Saturday, 31 March 2012

Easter Time!










Happy (almost) Easter everyone!  I absolutely love this time of year, the sun is shining (at the moment anyway), the daffodils are out in force and the lambs are leaping.  You can't help but feel optimistic and positive.  The shops are full of cheerful, lovely things and all I can think about is sprucing up my home and garden.   

We have the long Easter weekend ahead of us and I am determined not spend the whole break decorating, I want to do a bit of entertaining too.  Even though I have a lot of things that need attending to on my ridiculously long 'to-do' list...call this person, email that person, paint a door, pot some plants...it goes on and on!  I am one of those annoying people who writes everything down, I think even 'go to the gym' is on my current list of 'things to do'!  But surely all this can wait?  I also have the wedding of two of my dearest friends to attend on Easter Saturday that is going to be held in true English countryside extravagance, I can hardly wait. 


I’m full of inspiration at the moment so I have started to plan my Easter entertaining and if the weather stays glorious then I might move the feast outside.  Here are two fabulous table settings that have been inspiring me so far this Easter. 



I just love how the pretty white flowers have been encased in Easter nests, how sweet!  I think numerous nests placed down the centre of an Easter table would look amazing, yet very simple.   



Why not transform your trusted cake stand in to an Easter centre piece.  Add a few chocolate or ceramic eggs, some foliage, place a few nests and hey presto, a magical table decoration that will definitely be a talking point.  


Here at Butterfly Lane we absolutely love this Easter wreathe to hang on the front door to greet your guests! 



All images from the Butterfly Lane's Pinterest page including Dreamy White
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Hot cross buns and tea, what more could you want as an Easter afternoon treat?  But I have now found this amazing hot cross bun pudding recipe, for an after dinner treat too.  It is delicious and super easy to make, I highly recommend it for an Easter dessert to be proud of.  It's pretty much a variation on the traditional bread and butter pudding but with a twist. 


Hot Cross Bun Pudding


Ingredients


600ml semi-skimmed milk
600ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
4 medium eggs
170g caster sugar 
6 hot cross buns, sliced and buttered
3 tablespoons of Cognac
A handful of dried apricots, chopped
Zest of one orange 
A little icing sugar 


Method


Preheat the over to 170°C/325°F/gas 3. For the custard base, bring the milk and cream just to the boil in a saucepan. Cut the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds and add to the pan. Whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale, then whisk in the milk and cream mixture, removing the vanilla pod shell.

Dip the hot cross bun halves in the mixture, then place in an ovenproof dish. Drizzle over the Cognac and sprinkle over the apricots and the orange zest. Sieve the custard over, and leave it all to soak for at least 15 minutes.

Place the dish in a roasting tin, half-fill the tin with hot water, then bake the pudding for about 45 minutes. When cooked it will have a slight crust on top but will still be slightly wobbly inside. Dust with the icing sugar and s
erve.

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Here's another option...


Summer Fruits Victoria Sponge 

This is a trusted recipe in my family and as the nights are getting lighter and the sun is shining I love this spectacular summer inspired cake.  Topped with lashings of berries, it is a real feast for the eyes.  I would normally opt for just a single tier, but how amazing would this three tiered creation be for a summer wedding or special occasion!  Also no need to always fully ice the cake, it looks equally appealing with just lashing of berries on top.




Ingredients 


For the sponge











  • 225g butter
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • Zest of a large orange
  • Extra butter and flour for greasing
  • 2 x 8in Victoria sandwich tins

  • For the jam
    • 250g raspberries
    • Splash of orange juice (use the orange from the sponge)
    • 1 heaped tbsp golden caster sugar

    • For the butter cream (this can also be placed on the top of the cake to secure the berries):
      • 250g butter, softened
      • 250g icing sugar
      • Juice of ½ an orange
      • Zest of a large orange

      Method

      Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

      Cream the butter and sugar together.  Mix the eggs together in a separate bowl and then pour in to the mixture. Sieve the flour and add the orange zest.  

      Split the mixture evenly in to both cake tins.  Whilst they are baking, make your jam and icing.

      For the jam, put the raspberries and orange juice, with a heaped tablespoon of golden caster sugar in to a small pan.  Heat gently and allow to slowly break down, and reduce in to a jammy consistency.  Leave to cool.

      For the icing, mix the softened butter with sieved icing sugar.  Juice half an orange and zest a whole orange and add to the mixture.

      When the cake is ready, put the butter cream and jam on one cake and then sandwich both cakes together.  

      If you are not icing the cake, spread the remaining butter cream on the top and add the berries and more grated orange zest.

      Yum!
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Easter Egg Time!




Easter Eggs are filling the shelves in the supermarkets around the country, however, I am always keen to get something different than the bog standard Cadbury’s offering.  Here are my top picks for people after something a little bit different this Easter, but who are still  chocolate lovers!  


For the adults...
Beautifully painted trio of eggs from Fortnum and Mason £45.00 


What a grown up and luxurious Easter egg!  £26 from Hotel Chocolat


For the little ones...






Lots of fun!  £12 from John Lewis




A gift that they can use after the chocolate has gone!  The plant pot and trowel comes with a pack of seeds too!  £10 from John Lewis.


I always like to give the children in my family a little present to go with their Easter egg and here are a few things I have got my eye on for my gorgeous nephews (and I have thrown in a few girly options that I would be definitely snapping up if I had a little girl in my family)…


Every child loves a cuddly toy. and this cute bunny rabbit, £9 by Jellycat is so sweet.



Ideal for your little ones to collect their eggs during their Easter Egg Hunt!  £5 by John Lewis


What adorable little slippers!  Also available in blue.  £16 by Doudou et Compagnie
There was something lovely about receiving an Easter egg cup when I was a little girl (in fact I still have them all!), so I think this book with accompanying egg cup will do just the job as an Easter gift.  £8.49 from John Lewis.


Have a wonderful Easter everyone!  X






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