that hot cross buns were a “completely foreign idea” to her before she moved to Australia. She explains:
“Most of the bread I had growing up was savoury, so needless to say when I got exposed to fruit breads, I became obsessed because now it felt like there should be sultanas in everything. I decided to combine my love for bread pudding and a newfound appreciation for the hot cross bun, into a next level dessert to warm you up this winter.”
You will need six hot cross buns, cream, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, Nutella and hazelnuts.
- 6 hot cross buns
- 180 ml cream (3/4 cup)
- 500 ml milk (2 cups)
- 4 large eggs
- 150 g white sugar (caster preferred)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 80 g Nutella
- 5 g of peeled hazelnuts, roughly chopped (optional)
- Heat your oven to 170C.
- Cut the buns in half horizontally and spread both sides generously with Nutella. Go on, you can’t have too much Nutella in your life.
- Place into a pan that will fit the buns in snugly.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, till the sugar is completely dissolved. For extra smoothness, strain the custard mixture through a fine sieve.
- Pour slowly over the buns. The pan might seem quite full, but it’s just because the buns haven’t absorbed the custard yet.
- Leave to soak for 20 minutes or so, pressing on the buns gently to encourage said soaking.
- Place the pan into a larger roasting pan, and fill the larger pan halfway up with hot water from a kettle.
- Scatter over hazelnuts, if using.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, turning halfway through, until the pudding is very lightly browned on the top and it still is slightly wobbly.
- Remove from the water and leave for 10 minutes to rest before serving.
Suzelle’s Bunny Cake
Because everybunny can. Her quick guide is only 42 seconds long. No reason not to indulge a little bit this Easter weekend!