Easter is an important time on many family’s entertaining calendar.  It’s a time of indulgence, family events and entertaining best served with chocolate, beautiful food and Easter eggs.

So you can enjoy the day, your guests company and join in the Easter egg hunt festivities, here is a suggested menu to get have you organised in advance so you can relax instead of slaving in the kitchen.  Have the table set, drinks chilled, playlist sorted, oven on low with the following dishes… and most importantly – enjoy!

Rustic Italian style Easter lunch for the family by Silvia Colloca
My friend Marziale says, “A glass of prosecco is good at any time of day.” So I always greet guests with the pop of a prosecco bottle and serve it in chilled Champagne flutes. As for wine, my loyalty lies with pinot grigio and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, two examples of stunning crisp, dry white wine. And to accompany meats and pasta sauces, I always favour a good Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.”

No knead bread
This easy-as bread recipe doesn’t require any heavy hand work, but it is best when left overnight to prove.

3 cups (450g) plain flour
1/2 tsp dried instant yeast

Begin this recipe at least 10 hours ahead.

Combine flour, yeast and 350ml room temperature water in a large bowl. Add 2 tsp salt and stir to combine (the mixture will be quite sticky). Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 10 hours or overnight until tripled in size.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, then using your hands, form into a ball. Gently wrap in a tea towel dusted with flour. Set aside for a further 1 and 1/2 hours

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Place a cast iron pot, without the lid, in the oven to preheat for 40 minutes. Place dough in the preheated pot, cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for a further 15-20 minutes until golden. Remove from pot and cool to room temperature before serving.

Braised lamb shanks w potatoes, olives & lamb
This slow-cooked lamb dish, with green olives and potatoes, can be made ahead of time, and served family-style, with salad and crusty bread for a long lazy lunch.

4 French-trimmed lamb shanks
1/4 cup (35g) plain flour
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, bruised
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
3 thyme sprigs, plus extra thyme leaves to serve
3/4 cup (185ml) white wine
2 cups (500ml) chicken or beef stock
3 desiree potatoes (about 600g), peeled, cut into wedges
3/4 cup (150g) pitted mixed olives
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Dust the lamb in flour. Heat 2 tbs oil in a large casserole over medium-high heat. Season the lamb, then cook, turning, for 6-8 minutes until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic, onion, carrot, celery, thyme and remaining 2 tbs oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Return lamb to the casserole and season. Increase heat to high and add wine, scraping the bottom of pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes until evaporated. Add stock and enough water to cover lamb. Reduce heat to low, then cover with a lid and cook for 2 hours.

Add potatoes and olives, cover and cook for a further 45 minutes or until the lamb is very tender and potatoes are cooked through. Remove the lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes until reduced by one-third. Remove from heat and season.

Sprinkle lamb shanks with lemon zest and extra thyme leaves to serve.


1 large cauliflower, cut into large florets
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
6 anchovy fillets in oil, drained, chopped
1/4 cup (50g) capers, rinsed, drained, roughly chopped
1 eschalot, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Cook cauliflower in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3-5 minutes until par-cooked. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Stir for 30 seconds to remove excess water.

Toss cauliflower with 1/4 cup (60ml) oil and 1/2 tsp salt, then place on prepared baking tray, and roast, turning occasionally, for 25-30 minutes until tender and golden.

Meanwhile, to make dressing, place lemon zest and juice, anchovies, capers, eschalot, parsley and remaining 2 tbs oil in a jar, seal, then shake to combine.

Arrange the cauliflower on a platter, drizzle with the dressing and season with freshly ground pepper to serve.

Peaches and Raspberries Mascarpone Fool

300g mascarpone
300ml thickened cream
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
10g icing sugar, sifted
2 tbs Galliano, or other liqueur
250g raspberries
4 peaches, stones removed, cut in wedges
Pistachios, to serve

Place the mascarpone and cream in a bowl with the vanilla seeds, icing sugar and Galliano. Whisk until thickened.

Use a fork to smash half of the raspberries, then fold through half of the mascarpone mixture and divide between  glasses or bowls.  Top with the remaining raspberries, peaches, and then the remaining mascarpone mixture.

Scatter over roughly chopped pistachios and serve.