My Two Easters

April 20, 2012

The first Easter I celebrated was on Easter Saturday, which we named “Orphan’s Easter” – some friends of mine from Sydney who live and study in Melbourne and were family-less over Easter decided to bunk together and have a bit of a feast. I was invited because… well, I was invited, that’s all that matters. Y was all too kind and offered to host, and the food he cooked was just wonderful, all fresh from the Vic Market that morning!
(yes, the meat in the photo below is rabbit. So sue me.)

Spring onions in Y’s siphon, natch.

First up was a steaming hot dish of moussaka. Said Y as I walked in the door, “Oh shit, I’m making moussaka, and you’re Greek. I’m serving Greek food to a Greek person. What am I doing?!” No fear, it was awesome – and I approved of the slightly unorthodox addition of filo pastry on top! The wonderful heady scent of rosemary and the slightly peppery taste of the eggplant were brilliant.

For second course, rabbit. Our little bunny was first sealed on the stove in butter, then roasted with celery and heirloom carrots with some white wine and mustard.

Y also whipped up a porcini mushroom risotto to go with it.

Delish.

The second Easter I celebrated was a week later with my family. The Greek Orthodox Church follows a lunar calendar, so Easter doesn’t always match up with everyone else’s version. I’ve always thought this to be a great advantage growing up because 1) My family gets the long weekend to go on holiday to the country and not worry about hosting family lunches and 2) All my anglo friends had usually scoffed their Easter chocolate before I had even received mine, so I always had the last laugh/egg.

So what’s the deal with the eggs? It’s a Greek tradition to hard boil eggs in different coloured dye and then have competitions to see whose egg can crack all the others. Its brilliant fun, the great egg battle, and I remember one year my uncle sneakily found a plastic egg that he used to win!

I’ve been doing this for years and let me just say that it’s far more technical than it appears.

If you’re ever invited to a Greek Easter and want to win, my tips are 1) Always attack. Never be attacked. 2) Attack with the pointy end. 3) Hold the egg so that the round base sits on the pad below your pointer finger, then wrap you fingers up around it to provide maximum structural support pre-impact. 4) Try and hit the enemy egg slightly to one side of the tip, the shell is thinner there.

My brother’s tips are as follows, 1) Buy a plastic egg.

Eggs aside, the food was comforting, delicious and monstrously abundant.

The fathers in the family took responsibility of the BBQ, and did a wonderful job. Prawns, salmon, lamb chops and sausages were all delicious. Loved the old school use of lemons to clean the BBQ between meats.

Inside were a selection of salads and my mum’s bacalhau fritters, which I was eating for days afterwards, warmed slightly in the microwave and pressed between two pieces of bread with some Meredith goats cheese.

This year was the first that we didn’t have an Easter egg hunt (to be fair, myself and my older cousin are in our twenties and our two younger brothers are 16, so it was probably getting a tad excessive). Nevertheless, plenty of chocolate was gifted and put into the kitty for exam-period – chocolate consumption in our house is strongly seasonal for periods of high stress – it peaks around exam times and the end of the financial year.

Easter may not have the festive atmosphere of Christmas (though it is almost as well-commercialised), but it’s a nice chance to get the family together and share a meal, without the stress of gifts. And there’s chocolate. Need I say more?

Filed under: Home Cooking

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