Entertaining at Easter: Two Lunch Menus

Let’s lunch! After months of desk lunches and brown bagging it, Easter long weekend provides an opportunity to plan a get-together with friends over a casual – but elegant – mid-day meal.

Whether you are hosting the in-laws for an informal ‘do’ or looking to catch up with a gaggle girlfriends, here are two menu ideas that can be adapted for any occasion. The first is planned around a sit-down lunch, where you can set a pretty table and bring out the best dishes.

The second menu is meant to be set out buffet style or passed around on trays for more of a standing and mingling lunch. It also provides some great do-ahead ideas, such as small jars of pretty panna cotta, which can be prepare several days in advance.

Whatever your style, I’m sure you’ll find inspiration in this post for entertaining this spring.

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Entertaining at Easter: A Brunch Menu

The Easter long weekend just might be one of my favourite occasions to entertain and I’ve been hosting a brunch for well over a decade on the spring holiday.

Easter brunch is the perfect opportunity to invite friends and family over and set a pretty table. Clara and I always dye a few eggs for a centrepiece, playing around with real ingredients for natural dyes. I iron my grandmother’s embroidered tablecloth and round up all my floral and pastel dishes. It’s okay if they are mismatched; they still look elegant.

And then there is the menu, which is always so fun to plan, but whether you simply bake a tray of hot cross buns and brew a pot of coffee or go for an elaborate ham & eggs spread, it’s the act of gathering that matters the most.

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Mini Citrus Pavlovas

A quick check of the weather before I sat down to write this post informed me that another snowstorm was on the way.

We may be all dreaming of spring, with its rhubarb galettes and strawberry pie, but the reality is that we’ll be embracing citrus fruits for a while still here in Montreal. That’s fine with me, because a friend’s new book, Simply Citrus, is inspiring me to stock up on grapefruit and tangerines, limes and lemons.

Around here, blustery winds and fresh snowdrifts are totally normal for March, and today’s mini pavlovas match the elements.  Crisp white meringues are reminiscent of the frosty snowbanks that blanket our homestead from end to end, while soft peaks of whipped cream cover them like the freshly fallen snow.

I think winter desserts are every bit as elegant as summer, and pavlovas are at the absolute top of the list. Read on for the mini citrus pavlova recipe, plus a giveaway of Simply Citrus.

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How to make a Chocolate Icebox Number Cake

It’s no secret that I like to play around in the kitchen, and today’s birthday cake is a perfect example of such amusement.

My leap year baby hits double digits this year, and since there is no 29th this month, we celebrated with friends and family last weekend. In the past he’s had a chess cake, an ice cream cake, and various other confections, but this year he specifically wanted an icebox cake.

The icebox cake is also know as a chocolate wafer cake or a Zebra cake, and consists simply of Nabisco chocolate wafters and sweetened whipped cream. In Canada, people use Mr. Christie chocolate wafers, and the ‘recipe’ is everywhere. My kids discovered this dessert one Christmas, when we made Joy the Baker’s icebox Yule log, and have loved it ever since.

When Mateo requested an icebox cake for his birthday, I decided to raise the bar and have some fun in the process.

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How to serve up a DIY breakfast taco bar

The Olympics are almost over; is anyone else as addicted as I am?

The performances are so inspiring and the athleticism absolutely jaw-dropping. I was moved to tears by Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s gold medal ice dance – and like the rest of the internet, I will continue to hope for a real-life romance (they actually train here in Montreal, not that far from where I live).

On a recent Saturday, when there was nothing but grey skies and freezing rain outside, the kids and I prepped the ingredients for breakfast tacos. Getting the little ones involved is part of the fun, and I can always use help grating the cheese or slicing the peppers. We spent a cozy morning watching Olympic snowboarding and munching on soft corn tacos. The kids assembled their own, customizing each to their tastes, and everyone was very, very happy.

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