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Easter entertaining – hop to it!

easter brunch (Large)
Yes, Easter says chocolate and we’re here for all of it. But it’s also a great time to ask over some loved ones for a long and leisurely lunch. You can play smart and ask everyone to bring a plate for an easy-peasy potluck.

But if you love cooking for others, here are some ideas for a fabulous feast, all showcasing local produce and autumnal flavours. (And there’s a cheat’s suggestion, too.)

Run hot or cold

With the weather generally a little cooler by Easter, a soup is a good way to start, particularly as it can be prepared the day before. We’re rather partial to this easy cauliflower soup, lifted a notch with a drizzle of truffle oil. Capsicums are in abundance in autumn, too, from the likes of Acadia Farms in Kununurra and Loveapple in Carnarvon, and this roasted red capsicum soup makes the most of them.

If it’s a warmer day, roast the capsicums to sit atop goat’s cheese bruschetta, or add to a platter of local ingredients – cheese, olives, dips, salami, etc – and let everyone help themselves. Alternatively, celebrate the plethora of WA Citrus with a fennel and orange salad or mandarin, blue cheese and almond salad. These zesty dishes are sure to waken the palate.

Choose the main ingredient

One of the easiest ways to feed a crowd is with a nice leg of lamb. Coat it with the herbs and spices of your choice, smother in olive oil and pop in the oven and you’ll have a delicious main course in no time. Ask an expert at the likes of Barbaro Butchers (which stocks Mogumber Valley lamb), or Ryan’s Quality Meats (Amelia Park lamb), about the size and cut. Chances are your butcher will have plenty of marinades or suggestions of their own, too. Serve with a hearty potato bake, or a salad if you want a lighter accompaniment.

Those who prefer seafood rather than meat are also spoilt for choice. Start with a visit to your local fishmonger, such as Great Southern Seafoods in Albany, and plan your main event according to the catch of the day. You can also get lobster from Brolos Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-Operative delivered to your door in the Perth metro area if you really want to treat your guests. With seafood, it’s always best to keep it simple – cook it quickly on the barbecue or grill and serve with lemon wedges and dipping sauce. Our BBQ platter may say summer but it’s good any time of the year. Just adjust the seafood to taste (and budget).

Wrap it up sweetly

You could keep dessert as simple as a tray of your favourite chocolates and no one would complain. If you want to impress with your dessert skills, however, try these Peruvian shortbreads, or the zingy passionfruit panna cotta.

And, yes, we know hot cross buns have become a bit passe, showing up in shops almost as soon as Christmas finishes, but these homemade ones are a nice traditional touch. Just leave out the sultanas or cranberries if they aren’t your thing. And, of course, you could substitute with some melted chocolate or chocolate chips.

Leave the work to others

If the thought of cooking for a crowd fills you with anxiety, suggest a get-together at one of WA’s fabulous cafes or restaurants instead. Those heading down south for Easter can check out the delights of Amelia Park Restaurant or Voyager Estate. Or choose a skipper and head to the Swan Valley to relax over a long lunch at Sandalford Restaurant & Bar. Closer to the city, book a table at one of the restaurants overlooking our stunning waters, such as Fraser’s or Bib & Tucker. Treat yourself to modern Indian cuisine at Sauma, or settle into the award-winning Young George in charming North Freo. If you want to keep it family friendly, order a hamper at Core Cider and kick back on a picnic rug. Wherever you go, be sure to book, as you’re far from the only one to think it’s better to let someone else do all the work. Happy Easter!