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Easter Food

Easter is fast approaching and, being good Gibraltarians, with our renowned passion for food, we explore Easter food traditions around the world. United Kingdom Hot Cross Buns So synonymous with Easter celebrations in the UK,  there’s even a nursery rhyme dedicated to it! Hot cross buns are small sweet buns full of currants or raisins and with a delicious flavour of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Decorate the with an icing or pastry cross to symbolise the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  Traditionally hot cross buns were typically eaten on Good Friday given that this is the day that commemorates the crucifixion.  Nowadays however, probably due to commercialism, these can be found in supermarkets as early as January! Simnel Cake Similar to the traditional Christmas cake but much lighter given that it is not laden with alcohol.  The simnel cake as we know it now originates from around the 20th century.  However, it has been a work in progress since mediaeval times. One key feature of the simnel cake is the 11 marzipan balls which decorate the same.  One for each of the disciples (barring the treacherous Judas!) This recipe by Mary Berry will be a welcome addition to your Easter recipe collection. Roast Lamb It is usual to celebrate Easter Sunday lunch with a roast lamb.  The tradition behind this is probably as a result of a combination of factors.  In the first place, John the Baptist refers to Jesus as the lamb of God in the John’s Gospel.  The eating of lamb is therefore a representation of Jesus but also commemorates the sacrifice he made at the Cross. In addition, lamb has been the traditional meat for celebrations since ancient times.  There is mention of sacrificial lamb ceremonies by the ancient Egyptians and there are also references to such practices in the Old Testament. Serve your roast lamb with mint sauce, roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Easter Eggs Traditionally Christians would forgo eggs during the lenten period and the Easter egg became a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings.  Additionally, the egg symbolises the empty tomb and therefore Jesus’ resurrection.   Nowadays chocolate Easter eggs are a big money industry and are enjoyed by children and adults alike. USA Devilled Eggs This is a classic Easter starter made with hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise, spices and mustard and tabasco for the “devilled” kick. Ham During Easter, many families will serve ham as their main dish.  The ham is usually topped with a sweet glaze which can be made with honey, brown sugar and mustard.  As with the UK, sometimes lamb will also be served. Typical side dishes to accompany the ham or lamb include roasted vegetables such as asparagus, carrots and Brussels sprouts.  Mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole are also hugely popular. Carrot Cake One of the most popular Easter desserts is carrot cake, a rich and moist cake made with grated carrots, cinnamon, and cream cheese frosting. Spain Easter, or Semana Santa is one of the most significant religious holidays in Spain. One of the most important Easter traditions in Spain is the processions.  These take place in the week leading up to Easter Sunday.  If visiting Spain during this time do not be surprised to find participants dressed in traditional robes and hoods. History of the Robes and Hoods Whilst some visitors may find this dress startling, the use of hoods in religious processions in Spain is a tradition which dates back centuries.  Indeed, the use of hooded robes is a tradition which is common in other countries including Italy, Portugal and some parts of Latin America. There is no connection to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).  In religious processions, the hoods are traditionally used as a way to maintain anonymity.  They also serve to focus on the religious significance of the procession.   The KKK on  the other hand use hoods as a way to conceal their identity whilst engaging in racist and violent acts.  That said, the use of the hoods as part of the Easter processions is not a practice which I like and I find the whole practice greatly unnerving. Traditional Spanish Easter Food Some typical Spanish Easter food include: Gibraltar As with all celebrations in Gibraltar, food plays a HUGE part of our Easter celebrations!  If you are ever invited to eat at a Gibraltarian’s house prepare to be stuffed!  We are known for providing obscene amounts of food! Good Friday is the day when families typically gather together.  In the past this was a solemn occasion when not even the TV was switched on.  Whilst this may continue in some families, it is not the case in ours.  Instead, in the immortal words of the Eagles, we gather for the feast!  On Good Friday it is traditional to avoid meat.  Instead, families will feast on a variety of dishes and it is not unusual to find a whole plethora of different dishes at a Gibraltarian Easter table. Torta de patata Torta de patata, also known as Spanish potato omelette or tortilla de patatas, is a classic dish.  It is a simple and versatile dish and you just need a few ingredients to make it.  Torta de patata is a staple not only at a Gibraltarian Easter table but for school lunches, picnics in the countryside and our National Day beach celebrations. To make torta de patata, start by peeling and slicing potatoes (about half a kilo) into thin slices . Next, heat up a good amount of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the potatoes until they are soft and tender.   If you like your torta with onions, fry some sliced onions in a separate pan until soft and golden. In a bowl, beat three eggs and add the potato and onion mixture, along with a pinch of salt and pepper, some garlic granules and dried parsley.  Mix everything together. Pour the egg and potato mixture into the pan and cook until the bottom is golden brown and the top

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