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My easy Easter feast: James Martin shares his simple but spectacular dishes with you

LEG OF LAMB WITH ROAST VEGETABLES 

For me it has to be seasonal lamb at Easter. I love roasting the vegetables with the lamb to add maximum flavour. 

Serves 6 to 8

  • 2.25kg (5lb) lamb leg 
  • 1 bulb of garlic, cut in half horizontally, cloves of 1 half separated and halved 
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus extra sprigs to garnish 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 100ml (3½fl oz) olive oil 
  • 600g (1lb 5oz) new potatoes 
  • 1 lemon, halved 
  • A large bunch of baby topped or heritage carrots 
  • 2 red onions, peeled and quartered 
  • 6-8 baby parsnips, peeled 

To serve 

  • Mint sauce and gravy 
  • Broccoli or other greens 

JAMES’S TIP 

Stud the lamb with the garlic and rosemary a few hours ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature 30 mins before roasting. 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/gas 6. Place the lamb in a large roasting tin – large enough to take all the additional vegetables. 

Using a sharp knife, make around 20 incisions all over the meat, then stud with the separated garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then drizzle with half the oil. 

Roast the lamb for 1 hour, then place the new potatoes, lemon halves and remaining half of the garlic bulb around the meat. Drizzle with the remaining oil. 

Roast for a further 30 minutes. Add the carrots, onions and parsnips to the tin and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender and the lamb is cooked to your liking. 

Transfer the lamb, potatoes and vegetables to a platter and garnish with extra rosemary. Serve the lamb sliced with mint sauce, lots of gravy and broccoli or other greens.

Matthew Jukes’ wine pairing: Perfect with lamb

2020 Château Gillet Bordeaux France (£8, Marks & Spencer) 

Leading with the merlot grape, this is a rare example of a red Bordeaux that tastes fabulous in its youth, and it is precisely because of its medium-weight, blackcurrant-imbued style that it will work wonders with the Leg Of Lamb.

WEEKEND BRUNCH WITH POTATO RÖSTIS

Röstis are easy to make, but do squeeze out the water to ensure they are nice and crispy.

My easy Easter feast: James Martin shares his simple but spectacular dishes with you

Serves 2 

  • 1 large potato (or 2 medium), peeled and grated 
  • Salt and black pepper 
  • 1tbsp crème fraîche 
  • 1 egg yolk 
  • A knob of butter 
  • A drizzle of vegetable oil 
  • 1tsp white wine vinegar 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 12 fine asparagus spears

JAMES’S TIP 

If you fancy giving your röstis even more flavour, you could add some grated apple or parsnip to the potato.

Place the potato in a tea towel and squeeze out all the excess water. Transfer to a bowl, season and stir in the crème fraîche and egg yolk. 

Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan, add 2 spoonfuls of potato and fry for 4-5 minutes, until golden. Flip over, flatten with a spatula and cook for 4-5 minutes, until golden. 

Repeat to make 4 röstis. Keep warm. 

Half fill a pan with water, add the vinegar and bring to a simmer. With a whisk, make a swirl in the centre of the water. 

Crack 1 egg into a cup and slide it into the centre of the water. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon. 

Repeat with the other egg. Meanwhile, in a separate pan of boiling water, cook the asparagus for 3 minutes. 

Arrange the röstis on plates, top with the eggs and asparagus, season and serve immediately.

Matthew Jukes’ wine pairing: Best with brunch

2020 Gunderloch, Red Stone Riesling Germany (£8, Co-op) 

This super-light riesling from the German region of Rheinhessen weighs in at only 11.5 per cent alcohol and the fruit notes are clean, zingy and bright as a button. With the Weekend Brunch, there’s enough grip to cut through the poached eggs and joust with the asparagus, making it a bargain-priced beauty.

PUFF PASTRY FISH PIE

Who doesn’t love a pie! For my version, I have used natural, undyed smoked haddock, but you can use regular haddock, salmon or cod – or a mixture of all of them. 

My easy Easter feast: James Martin shares his simple but spectacular dishes with you

Serves 6

For the pie 

  • 300g (10½oz) ready-rolled puff pastry 
  • 600g (1lb 5oz) sustainable undyed smoked haddock, skin removed, cut into large chunks 
  • 300g (10½oz) raw king prawns, peeled and cleaned 
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten 
  • Peas or seasonal vegetables of your choice, to serve

For the white sauce

  • 50g (1¾oz) butter 
  • 50g (1¾oz) plain flour 
  • 500ml (18fl oz) milk 
  • 25g (1oz) fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

JAMES’S TIP

You can save time by using quality shop-bought puff pastry, but look for an all-butter version – it really does taste better! 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Remove the pastry from the fridge so it comes up to room temperature. 

To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a pan, whisk in the flour until it forms a paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. 

Stirring constantly, bring it to a simmer and cook for 5-8 minutes, until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. 

Place the fish and prawns in an ovenproof dish and mix. Pour in the white sauce and allow to cool slightly. 

Unroll the pastry and lay over the filling. Trim the edges (you can use the trimmings to make leaf decorations if you like). 

Crimp the edges with a fork and brush the top all over with egg yolk. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until puffed and golden. Serve with peas or your choice of seasonal vegetables. 

Matthew Jukes’ wine pairing: Fabulous with fish

2021 Yalumba, The Y Series Riesling South Australia (£8, Sainsbury’s) 

This is one of Australia’s finest-value dry rieslings and this new vintage, with its upgraded packaging, gives the already classy wine an extra boost of pizzazz. The tangy citrus theme cuts straight through the smoked haddock and juicy king prawns in the scrumptious Fish Pie.

BAKED SALMON WITH ASPARAGUS AND CHARRED LETTUCE

Fish should always have a place on the Easter table and this salmon makes a nice alternative to more traditional roast meat. Seasonal asparagus is one of the true delights for a cook and adds great flavour.

My easy Easter feast: James Martin shares his simple but spectacular dishes with you

Serves 6 

  • 300g (10½oz) asparagus, woody ends removed 
  • 4 little gem lettuces, quartered 
  • 1 side of salmon, skin on (approx. 1.5kg/3lb 5oz) 
  • 1tbsp olive oil 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 lemons, halved

Preheat the oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/gas 6. Arrange the asparagus and little gem lettuce quarters in a large roasting tray. 

Place the side of salmon on top, skin-side down, and drizzle with the oil. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Squeeze half a lemon all over the top, then add the remaining lemon halves to the tray. 

Transfer the tray to the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the salmon is tender and cooked through and the lettuce is nicely charred. Transfer to a latter and serve immediately.

Matthew Jukes’ wine pairing: Superb with salmon

2020 Finest, Margaret River Brooks Road Chardonnay Western Australia (£15, Tesco) 

This exquisite chardonnay is made by one of the top producers in the Margaret River region, Howard Park. Loaded with citrus fruit, this will pair perfectly with the Baked Salmon. 

CHEESY LEEKS WITH TOASTED BRIOCHE

I often serve this indulgent dish as a side order in my restaurants. It’s a great accompaniment to chicken and fish, and would also make a vegetarian main course. 

My easy Easter feast: James Martin shares his simple but spectacular dishes with you

Serves 6

  • 600g (1lb 5oz) leeks, cut into chunks 
  • 100g (3½oz) butter 
  • 200ml (7fl oz) double cream 
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked 
  • 250g (9oz) Cheddar or vegetarian cheese, grated 
  • 200g (7oz) fresh brioche, cut into cubes 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Place the leeks, butter and cream in a large non-stick pan. 

Sprinkle in the thyme leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the leeks are softened. Stir in half the cheese. 

Meanwhile, spread the brioche on a baking tray and toast in the oven for a few minutes, until just golden. 

Spoon the leek mixture into an ovenproof baking dish. Add the toasted brioche, season and sprinkle over the remaining cheese. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until bubbling and melted. Serve hot.

Matthew Jukes’ wine pairing: Ideal with cheese

2020 Sancerre, Les Côtes, Domaine Roblin France (£15, Co-op) 

I’ve always loved the French range in Co-op, and this elegant and luxurious sauvignon blanc is no exception. Fresh, bright, elderflower-kissed and effortlessly classy, this is a treat to have with the Cheesy Leeks With Toasted Brioche. 

MY CHOCOLATE ORANGE LAYER CAKE

This is my Easter showstopper. Enjoy! 

My easy Easter feast: James Martin shares his simple but spectacular dishes with you

Serves 8 

For the sponge

  • 50g (1¾oz) butter, melted, plus extra for greasing 
  • 8 medium eggs 
  • 250g (9oz) caster sugar 
  • 250g (9oz) plain flour 
  • 50g (1¾oz) ground almonds 
  • 4tbsp orange juice

For the filling

  • 400ml (14fl oz) double cream, whipped 
  • 2tbsp chocolate spread 
  • 200g (7oz) orange curd (or use lemon curd)

To decorate

  • 200g (7oz) dark chocolate, chopped 
  • 200ml (7fl oz) double cream 
  • 25g (1oz) butter 
  • Selection of mini chocolate Easter eggs 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan 160°C/gas 4. Grease 2 x 20cm diameter cake tins with butter and line the bases with baking paper. 

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar for about 8 minutes, until pale, thick and at the ‘ribbon’ stage (lift the whisks – the mixture should fall in a ribbon-like trail and hold itself there for a few seconds before sinking back in). Quickly fold in the butter, flour and almonds, but don’t overmix. 

Divide the batter evenly between the tins, tap to level and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until risen and springy to the touch. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Using a serrated knife, slice the cakes horizontally in half, so you have 4 thin, round sponge cakes. Drizzle 1tbsp orange juice over each cake. 

For the filling, divide the whipped cream in half and stir the chocolate spread into one half. Spread the base sponge with the orange curd. 

Lay a second sponge on top and spread with the plain cream. Add a third sponge and spread with the cream and chocolate mixture. Top with the final sponge. 

To decorate, melt the chocolate and cream in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, then whisk in the butter (this makes it glossy). Pour all over the top and sides of the cake and smooth with a palette knife. 

Decorate with mini Easter eggs and allow to set.

Matthew Jukes’ wine pairing: Great with chocolate

NV Penfolds, Father Grand Tawny South Australia (£24.99, reduced to £19.99 in a Mix Six until 25 April, Majestic) 

I’ve travelled Down Under to find a perfect match for the Chocolate And Orange Cake. This older Tawny tastes fruitier than a Tawny port, and its orange zest flavour makes for a sensational pairing. 

RASPBERRY, COINTREAU AND WHITE CHOCOLATE TRIFLE

If you want to rustle up a showstopping dessert but don’t have much time, this trifle uses some shop-bought ingredients. I’ve added Cointreau, but you could leave it out or use orange juice if serving to children. 

My easy Easter feast: James Martin shares his simple but spectacular dishes with you

Serves 8 

For the trifle

  • 2 shop-bought jam Swiss rolls 
  • 3-4tbsp Cointreau (optional) 
  • 400g (14oz) frozen raspberries, thawed 
  • 400g (14oz) white chocolate 
  • 1 x 500g tub of fresh vanilla custard

To decorate

JAMES’S TIP 

You could use traditional sponge fingers or sliced cake as an alternative to Swiss rolls in this trifle. 

  • 300g (10½oz) fresh raspberries 
  • White chocolate mini eggs, or other mini eggs of your choice

Place the Swiss rolls on a chopping board and, using a serrated knife, cut into even slices approximately 2.5cm thick. Arrange in a large glass trifle bowl, standing up some of the slices around the edge of the bowl. 

Drizzle with the Cointreau, if using. In a food processor, blitz the thawed raspberries to a rough purée, then spread evenly all over the Swiss roll slices. 

Gently melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and whisk in the custard. 

Allow to cool, then spoon into the trifle bowl. Transfer to the fridge for at least 20 minutes to chill. 

Just before serving, top the trifle with the fresh raspberries and white chocolate mini eggs to decorate

Matthew Jukes’ wine pairing: Delicious for dessert

NV Classics No.40, Rich Cream Sherry Spain (£8, Marks & Spencer) 

This sherry is perfection with the dangerously flavour-packed Trifle. You need a wine with a massive impact when liqueurs are used in a dish.

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