Easter Holiday weekend is an ideal time to invite family or friends round for a leisurely meal. The first stirrings of Spring bring seasonal delights such as tender young carrots, delicious new potatoes and succulent English lamb – perfect ingredients for an Easter Sunday dinner. Using beer, wine and spirits in the cooking of these ingredients adds to the flavour and texture of the finished dish and transforms an ordinary meal into something special.
Bloody Mary Sorbet
This unusual starter is sure to get everyone talking!

BLOODY MARY SORBET

1 tin (400 g) tomatoes
1 Tablespoon tomato puree
4 Tablespoons vodka
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
dash of Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper
1 egg white

Place all the ingredients, except the egg white, in a blender or processor and liquidise – or sieve the tomatoes and whisk well. Pour into a shallow tray and freeze until slushy. Return to the blender and blend until smooth or whisk vigorously. Beat the egg white until stiff and fold into the tomato mixture. Return to the freezer and freeze until solid. Serve a small scoop to each guest.

Roast Lamb with Red Wine Gravy
ROAST LAMB WITH RED WINE GRAVY

1 leg lamb, approx 2 kg
salt and pepper

GRAVY:
2 Tablespoons pan juices
1 Tablespoon plain flour
150 ml red wine
300 ml stock or water
1 Tablespoon red currant jelly
grated rind of 1 orange

Place the lamb in a roasting tin and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes per 450g plus 20 minutes over Gas 4/180C/350F. Keep the lamb warm while you make the gravy. Pour the pan juices into a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook over a low heat for 2 minutes until thickened. Gradually add the wine and stock, or water, stirring all the time and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the red currant jelly and rind. Simmer for another 2 minutes and adjust seasoning to taste before serving with the lamb. Serve with boiled new potatoes, garden peas and beer glazed carrots.

BEER GLAZED CARROTS

700g sweet tender young carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
300 ml light beer
25g butter
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
salt and pepper

Put the carrots and beer into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 minutes until just tender, then add the butter and sugar. Boil vigorously uncovered until the carrots are cooked and the liquid is reduced to a shiny glaze.

And to finish… a wickedly rich and extremely chocolatey dessert – a perfect ending to an Easter Sunday meal. Serve this in small portions as it’s very rich. To be really sinful you could serve it with chilled pouring cream or vanilla ice-cream.

CHOCOLATE RUM TRUFFLE GATEAU

450 g good quality plain chocolate, chopped
4 Tablespoons dark rum
5 Tablespoons golden syrup
600 ml double cream
cocoa powder to finish

Begin by oiling a 25 cm loose based or spring clip round cake tin and lining the base with non stick baking parchment. Put the chocolate, rum, and golden syrup in a bowl over a pan of simmering (not boiling) water and stir until melted. Remove the bowl and allow to cool slightly. Whip the cream lightly until it just holds its shape and fold one third into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest of the cream and pour into the prepared tin. Tap the tin to release any air bubbles and cover with cling film. Chill for several hours or overnight. Remove from the tin, place on a serving plate and dredge with sieved cocoa powder.

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