Author, DJ, food writer, TEDx speaker, charity founder and all-round funny guy, Andrew Levins shares his thoughts about Easter 2020 and a few recipes for us to enjoy while in isolation:
It’s Easter this weekend, and for the first time in my entire life I won’t be spending it stuck in traffic, making my way from one family to another for each new meal. There’s no expectation for me to fill my plate with five different meats and ten different salads, and no relatives to offend by not going in for seconds.
It’s just going to be me, my wife and my kids. And I won’t be spending any time in the next few days lining up at the butcher for a leg of lamb or panic buying chocolate at the supermarket (I already did that weeks ago, when my local Coles filled the eternally empty toilet paper aisle with Easter eggs). I’m going to be cooking fun and festive meals with the fun and festive food that’s already in my pantry and fridge.
The hero of my recently released book Nelson: Pumpkins And Aliens is Nelson, a young boy who hates vegetables with a fiery passion, so out of respect for Nelson’s tastes, two of these recipes are technically desserts and the other recipe features vegetables hidden in an omelette, so maybe I’d be able to sneak them into the belly of even the fussiest Nelson-esque eater. Here’s the thing about Nelson though: he discovers that when he eats vegetables, they give him superpowers! Pumpkins give him super strength, but there’s no pumpkin in my taco recipe, just tomatoes, onions and avocados. We don’t know which powers those veggies will give him but hopefully we’ll find out in a future book!
HOT CROSS SYRUP
What’s Easter without hot cross buns? I don’t have plans to get to a supermarket before Sunday and I’m a terrible baker so instead I’m making a spiced syrup that makes everything you pour it on (crumpets, pancakes, french toast) taste like a hot cross bun!
1 cup maple syrup
1 cinnamon quill
2 star anise pods
3 pieces of orange skin
1. Pour the maple syrup into a small pot and add the other ingredients.
2. Bring to a gentle boil over low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Pour everything into a glass jar and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
4. Strain the syrup and pour over whatever you desire.
Here’s another one that kind of tastes like a hot cross bun, except it’s a million times less healthy for you and therefore a million times better. You make this like a grilled cheese sandwich except instead of melting cheese you’re melting cinnamon butter, which coats the bread like candy and hardens once it starts to cool. The crack of the sugar beneath your teeth is as addictive as the sweet toast.
100g butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 loaf of brioche bread, sliced
Extra butter for spreading
1. Mash the sugar into the soft butter with a fork then mix the other ingredients through.
2. Buy a loaf of that super sugary brioche from a supermarket that’s pretty much cake and freeze it.
3. Get 10 slices of bread out of the freezer and spread one side of each slice with regular butter. Flip the slices and spread the other side generously with the cinnamon butter.
4. Heat a non-stick pan to medium heat. Line a rack with baking paper.
5. Put a few slices in your hot pan, regular buttered side down first. Toast the bread for 2-3 mins. You’ll see the cinnamon butter on top start to melt.
6. Flip the bread and let it cook for a minute. The sugar will start to bubble and melt around the bread. Move the bread around the pan to pick up the extra goodness. Remove the bread from the pan after about three mins and place it on the baking paper, allowing it to cool for a minute or two.
7. The browned sugar will harden after cooling, it should crack beneath your teeth when you bite it!
Don’t let the sugar get too dark as it will burn, although burnt cinnamon toast is kinda good too.
Serve with fresh fruit, ice cream or whipped cream cheese with lemon/orange zest.
EGG AND SALSA TACOS
This is my simplified take on a migas taco, an unbelievable breakfast taco you’ll find in taco trucks in Texas. We’ve been eating a lot of eggs while in isolation and this is definitely my family’s favourite way to eat them! You’ll probably need a break from chocolate eggs at some point anyway. Regular eggs are just as festive!
1 white onion
1/2 bunch of coriander
1/2 a piece of lime
Salt and pepper
12 slices of cheddar cheese
1 avocado, sliced
1. Make a simple salsa: roughly chop the tomato, onion and coriander and mix it together in a bowl. Add the lime juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
2. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, season them with salt and pepper and whisk them with a fork.
3. Heat a pan to medium heat. Warm the tortillas according to the packaging instructions and place them on a plate, wrapped in a tea towel to keep them warm.
4. Oil the pan and add two heaped tablespoons of salsa. Allow to cook for a minute, using a wooden spoon to push the salsa around the hot pan as it cooks.
5. Pour a quarter of the egg mixture over the salsa. Cook for one minute then flip. While the other side is cooking, place three slices of cheese on the cooked side of the omelette.
6. Once the cheese is melted, divide the omelette into three pieces and spoon each piece into a tortilla. Repeat steps 1 – 6 until all the salsa and eggs have been cooked. Serve with slices of avocado and hot sauce.
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