A family Easter
This year, I served a mimosa as the aperitif. The orange juice base was lovely and fresh in that warm sun we had. That's not to say it was lacking in alcohol. I fortified the juice with a blood orange liqueur from the Wiltshire Liqueur Company before adding Champagne. It's a cocktail that always goes down well!
|Members of the Aperitif family enjoying cocktails in the sun
There is one Easter tradition I hold fast to - that of the simnel cake. For those unfamiliar with it, it's a fruit cake with a layer of marzipan (almond paste) baked through the middle. Recipes for simnel cakes have been found dating back to the 13th century, and it makes sense that such rare and exotic ingredients as dried fruits and ground almonds should be used to celebrate major festivals. The name is assumed to be derived from the Latin simila, meaning fine flour, which is another clue to its purpose as a food for festivals. Tradition suggests that a simnel be topped with a second layer of marzipan and 11 toasted marzipan balls, to represent those of Jesus Christ's apostles who remained after his death. Even for an almond-lover like me, so much marzipan can be a little overwhelming on a cake that's not as rich as a Christmas cake, and I've experimented with other designs over the years, trying to keep to religious symbols and toasted marzipan. For the last couple of years, I've used the emblem of a religious order that has been influential in my family's life down several generations. Once you cut it, of course, all the hard work of decorating is destroyed, but you are left with a delicious and surprisingly light fruit cake that goes perfectly with a cup of coffee or a small glass of sweet Madeira.
|Simnel cake with the insignia of the Passionist order