Easter Weekend

Easter last year found my family all busy caring for my brother in the final days of his battle with cancer. For 2010 I wanted to mix things up from our usual routine for our first Easter without him. So I threw tradition to the winds. I switched our customary dinner gathering to one immediately following Easter Morning Church services, suggested we all attend one service together at my mom's church rather than our own various churches and then had everyone come back to our place for a sunny, flower filled lunch. New new new!

As for the food, I found an Easter Luncheon Menu (Martha Stewart Living March '97 Gardening Edition). which takes its inspiration from ..."a (California) valley rich with citrus orchards ringed by coastal mountains in a hundred shades of pink". I thought it sounded just like the change we all needed this Easter...

Pimm's Cup Cocktail (With Fruit Plate)
Whole Poached Salmon in Aspic with Citrus and Orange Mayonnaise
Rosemary Flatbread
Roasted Beets with Citrus and Spring Greens
Steamed Asparagus with Orange Zest
New Potatoes with Gremolata
Fennel and Apple Salad
Eton Mess

Instead of doing my customary thing of making the whole meal, I said I'd make the Salmon, the Asparagus and Bread  and then suggested my sisters and our mother divide up the rest of the recipes between them. The result was wonderful! Everyone felt a real sense of accomplishment and even my non cooking mother and sister reported very much enjoying the process of making something new and unusual. Martha recipes can be challenging but that can be half the fun and in this instance it was! I know my part had me standing on my culinary toes as I'd never before made Aspic. Its like nothing I've ever tried and night and day different from glazing or coating something with straight gelatin which is what I thought it would be!

On the floral front all the forsythia branches bloomed just in time...
The cocktail hour of our event featured Pimms No.1 laced with the juices of macerated fruit, poured over ice with Gingerale and garnished with a cucumber spear. It looked just as fresh and flavourful as it tasted! Again such a nice change from our usual wine or beer!

The sister who made the drink also brought a beautiful fruit tray to go with it as we started off our celebration in the garden.
Then we made the move inside to the dining table with a wee chocolate gift at everyone's place...
As usual with Martha, everything looked as well as tasted fabulous and everything really worked together.

The colours in the beet and citrus salad were so fantastic - especially alongside the rosy salmon and set off against the acid greens in the apple and fennel dish. Afterwards I counted and across the entirety of the menue there were about 20 different fruits and vegetables used!

After lunch the ladies who had cooked enjoyed tea and coffee from springy china cups and saucers while the guys did the minimal cleanup the kitchen required, building doggy bags for everyone to take home, loading the dishwasher and washing and drying the more delicate glasswear.

Once everyone had gone we had time for a walk before a cozy baked pasta dinner. It was by then just the four of us and we ate in front of the television watching Fantastic Mr. Fox. (That's the beauty of a vegetable laden midday meal - pretty soon there's room for a simple hearty dinner!) During the movie I started the second sleeve on the Minimalist Cardigan.

I hope to block the two fronts, the back and completed sleeve tomorrow and once that's done I'll really feel like I'm in the home stretch on this one.

I hope you had a grand holiday weekend, whatever it entailed. Thanks for dropping by today!


Jewel said...

Oh, YUM!

Amy said...

I'm sorry to read about your need for change, but my goodness, what a menu! The meal, and day, sound fresh, wonderful, and 100% spring.

elizabeth said...

It sounds just perfect! We're hosting Mother's Day lunch this year and I am definitely copying some of these recipes!

Brenda said...

Martha Stewart - eat your heart out. I must say, your meal puts ours into the 'peasant' category for sure.

Acorn to Oak said...

The meal and the day sound fabulous! So does the dinner afterwards. And...the guys cleaning up?! That's awesome! :-)

Anonymous said...

your beautiful photos made me hungry!