Easter Weekend this year finally gives us in the UK something to look forward to, Woohoo!!
With the national lockdown easing it means that we can think about those Easter things that have become part of the family tradition, like the first Barbecue of the year. The Government website states:
The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. And this is why from 29 March, when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households will also be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside.
Check out the page Roadmap out of lockdown for more info- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021-summary
Make sure to plan so that you can see everyone over the four days, Good Friday, Saturday, Easter Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday. I had a quick glance at the long range forecast, which I know is not brilliant, just to get an idea of the weather and it looks like the usual overcast, but a bit warmer at around 11°. https://www.theweatheroutlook.com/twoforecasts/17-to-30-day-outlook.aspx?
Of course, that won’t deter us from cleaning up the patio and getting the cushions out!
I wanted to share a few ideas for making your Easter a bit special in 2021, from the hot cross buns on Good Friday, to the dragging the family out on Bank Holiday Monday.
Goodies Friday, 2nd April
I remember my Great Grandma making fish pie on Good Friday, but don’t know if the fish thing is still kept up. We generally head down to the local fish and chip shop maybe once a month, but if it’s Good Friday that’s just coincidence.
We always go for hot cross buns and, with Vegans in the family, we tend to go for a plant-based feast.
M&S Plant Kitchen Luxury Hot Cross Buns 4 pack £1.75
I try to have vegan options through the week and these fabulous buns are as good as any I eaten! M&S have come up with tasty hot cross buns full of fruity zesty flavour, which you can also get delivered from Ocado.
Don’t forget- lashings of butter! I mean a proper buttery spread and we love Naturli’ Organic Spreadable
3rd April - Green Mumma Easter Saturday Barbecue
We have got into a bit of a custom by having a first barbecue of the year at Mum and Dads and now it looks good to go. Dad is very keen on local butchers with source from nearby farms and Mum is big on locally-grown produce. It is always worth the effort of finding close-by farm shops for organic fruit and veg.
So, let’s get that barbecue glowing!
British charcoal 5kg £19.99
Try and look out for FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) charcoal, which focuses on sustainability and if it’s British, the cuts out the air miles! We found this one online and you can buy direct. Read below what they say…
"Burning clean with less smoke and more oak, Oxford charcoal is sustainable and home-grown. We use all species of hardwood, which we cherish from tree to grill, with absolutely no sneaky artificial additives or chemicals added.
Our wood goes through a labour-intensive process to make the lumps of charcoal. It is first carbonised by being carefully heated in a sealed retort. This burns away the wood’s natural moisture, creating the perfect charcoal.
We pride ourselves on using pure English charcoal straight from British Woodlands. This reduces imported charcoal, preserves endangered rainforests and reduces transport miles.
Charcoal made the traditional way tends to burn with a higher heat. An intense, even cooking temperature is reached in 15 minutes. Economical to use, you only need a small amount of charcoal to produce sufficient heat. Find out how we became the largest charcoal maker in the UK and some of the amazing uses for charcoal by talking to one of our experts."
There you go! By the way, if you don’t have a barbecue, try to avoid the single use tray packs as they are nigh-on impossible to re-cycle.
Have a quick read on what the Forest Stewardship Council says about charcoal: https://www.fsc-uk.org/en-uk/newsroom/id/273
If you are looking for fairtrade charcoal, then Co-Op stock a good range, but check out your local supermarket, as most have a fairtrade option.
Ok, so the barbecue is lit and it’s time for preparing food. We like to have vegetarian options, so be mindful of grill space if you have vegetarians or vegans at the event. Don’t spoil vegetarian barbecue food by having blood and fat spitting and dripping all over it! Mum cooks on an upper shelf in curled up foil, though you could use a baking tray.
Here are a couple of recipes you may want to try:
Vegan kebabs with avocado dressing- BBC Good Food
Pile chunks of mushrooms, peaches, courgettes and red onions onto skewers and barbecue them for a really yummy BBQ flavour. Served with a delicious avocado dressing. We add a simple salad of Watercress with an easy peasy sweet mustard dressing. Make the dressing in seconds- equal amounts of wholegrain mustard and golden syrup, lemon juice and mixed together with extra virgin olive oil. Drizzle on the olive oil to get the right consistency when you mix, then add salt and pepper to your taste.
Buffalo Wing Popcorn by Epicurious
Starving? Can’t wait while the barbecue is heating up? Munch on these fabulously spicy nibbles (warning- do not overfill bellies! These are super moreish). Remember to add a vegan spread instead of butter, so everyone can tuck in.
Home made beefburgers, from BBC Good Food
These burgers are really easy to make and taste fantastic! I always leave them in the fridge for an hour to firm up (they recommend half an hour here) before cooking.
How about thin slices of cheddar, popped on top of the burger three minutes before serving. Be careful on eating- allow to cool slightly, as my partner burnt his cheek with scalding fat which squirted out at a Barbecue last year…
And which big kid is going to miss out on the Heinz Ketchup?
April 4th - Making Easter Sunday Eggstra Special!
Easter Sunday is another big family day for us, with Easter eggs in the morning and a feast early evening.
Our little man is mad for the Easter Egg Hunt!
We are very lucky to live in a close, with a small park in the middle- ideal for the communal egg hunt and with plenty of room to be socially distanced but still able to keep a watch out. Make sure to take into account varying ages, so maybe a mini area for the toddlers.
If your little one has a special friend, remember, you can invite one other household to your garden, so still makes it special.
As usual in the UK spring we have to keep one eye on the weather. If it is a bit wet, then plan an indoor (your family only!) egg hunt. I am not keen on plastic eggs, but if you already have them, make sure you use every year. so we are opting for these chocolate ones from Lakeland….
Zaini Easter Egg Hunt Game with Chocolate Eggs 480g £9.99
In this Easter Egg Hunt Game, you’ll find 24 brightly wrapped little milk chocolate eggs to plant around your garden, along with six cardboard signs to help your little hunters find their way and strike chocolate gold!
For us bigger kids there are so many options, so try to go for Fairdeal sustainable growers. The choice for vegans is so much better than a few years back, so certainly worth shopping around…
Booja-Booja, Easter Edition Award-Winning Selection Chocolate Truffles 184g £9.99
Mine please! Well, no, these are actually for my brothers partner, but I am very tempted…
They are from Norfolk based Booja-Booja, Vegan chocolate specialists, who have won no end of awards for their fabulous truffles. These are a special edition, just for Easter. I also remember spotting the Booja-Booja hand painted eggs, which look amazing. These were ordered from the Booja-Booja shop on Amazon, but take a moment to look at their web site (https://boojabooja.com/) and read about their 20 year journey. If you are out shopping you can buy them at Waitrose or at Holland & Barrett and other wholefood shops.
Hotel Chocolat Easter Goody Bag £18
Hotel Chocolat have another winner with this super selection box, which means we can spread out the treats for our little chocoholic!
I have had a soft spot for Hotel Chocolat since visiting St Lucia a few years back. The farmers are fully supported by the company and have given a sustainable alternative to bananas.
They grow cacao on the organic, eco-conscious Rabot Estate cacao farm in Saint Lucia, and source still more through their Island Growers programme on the island.
For all-out indulgence, then how about this beauty?-
Classic Ostrich Easter Egg by Hotel Chocolat £80.00
Wow! Weighing in at over a kilo of chocolate, this monster is sure to delight even the most chocoholic people out there (for example- Me). Unsubtle hints may be needed ;)
Gus, the grey crochet bunny from The Green Mumma, £10
For those of you who would like an alternative to chocolate on Easter Sunday, let me introduce Gus! This super-cute crochet fellow is available from our web shop now, but don’t leave it too late, as stock is running low.
April 5th - Easter Monday Big Day out
The distance rule will be lifted in time for the Easter break, so you will be able to travel out further on the Bank Holiday Monday. Rules in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will be slightly different, so please check.
We will still try to keep our choices near to home. Also, remember that many sites will have pre-booked or timed entry, so check in advance.
Here are the Government guidelines:
The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March but many restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons
National Trust Membership from £72 a year
The National Trust exist to ensure our wonderful and varied countryside will be there for the generations to come- I sound a bit cheesy, but when we go out and about its such an uplifting experience and the thought that my future grandchildren may not experience these places makes me quite choked…
The membership options for joining the NT are very good for families, with 1 parent and children AND grandchildren for £78 a year or £126 for a two parent family. Don’t forget, many sites, especially woodland, are free to explore. Please note, Scotland has its own National Trust- https://www.nts.org.uk/
Anyway, let’s crack on with some visit ideas from the National Trust. As I want to be within easy travel distance, we decided to revisit Anglesey Abbey, near Cambridge.
This is a nice family stroll sized place, with a Jacobean Manor House and working mill. We don’t expect them to be open, but they look fantastic in the gardens. The garden has different areas, from formal to wild and a massive pond with huge black carp (?) gliding about. The canal walk is an easy stroll and always plenty of birds and other creatures. There are nice stretches of lawn for picnics and for frolicking (love that word!) with the kids. Don’t miss the scary Pan statue! We are anticipating one-way walks in certain parts of the park.
Let us know your favourite National Trust place in your area- child-friendly of course, that would be worth a visit on Easter Monday.
Here are a selection of places we have visited and loved in the last few years. Please check your local restrictions before you go, and maybe give it a miss if it seems too crowded! Descriptions are from the National Trust.
Powis Castle and Gardens, Welshpool, Powys
-Medieval castle rising dramatically above the celebrated garden
Watersmeet, Lynmouth, Devon
-Dramatic river gorge and ancient woodland in stunning surroundings. (Don’t miss Lynmouth, a picture postcard village at the end of the river, with tiny harbour)
Corfe Casle, Wareham, Dorset
-A favourite haunt for adults and children alike, all ages are captivated by these romantic castle ruins with breath-taking views across Purbeck
Culzean Castle and Country Park, Maybole, South Ayrshire
Robert Adam’s cliff-top masterpiece rises above a world of woods, beaches, secret follies and play parks. Check it out on National Trust for Scotland (https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/culzean)
I hope that has given you some inspiration for the Easter break. Don’t forget to share your ideas, recipes and places to go. Keep up to date with Covid 19 restrictions before venturing out or organising get-togethers.
Stay Healthy and happy
The Green Mumma