Easter, Parties and Mouthwatering Menus

8 Mar

The daffodils are out, the trees are in bud and the Sun is shining…..well, sometimes! So spring is (hopefully) on the way, and with it comes the chocolate-filled celebration of Easter.

Now, I love chocolate as much as the next person and any holiday that means I’m actually meant to tuck into it, well, I’m definitely going to be happy about that. But when I saw the first Easter eggs out in shops BEFORE CHRISTMAS it almost made me want to scream! There is a reason we celebrate Easter in the spring! Obviously people will have differing views on this, but however you look at it, the story of this holiday is all about rebirth and new life. From the Babylonian goddess Ishtar (the first known, recorded resurrection tale) to the Christian story of Jesus, the religious celebrations of Easter follow the seasons and cycle of the planet; after the cold winter where everything seems to die, comes the warmth of spring and the joy of new life.

So………at its core, Easter is a seasonal celebration and at Purple Grape we’re big on seasonality! If you follow us on Twitter (and if you don’t, why on Earth not?! Find us @PurpleGrapeTeam and say hi!) you’ll know that we have a ‘food of the week’ and it’s always something that’s in season. We love finding and sharing recipes (and the odd quirky food-fact) and, to make sure you get the most out of your food, we ensure that we’re recommending ingredients that are at their peak.

With all of this in mind, and in the spirit of Easter and rebirth, we’ve recently launched our new menus – just in time for spring – and, if we do say so ourselves, there are some seriously tasty seasonal treats in store!

At Easter, it’s a given that lamb is on the menu and our new canapés include Hay smoked lamb fillet on a black pearl barley salad with Salsa Verde – smoking the lamb with hay gives it a lovely earthy flavour and Salsa Verde is a classic for the sunnier months. If you prefer a bit of spice, you could try the Za’atar flavoured pitta with sumac lamb, a delicious little bite of the Middle East!

Fish is also, of course, very popular at Easter with even those who have no particular religious inclinations adopting the tradition of eating fish on Good Friday. Our Treacle cured salmon blini with lemon grass and ginger puree is just the thing to impress your guests, with the perfect balance of sweet, spicy and fresh flavours. The Sockeye salmon with Thai Basil and pickled ginger is an ideal alternative if you’re looking for gluten-free items that still pack a punch in the flavour department, as is the Diver-caught scallop ceviche with coconut water and lime pepper…………..my mouth is watering just thinking about those marvellous little morsels!

Spring is always a great time for veg too – as much as I do love autumnal squashes and roasted parsnips, there’s nothing quite like the snappy little asparagus spears and fresh green beans that start appearing on the market in spring! Fruit too has a new lease of life and lighter, more refreshing flavours start making an appearance – just imagine serving our Peach Caprese skewers with baby basil and Bocconcini alongside those Hay smoked lamb fillets….a match made in canapé heaven! As we move towards warmer weather (hey, I’m an optimist, ok?) the Parmesan biscuits with slow roasted cherry tomatoes and balsamic pearls can bring a hint of the Mediterranean to your menu along with the refreshing Compressed watermelon with barrel-aged feta crumb, dried black olives and basil.

If you’re planning an Easter party, check out Country Living’s ‘Easter entertaining ideas’ where they have suggestions for everything, from how to display flowers in a fresh and modern way to crafts to keep the kids entertained. I particularly like their idea for a dessert table since we’ve seen this growing in popularity at events and it’s always a hit with guests!

For the prettiest dessert station around, use macaroons in a rainbow of colours, coupled with strawberries and marshmallows drizzled with chocolate. If you’d like a focal centre piece for the table, a Victoria sponge is a tea party classic and would look amazing surrounded by a fresh hand cut fruit platter and perhaps some mini lemon tarts. 

Of course, with it being Easter, it would be wrong not to suggest something chocolatey so how about some indulgent mini Belgian chocolate brownies to satisfy your
cocoa cravings? Pair them with our fresh fruit skewers, pierced with a fresh fruit coulis, just the thing to cut through their richness (and perfect for those with slightly less of a chocolate addiction than me!).

All of these delicious canapés and sweet treats are available from our new events and delivery canapé menus, so whether you’re planning a fully staffed party or a more laid-back gathering, get in touch and let us know how we can help to make your celebration one that your guests will still be talking about next spring!

As for me…….well……all this talk of delicious new food has made me a bit peckish ……………………… maybe I’ll just pop down to the kitchens and see what our chefs are up to……………..

Happy Easter everyone!