Easter is on its way so we've called in Auckland baking maestro Sean Armstrong to instruct on the art of Easter feasting and make sure you will be well prepared to feed the family over the holiday weekend.
Easter means lots of things to so many people but at our place it's all about family - hanging out with the kids and - of course - eating loads of chocolate.
Most years during Easter we head down to the Coromandel, go out on the boat, go diving, fishing, and spend time on the beach, running around with the kids. It's a time to purely relax - and go nuts eating way too much food (I'm a big fan of marshmallow Easter eggs!).
The morning of Easter Sunday we head over to a friend's place for a massive brunch. Food is so important during the holidays and seems to dominate most festive occasions. It's special like that - the chocolate and hot cross buns we indulge in over the Easter holidays always takes me right back to my childhood.
I take a pack of Loaf Frozen Mini Flaky Croissants with me to the bach - I can chuck them in the oven and feed the family with ease while the kids go on their Easter egg hunt.
I also take something easy and comforting for dinner. As the weather turns cooler, I like to enjoy a rugged piece of meat, invariably accompanied with a glass of wine.
I go for a shoulder chop - it's a wonderful cut of meat that's often under-used but doesn't take much effort to prepare.
Of course, Easter isn't the same without hot cross buns. I load mine with spices and fruit and my recipe is a clear winner with adults and kids. If you're short on time and want the same home-baked feel, pick up some Loaf Hot Cross Buns from your local Farro Fresh - we make them using the same tasty recipe.
I think comfort foods are best during the Easter holidays - so I've also included a recipe for a special eggs benedict (with chorizo), best enjoyed with some English muffins from Loaf. You can't beat an eggs benny on a lazy holiday morning.
Behind the loaf
After several years working in UK kitchens, Kiwi chef Sean Armstrong returned to head up the kitchen at Auckland's famed O'Connell St Bistro. From there, he moved to own and cook in Prime Bistro in the PriceWaterhouseCoopers building.
There he took his desire to cook everything he served on the menu at Prime and turned it into a new passion for making bread. Armstrong went from making a huge number of different breads in Prime's restaurant kitchen to setting up his own bakery business.
That was six years ago. Loaf has now grown from a shed in Otahuhu to a highly regarded Auckland bakery which supplies breads and baked goods to speciality food stores, restaurants and cafes around the country.