At the time of writing, Spring is gently arriving at the Riverford farm in Devon. Trees are full with the trill of nest-building birds and our farmers are hard at work planting lettuces in the field and tomatoes in the tunnels.
As others pull on their wellies and coats for chocolatey treasure hunts, we uncover some of our own Easter delights for you to indulge in with family and friends over the holidays.
Riverford leek and smoked cheese pithivier
Pithivier is a traditional circular puff pastry pie with a curved pattern cut into the pastry. If you're not vegetarian, you could add cooked chopped up ham, fried bacon pieces or leftover shredded chicken or turkey to the leek mixture. The pie can be made in advance up to the final baking stage and kept in the fridge. This version makes a great vegetarian centrepiece on Easter sunday. See the full recipe here.
Rhubarb, orange, pistachio and cardamom cake
Flavoured with delicate orange flower water and cardamon, and studded with tangy rhubarb and pistachios, this is a moist and delectable teatime treat or dessert. The cream cheese icing is a lovely touch, but you could also serve this with a drizzle of double cream or a dollop of crème fraîche instead. See the full recipe here.
Roast potatoes with lemon, rosemary and thyme
Crisp and caramelised from roasting, tart and tangy from the lemons, this variation on traditional roast potatoes makes a particularly good side for chicken or fish, accompanied by a bitter leaf salad. See the full recipe here.
Grilled leek and blue cheese salad with apples, celery and hazelnuts
As long as you take care of the leeks, the rest will take of itself. Make sure they are well cooked before griddling; the process is more about adding flavour than cooking. It takes so little time to mark them – too long, and they’ll burn and turn bitter. The other components can be sliced, diced or crumbled however you see fit. You could try switching the apples for pears, or using walnuts or pecans in place of the hazelnuts. See the full recipe here.
Swede, celeriac and carrots braised in olive oil
This is a Turkish method, common along the Aegean coast, that’s used for cooking lots of different vegetables. The idea is to braise them slowly with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and a little sugar to concentrate and accentuate their natural flavours. It is best served at room temperature, and preferably the next day – perfect served as part of a mezze spread. See the full recipe here.