Plan a spring reunion for Easter dinner with Lidl Deluxe
In the second of our three-part Easter special, Elaine McDonnell prepares for an Easter reunion dinner inspired by Lidl's Deluxe range
Elaine McDonnell: Easter allows us to bring family and friends back together. Photographs: Conor Mulhern
With today’s busy lifestyles it can be hard for families to get together. For many, Easter is almost like a reunion, as Christmas was probably the last time you were all together. This time however, it’s a lot less stressful and much less expected, both financially and from a culinary perspective.
For my reunion dinner I stayed traditional, using the Lidl Deluxe range as inspiration. I hope that the main dishes – the spring lamb, the fresh herbs, the sweet tender carrots – all hint towards the approaching summer. Enjoy.
Pea and mint soup with parmesan crisps (serves four)
This is a classic and light soup with hints of the summer to come.
- 50g butter
- Splash of olive oil
- 4 spring onions
- 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 750ml veg or chicken stock
- 4 tbsp fresh mint
- Large pinch of caster sugar
- 500g frozen peas
Method for soup
Melt butter and olive oil in a large pot, add diced potato and chopped spring onion. Ensure the potato and onion is coated in butter and cook for just a few moments on a medium heat. Add garlic and cook for two more minutes. Pour in stock and bring to a simmer until potato has softened, so for about 10 minutes. Add frozen peas, mint and sugar and simmer for five more minutes. Remove pot from the heat and blitz until you have a smooth consistency.
Parmesan crisps (makes eight to 12)
- 8 tbsp of finely grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. If you have scone cutters, they come in handy in this simple recipe. I used my largest cutter which measures about eight centimetres in diameter. If you don’t have cutters to hand, just draw eight to 10cm circles on greaseproof paper. Using a pastry cutter, or the drawn circles as a guide, spread the grated parmesan evenly and bake for five to eight minutes until the crisps are golden and bubbly. Be careful not to overcook as the crisp can become bitter. Remove from oven and allow to cool .
Simple seafood platter (serves four)
Browse through the Lidl seafood shelves, choose your favourites and simply assemble to produce an impressive platter filled with your own choices.
Ingredients for platter
- Lidl Deluxe salmon side with a lemon and parsley crumb
- Lidl Deluxe frozen king prawns, shell on and easy peel (I used half of the 720g bag)
- 2x 80g Lidl Deluxe crab claws, cooked
- 200g beechwood smoked salmon slices
- For the salmon side, I followed the pack instructions and cooked for 45 minutes. I then cut the salmon side into bite-sized pieces.
I put the frozen prawns into some seasoned boiling water and boiled them until they turned pink (about five minutes). I added a bay leaf, one tsp of peppercorns, a pinch of sea salt and some lemon juice to the water. They can be served hot or cold. The crab claws come cooked but I warmed them through on a hot pan with some butter and garlic. To accompany the platter I bought some delicious brown soda bread from the bakery section in Lidl and made a simple lemon and dill dip.
For the dip
- 250g mayo
- The rind and juice of a lemon
- 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
Mix all of the ingredients together in a small dish and refrigerate for an hour – this allows the flavours to combine. Assemble the ingredients on a platter and enjoy.
Leg of lamb (serves four)
- Lidl Deluxe Irish stuffed carvery leg of lamb
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pint of veg stock
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Place the onions and carrots on the bottom of the oven tray, add stock and a bay leaf. Place the leg of lamb on the bed of vegetables. Pierce the leg of lamb with a sharp knife and insert garlic and rosemary sprigs into each incision. Cover with tin foil and place in the centre of the oven. Cook for 20 minutes per 454g (medium) or 35 minutes per 454g (well). Remove the foil and cook for an extra 20 minutes. Allow 10 minutes for the meat to rest.
Salmon with lemon and dill
Salmon is a great light main course alternative for springtime. Lidl have a great range of simple-to-prepare salmon sides. We chose a frozen side with a lemon and dill dressing. To prepare it, we simply baked it from frozen for 45 minutes, following the directions on the pack. With enough to serve six, it’s a wonderfully nutritious and flavour-packed choice.
Crispy layered thyme potatoes (serves four)
Instead of boiled or roasted, try something a little bit different this Easter. I used Lidl’s Irish Maris Piper potatoes as they are a great all-rounder.
- 1.5kg potatoes
- 120g butter, melted
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- Pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Peel potatoes and thinly slice using a mandoline or a sharp knife. Pat potatoes dry with a clean tea towel. Place potatoes in a large bowl and pour over the melted butter. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and sea salt. Make sure the potatoes are well coated in butter. Oil a 20 x 20 cm roasting tin and assemble the potato slices vertically. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes - the tops should be crisp and you can make sure the bottoms are cooked by inserting a skewer and ensuring the potatoes are soft.
Creamed cabbage (serves four)
A simple homely vegetable side dish.
- Savoy cabbage
- 3oz butter
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 3 to 5 tbsp double cream
Remove tough outer leaves and discard. Shred finely and rinse. Using a large pot, cover the bottom with water to a 1cm depth. Add cabbage and cook until it is starting to wilt. Add garlic and stir well. Stir in the cream and add salt to taste.
Vanilla panna cotta with strawberry sauce (serves four)
This is a classic Italian dessert. It’s delicate and sweet and is a welcome contrast to all of the chocolate at Easter time.
- 150 ml full fat milk
- 400ml double cream
- 60g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 sachet of powdered gelatin
Pour milk and cream into a pot and add sugar and vanilla seeds. Extracting vanilla seeds from the pod is done simply by splitting the pod lengthways with a knife and using the back of the knife to scrape the seeds from the pod. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Add powdered gelatin to 60ml of water and stir briskly to allow it to dissolve. Add the gelatin mixture to the cream and milk mixture and stir well. Tip into glasses and refrigerate. It will take about four hours for the mixture to set.
- 300g strawberries
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tsp cornflour
Wash and hull strawberries and place in a saucepan with caster sugar over a medium heat. Cook until juices begin to appear and sprinkle over the cornflour. Stir gently, simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool before adding a layer to the panna cotta.
Simnel cake (serves 12)
This is a traditional Easter cake, much like a lighter Christmas Cake. It has two layers of marzipan, one in the center and one on top. The 11 marzipan eggs on top are said to represent the Apostles, excluding Jesus.
- 100g glace cherries
- 500g mixed dried fruit
- 175g soft unsalted butter at room temp
- 175g caster sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 225g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- 25g ground almonds
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 kg marzipan
- Icing sugar for rolling
- 1 tbsp apricot jam, melted
Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Butter and line a 20cm cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar until very soft and light. Add the lemon zest. Put the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and ground almonds into a bowl and stir to combine. Add eggs, beating one at a time and with a spoon of the flour mix each time. Beat in the rest of the flour-mix and the milk. Fold in the fruit. Put half of the mixture into the cake tin and smooth. Roll out 400g of marzipan and place on top of the mixture, then adding the rest of the mixture and smoothing again. Bake for 30 minutes then turn the oven down to 150 degrees and cook for a further hour and a half. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, paint the cake with the melted apricot jam and roll out another circle of marzipan and place on top of the cake. Make 11 marzipan eggs and place on top of the cake. Traditionally, this is a very simply decorated cake but I had fun with some gold dust and mini eggs.
Lidl's Deluxe Irish stuffed carvery leg of lamb, produced by Irish Country Meats, was highly commended at the 2018 Q Awards – the Irish Quality Food Awards.
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