To celebrate Easter and the first long weekend of Spring, we had some friends over on Good Friday to share some good food and unwind. I decided on an easy menu to serve smörgåsbord style that could be prepped almost completely the day before (my favourite). All of the dishes were also equally good served room temperature, as well as warm, so I didnʼt have to worry about keeping things piping hot throughout the day. To decorate the table, I used potted plants such as tulips, daffodils and ranunculus, instead of cut flowers, which added to the Spring-feeling of the party, and also served as take-home gifts.
I had a turkey taking up some space in my freezer, so I roasted it with my usual method, but then served it with the mint and cumin sauce from this Ottolenghi dish, which was ideal for serving the turkey in a more casual style and at room temperature.
I also made my favourite French potato salad, garnished with fresh, fragrant basil, and deviled eggs coloured with beet juice, which have become quite popular lately. Honestly, every time I make deviled eggs for a party or brunch with friends, I vow never to make them again! I try not to over boil them, and then all of the peeling and trying to carefully remove the yolks without destroying the delicate whites is just so labour intensive and time consuming. But, they are delicious, and these just seemed too ideal for the holiday not to include them. If you do want to attempt them, some tips for success include using somewhat stale eggs (the fresher they are, the harder they are to peel). To cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil for a few minutes, add 6-12 eggs, and let boil for about 4 minutes before taking the eggs off the heat and letting sit in the water for about 10 minutes before placing in a bowl of cold water. Try to peel right away (this also makes it easier) and gently crack the very top and bottom of the egg to release the membrane, which helps the rest of the shell come off in bigger pieces. Once peeled, place all of the eggs in a large jar of beet juice (I just used the juice from a store-bought jar of pickled beets), for two hours to create a pink ring around the outside of the eggs. If youʼre storing them overnight, the colour will diffuse into the entire egg white. Once coloured to your liking, slice in half, remove the yolks and mix with your favourite mixture of mayo, whole grain mustard and spices. Pipe back into the egg whites and garnish with chives. I served mine on plates of broccoli sprouts.
For dessert, I picked up a tray of mini doughnuts from Jelly Modern Doughnuts here in Toronto and baked up Ottolenghiʼs Walnut Carrot Cake – more on the latter later!