By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
Forget cheap Easter eggs and overcooked lamb, here’s our roundup of the only things you need to be eating and drinking across the Bank Holiday weekend.
Bar 8’s Easter Cocktail
For the glass
Gold drinking straw
For the Easter mix
Dark chocolate (90%), 2kg
Grand Marnier, 1 bottle
Cointreau, 2 bottles
Grand Marnier, 20ml
Fill an Old Fashioned glass with hay.
Place foil wrapped Easter egg on top of hay and peel foil down to expose the chocolate.
Drill a hole in the top of the egg, big enough to fit the straw through.
Shake 100ml of the warm Easter mix (recipe below) with ice and fine strain the mix through a funnel into the Easter egg.
Remove the funnel and Insert the gold straw and serve.
To make the Easter mix
Melt 2kg dark chocolate.
Warm one bottle of Grand Marnier and two bottles of Cointreau in a glass washer.
Mix together chocolate and alcohol in a bucket, then bottle in empty water bottles.
Store in the fridge then when needed; put the bottle in the glass washer making sure that the cap is on securely.
Bar 8 can be found at 8 Mount Street, London, W1K 3NF.
Victory Mansion’s Pan seared Lamb Chops, Samphire & Hazelnut Praline
Caster sugar, 50g
Hazelnuts, 50g, peeled and roasted
Banana shallot, ½, finely diced
Lemon zest, ½
Lamb chops, 4, trimmed
Ground black pepper
Rapeseed oil, for searing
Put the sugar and water into a small pan and place over heat. Reduce, watching all the time until the sugar turns to deep caramel, remove from heat immediately and stir in nuts.
Pour straight onto baking paper and allow to fully cool. Pulse in a food processor until resembles thick shiny sand.
Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Take a skillet pan and put on heat until smoking hot. Add a splash of rapeseed oil. Sear seasoned lamb chops for a minute on either side, then add half the butter and put in the oven for 3 minutes.
Move to a cooling rack to rest and keep the skillet pan with the juices from the lamb chops.
In a small saucepan, cook the finely diced shallots in a splash of olive oil until they start to go translucent. Next, add the samphire, a pinch of salt and turn the heat right down. Slowly warm the samphire through.
Take the skillet pan and return to a low heat, add the hazelnut praline and a big pinch of black pepper, stir constantly until all cooking juices have been absorbed and the praline has started to darken slightly. Remove from heat.
To serve, place the samphire on the bottom of the plate, stack the Lamb Chops on top, and spoon the Praline on top of the chops.
Victory Mansion can be found at 18 Stoke Newington High Street, London, N16 7PL.
Del’Aziz’s Rabbit & Blood Orange Tagine
Rabbit, 1, cut into 8 pieces
Ras el hanout, 2 tbsp
Ground coriander, 1 tbsp
Smoked paprika, 1tsp
Extra virgin olive oil, 4 tbsp
Onion, 1, finely chopped
Garlic cloves, 2-3, finely chopped
Celery, 2 sticks, finely chopped
Vegetable stock, 2l
Baby carrots, 12-15, blanched
Blood orange, 1, cut into segments
Blood orange, juice of 1
Sea salt & black pepper
Put the rabbit pieces into a large bowl. Pour 2 tbsp of olive oil over the rabbit, followed by the ras el hanout, coriander and paprika. Mix well and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Remove the rabbit from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Heat a flameproof terra-cotta Tagine pot, or other heavy-duty pot over high heat. Add the rabbit pieces and cook until golden-brown all over. Take the rabbit pieces out of the pot.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining olive oil to the pot. Add the onion, garlic, celery, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until all is soft.
Put the rabbit into the pot and add the stock. Cook at a low heat about 90 minutes until the rabbit pieces are very tender. Check the seasoning.
Before serving add the carrots and cook for further a few minutes. Add the orange juice & orange segments and sprinkle the fresh herbs over.
Serve with steamed couscous.
Further information on Del’Aziz’s various outposts can be found at delaziz.co.uk.
Bo Drake’s Carrot Top
Egg white, 20ml
Dash of celery bitters
Pressed carrot juice, 200ml
Add all ingredients to a Boston shaker and shake with ice.
Make sure that the contents are shaken well to create a nice foam.
Double strain into a tall glass and serve.
Bo Drake can be found at 6 Greek St, London, W1D 4DE.
Bel & The Dragon’s Slow Cooked Spring Lamb, Spring Vegetables & Mint
Serves 4 – 6
Shoulder of Lamb, 2.5kg
Chicken stock, 250ml
Onions, 3, peeled and cut into wedges
Carrots, 3, chopped
Celery sticks, 2, chopped
Garlic clove, 1, peeled
Thyme sprigs, 10
2 Rosemary stalks
Black peppercorns, 1 tbsp
Fennel seeds, 1tsp
Coriander seeds, 1tsp
Star anise, 5
Rosemary sprigs, 2-3, top part only
Gluten-free flour, 2-3 tbsp
Milk, 2-3 tbsp
Demerara sugar, to season
Salt, to season
Roasted root vegetables
Dust 2-3 sprigs of rosemary with gluten-free flour. Dip into the milk then dust with gluten-free flour again and deep fry until crisp. Drain the excess oil then season to taste.
Place the lamb, onion, carrots, celery and garlic in a large pan and heat until the meat has browned all over. Transfer the lamb and vegetables to a deep baking tray, add the remaining ingredients and cover with water.
Place the oven tray on top of the stove, bring to simmer then remove from the heat and cover tightly with tin foil. Cook in a low temperature oven (130 – 140C) for 5 hours until tender.
Remove and leave the lamb to rest in its juices. Once cool, you can remove the bone and any excess fat. Roll in cling film to make a ‘large sausage’ and tie both ends. Allow to cool in the fridge for up to 4 hours before slicing into portions and removing the cling film.
Next, skim any residue from the surface of the stock and strain (leaving behind the rosemary and thyme). Reduce by 1/3 and season with salt and Demerara sugar.
In a hot pan, gently heat the lamb and add the reduced lamb stock. Transfer to an oven at 180C for 10 minutes and baste until the lamb is fully glazed.
Serve the glazed lamb with the remaining jus, mint sauce, roasted root vegetables & crispy rosemary.
Further information on Bel & The Dragon’s various outposts can be found at belandthedragon.co.uk.
Darbaar’s Baked Leg of Rabbit on the Bone with Rajasthani Chilli
For the rabbit
Legs of rabbit, 4, skinned
Ginger garlic paste (equal amounts), 2 tsp
Salt, 2 tsp
Malt vinegar, 100ml
Ground turmeric, ½ tsp
Vegetable or corn oil, 2 tbsp
Black peppercorns, 1 tsp
Bay leaf, 1
Rabbit stock or water, 500ml
For the chilli and corn Sauce
Ghee or clarified butter, 100g
Black cardamom pods, 2
Bay leaf, 1
Onions, 2, finely chopped
Green chillies, 3, chopped
Ground turmeric, ½ tsp
Salt, 1 tsp
Garlic paste, 1 tbsp
Sweet corn kernels, 200g
Plain yoghurt, 4 tbsp
Rabbit stock or water, 150ml
Fresh ginger, 2 ½ inch piece, finely chopped
Fresh coriander, 4 tbsp, chopped
Lemon, juice of 1
Marinate the rabbit legs with ginger paste, garlic paste, salt, vinegar and ground turmeric.
Heat the oil in a large pan; sear the rabbit legs on both the sides, until crisp and light brown in colour.
Place them in a baking tray; add the remaining spices and the rabbit stock. Cover with aluminium foil and put in an oven at 180C/350F/ Gas Mark 4 for 60 minutes.
To make the corn sauce, heat the ghee or clarified butter in a heavy bottom pan and add the cloves, cardamom and bay leaf.
When they start to crackle, add the onions and cook on a medium heat, until golden. Add the chillies and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the turmeric and salt and cook briskly for a minute taking care that the dry spices do not burn.
Add the garlic paste and cook stirring for a couple of minutes. Now add three quarters of the corn and all the yoghurt.
Cook gently for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the corn is nearly mashed and the sauce is becoming thick.
Add the rabbit stock or water, bring back to the boil, then add the ginger, coriander and the remaining corn.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the braised rabbit legs and simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and add the lemon juice.
Place the rabbit leg on the corn sauce and serve with bread or rice.
Daarbar can be found at 1 Snowden Street, London, EC2A 2DQ.
Dirty Martini’s Chocolate Martini
Absolut vanilla vodka, 20ml
Briottet Crème de Cacao, 20ml
Double Cream, 15ml
Chocolate Powder, 2 tsp
Place two spoons of chocolate powder in the base of a Boston mixing glass.
Add three bar spoons of Double Cream.
Mix cream and Chocolate Powder to create a paste.
Add remaining alcohol ingredients to the Boston mixing glass.
Add cubed ice to fill the glass and shake vigorously.
Double strain into chilled Martini glass.
Garnish and serve.
Further information on Dirty Martini’s various outposts can be found at dirtymartini.uk.com.
The Salt Room’s Lamb Rump
Sussex lamb rumps, 4
Thyme, 1 sprig
Garlic, 1 clove
Bay leaf, 1
Course polenta, 500g
Wild garlic, 1kg
Sussex rapeseed oil, 400ml
Goats curd, 100g
Lamb jus, 100ml
Globe artichokes, 4, cooked
Crispy garlic, 1tsp
First, set a water bath to 62.5 degrees. (If you don’t have a water bath at home, a number of alternative DIY methods can be found online).
To make the polenta, infuse the milk with the garlic, bay, thyme for around 1 hour and strain off.
Bring the milk to the boil and whisk in the course polenta and cook out until ready, fold in the butter and parmesan.
Once fully incorporated, pour the polenta into a shallow try and leave to set in the fridge.
Trim the lamb rump of any sinew and remove the thin layer off sinew off of the fat on the top, make sure that you don’t pierce the fat.
Place the lamb rump in individual sous vide bags with olive oil, 1/2 clove garlic and thyme. Seal on full and drop into the water bath for 2 hours.
Wash 800g of wild garlic and blanch in salted boiling water for 10 seconds and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain, squeeze dry, and chop. Place into a blender with the rapeseed oil and blitz then pass through a sieve.
Cut out the polenta to your desired shape and grill until coloured.
Remove the lamb from the water bath, once out of the bag, pat dry, pan fry and finish with butter. Rest for 5 minutes.
Cut the lamb into three, place the polenta on the plate, followed by the lamb, cooked artichokes and goats curd, dress the plate with the wild garlic leaves, lamb jus, wild garlic oil and crispy garlic.
The Salt Room can be found at 106 King’s Road, Brighton, BN1 2FU.
The Unruly Pig’s Sage & Thyme Stuffed Rabbit, Baked Polenta and Cauliflower
For the stuffed rabbit loin
Rabbit saddles, 2, boned
Pork mince, 400g
For the baked polenta
Vegetable or chicken stock, 500ml
For the cauliflower puree
Double cream, 150ml
For the roasted and boiled cauliflower
Romanesco cauliflower, ½
Thyme, 1 sprig
For the red wine sauce
Whole garlic, 1
Red wine, 350ml
Veal stock, 500ml
Chicken stock, 500ml
Thyme, 6 sprigs
To prepare the polenta
The polenta benefits from being pressed for at least 8 hours, so where possible, make in advance.
Bring the milk, stock and butter to the boil with a tablespoon of salt and a generous 10 cracks of pepper.
Finely grate the parmesan and mix through the dry polenta.
Using a stiff whisk, shower the polenta and parmesan mix into the milk mix – beat well.
Switch to a strong wooden spoon and continue to beat over a low heat for 12-15 minutes – this may be hard work.
Check the seasoning then transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof. Place another sheet on top then weigh down with a large Tupperware box filled with water (or similar).
Chill for 8 hours before turning out and portioning into bars roughly measuring 12x4x2.5cm.
To prepare the rabbit
At The Unruly Pig we prep down whole rabbits and then mince a stuffing from the trim. At home, a tasty alternative would be to ask your butcher to bone it for you and then stuff it with pork mince that has been mixed with finely chopped sage, thyme, pancetta and shallots. They should be happy to do this but be sure to ask them to reserve and chop the bones for your red wine sauce.
Lightly butter a sheet of foil and then roll your rabbit loin up 3 times, twisting the ends to make something akin to a Christmas cracker.
Preheat your over to 175C.
For the red wine sauce
Preheat a heavy based casserole dish over a medium heat then add a splash of oil.
Roast off your rabbit bones, stirring regularly for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
Meanwhile, coarsely chop your shallots, mushrooms and garlic, then add these to the pan with the thyme and continue to roast for 5-7 minutes.
Pour in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze.
Add the stocks, bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises, then turn to a simmer and cook for 1 ½ hours, skimming regularly.
Pass off the sauce, discarding the bones and then reduce to a glossy sauce.
For the cauliflower
Prep your florets for roasting. Pare down the cauliflower into its stem then shave off either side where the cauliflower curves to leave approx. 7mm thick slices.
Pare the Romanesco cauliflower into small florets.
To make the puree, finely chop the cauliflower trim from cutting the florets. Take care not to use too much stem (no more than 25%) as this can result in a bitter puree.
Over a medium heat, sweat off the cauliflower with a good pinch of salt for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile heat up the milk and cream gently in another pan.
Once the cauliflower begins to soften, gradually add the milk and cream, adding in 3 stages over a further 3 minutes.
Transfer to a blender and blend thoroughly until smooth and glossy.
To cook and serve
Place the Rabbit parcels in the oven for 12-15 minutes then rest for 6-7 minutes.
Dust the polenta with some dry polenta, then place it in an iron pan with a dash of oil along with the cauliflower florets.
Bake for 5 minutes in the oven before removing, turning over the polenta and cauliflower then adding a few knobs of butter and sprigs of thyme.
Transfer to a tray and keep warm, then heat the cauliflower puree and red wine sauce.
Remove the foil from the rabbit and carve into generous slices – finish with a tiny pinch of sea salt directly onto the rabbit meat.
The Unruly Pig can be found at Orford Road, Bromeswell, Woodbridge, IP12 2PU.