4 Easter Dinner Recipes That Aren’t Just Ham

Your entire menu is covered, from starter through to dessert

We won’t lie to you: this Easter weekend probably isn’t going to be the best bank holiday you’ll ever have, but – there’s still hope.

Although it may feel like time has stood still since the country went into lockdown two weeks ago, the earth is still turning on its axis. Life goes on no matter how many countries go under lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus – time still passes and Easter is here. 

Of course, there are plenty of worse things going on at the moment – that’s for sure – but it’s only normal to feel a little disappointed that things won’t be going ahead as usual. After all, not being able to see your family friends – or leave the house – this Easter weekend doesn't leave you with very many celebration options. 

But we’re trying to find any bright lights we can, and we’re glad at least to tell you that we've found the best Easter dinner ideas that, despite all odds, will make this the best Easter yet. From fresh crab on toast to a delicious orange pistachio yoghurt cake, Clodagh McKenna has shared with us a delicious Easter menu in association with the National Dairy Council to celebrate the quality and goodness of Irish Dairy.

Fresh crab toasts with spiced yoghurt

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices sourdough bread, toasted
  • For the crab
  • 220g fresh cooked crabmeat
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon juice
  • For the spiced yoghurt
  • 100ml plain yoghurt
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1. Mix together the crabmeat, sliced scallions, chopped fresh dill, lemon juice and zest in a bowl. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

2. Stir together the yoghurt and crushed dried red pepper flakes in a small bowl and season with sea salt.

3. Slice the sourdough toasts into quarters, spoon the crabmeat mixture on the toasts and drizzle the spiced yoghurt on top. Sprinkle the remaining fresh dill on top.

To read the full recipe courtesy of The National Dairy Council, click here. 

Spring herb spatchcock chicken on fennel

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 100g salted Irish butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons fresh spring herbs (flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, garlic leaves if available), finely chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 4 whole fennel bulbs, cut in half, lengthways
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190oC / Gas 5.

2. To spatchcock the chicken, place the whole chicken breast-side down, with the legs towards you. Using sturdy scissors cut up along each side of the backbone to remove it, cutting through the rib bones as you go. Open the chicken out and turn over. Flatten the breastbone with the heel of your hand so that the meat is all one thickness. You can ask your butcher to do this for you if you want.

3. Next make a spring herbed butter, by placing the softened butter in a bowl and mix in the chopped spring herbs, juice and zest of one lemon and the crushed garlic cloves. I find it easiest to use the back of a spoon to mix all the ingredients together.

4. Use your fingers to gently separate the skin of the chicken from the breast and thigh meat to create pockets. Spoon half of the flavoured butter underneath the skin of the chicken breast and wings, and over the skin of the chicken. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

5. Place the remaining half of the butter in a saucepan over a low heat to melt. Then toss the halved fennel bulbs in the melted herbed butter, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

6. Arrange the fennel bulbs on a baking sheet or roasting tin. Place the spatchcock chicken on top of the fennel, and into the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

7. Once the chicken is cooked, spoon the juices from the pan over the chicken and fennel until all the juices in the pan (or most of them) have been absorbed.

To read the full recipe courtesy of The National Dairy Council, click here. 

Smoked haddock chowder & wholemeal scones

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 500ml fish stock
  • 300ml milk
  • 300g potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1kg un-dyed smoked haddock, skin removed and cut into small chunks
  • 250ml single cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1. Set a saucepan over a medium heat and melt the butter.

2. Stir in the onion, leek and garlic. Reduce the heat, cover and leave to sweat for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the wine. Return the pan to the heat and cook for a further 3–4 minutes. Pour in the stock, milk and potatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Stir in the haddock and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add the cream, fresh dill and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

For the scones

Ingredients:

  • 110g (4oz) wholemeal flour
  • 110g (4oz) plain white flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 175ml (5 fl oz) milk
  • 50ml (2 fl oz) plain yoghurt

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark 6.

2. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and sea salt into a bowl.

3. Whisk the milk and yogurt together. Make a well in the center of the flour and gradually pour the liquid into the well, using your hand to mix the flour into the liquid, try and spread your fingers far apart so it resembles a trough. Make sure that there are no dry patches and that the dough is completely wet.

4. Pat your hands with flour and shape the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of 1cm (1/2in). Cut into circles or wedges with a pastry cutter or knife.

5. Place the scones on a floured baking tray and brush with a little of the liquid (milk/yogurt) on top to give a golden colour once baked.

6. Bake in the pre-heated for 12–15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for 5 minutes.

To read the full recipe courtesy of The National Dairy Council, click here. 

Orange pistachio yoghurt cake

Makes 1 cake

Ingredients:

  • 50g slightly stale white breadcrumbs 100 g ground almonds, ground
  • 100g pistachios 1 tsp baking powder 4 eggs
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 125 ml sunflower oil
  • 200ml natural Irish yoghurt zest of 1 orange zest of 1 lemon
  • For the citrus syrup juice of 1 orange juice of 1 lemon 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick

To serve

  • Decorate with 50g roughly chopped pistachios and the zest of one lemon on top. Serve with a dollop of natural Irish yoghurt

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190oC / Gas 5.

2. Grease a 20.5cm (8in) round and 5cm (2in) deep tin and then lightly dust with flour.

3. In a large bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, almonds, pistachios and baking powder.

4. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs with the caster sugar. Continue to whisk while pouring in the vegetable oil, followed by the natural Irish yoghurt.

5. Next stir the liquid pour into the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the orange and lemon zest. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and into the preheated oven.

6. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the cake is golden brown. To ensure cake is done, insert a skewer into the centre – if it’s ready, the skewer should come out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a plate.

7. Meanwhile, make the citrus syrup. Put all of the ingredients into a saucepan and bring gently to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved completely. Simmer for 10 minutes or until thick.

8. While the cake is still warm, pierce it several times with a skewer, then spoon the hot syrup over the cake, allowing it to run into the holes. Leave to cool. Spoon any excess syrup back over the cake every now and then until it is all soaked up.

9. Sprinkle chopped pistachios on top, and the zest of one orange. Serve with natural Irish yoghurt

To read the full recipe courtesy of The National Dairy Council, click here. 

And if – like the rest of the country – you have discovered a newfound love for cooking, The National Dairy Council has a bunch of exciting recipes to inspire your next repast. Visit cheeseyourway.ie for more delicious recipes. 

All images by Dora Kazmierak

READ: Bored Kids At Home? Here's How To Make Your Own Easter Eggs

READ MORE: 5 Easy Midweek Dinners To Get You Through The Week

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