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Mary Berry and James Martin help you prepare the perfect Easter lunch


EASTER isn’t all about chocolate eggs. This Bank Holiday weekend is particularly special, as you can prepare an al fresco feast for family and friends outside of your household.

To make it an Easter meal to remember, take inspiration from two of the nation’s favourite chefs, James Martin and Mary Berry. Enjoy.

James Martin and Mary Berry have all the inspiration you need for this Easter

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James Martin and Mary Berry have all the inspiration you need for this Easter
  • Recipes from James Martin’s Islands To Highlands: 80 Fantastic Recipes From Around The British Isles (Quadrille, £25) and Simple Comforts, by Mary Berry (BBC Books, £26).

James Martin’s Stuffed leg of lamb with onion and leek sauce

Welsh lamb is the best you can get, says James Martin

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Welsh lamb is the best you can get, says James MartinCredit: Peter Cassidy

WELSH lamb is without question the best lamb you can get. It is one of the many types of produce that we as a nation need to keep purchasing. In this dish, I’ve made a stuffing with parsley, mint and black pudding and rolled it into a leg of lamb. The easiest way to do this at home is to buy a leg of lamb that has been tunnel boned, then you will have a simple pocket to put the stuffing into before you tie it up.

Serves 8

YOU NEED:

  • 2kg leg of lamb, boned
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the stuffing
  • Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • ½ small bunch of mint, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 150g black pudding, diced
  • For the sauce
  • 25g salted butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, diced
  • 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 25ml white wine
  • 400ml full-fat milk
  • 100ml double cream
  • A few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

METHOD: Preheat the oven to 240C/fan 220C/gas 9. Put the lamb on a board, skin-side down, open out and season.

To make the stuffing, put the parsley and mint in the bowl of a food processor and whiz to chop more finely. Add the garlic, breadcrumbs, mustard, hazelnuts and egg and season well. Whiz again to combine. Spoon the stuffing mixture on to the lamb and spread all over, then scatter over the black pudding and season again.

Roll up the lamb to enclose the stuffing, then tie securely with string, both horizontally and vertically.

Place on a cooling rack in a large roasting tray and roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and roast for 1 hour further. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

To make the sauce, heat the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Once it is melted and foaming, stir in the diced onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Stir in the leeks and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 30-60 seconds and season well. Whisk in the wine, milk and cream, season again and stir in the parsley.

Unwrap the lamb and lift on to a board. Slice and serve with the sauce, spooning over any resting juices from the lamb.

James Martin’s Irish salmon with mussels

Buy the best salmon you can from the most sustainable producers, is the advice from James

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Buy the best salmon you can from the most sustainable producers, is the advice from JamesCredit: Peter Cassidy

CHEAP salmon and the people who produce it should be outlawed, as they are directly responsible for the massive decline of wild salmon in recent years. Farmed salmon is not only cheap, it is also bad for your health. My advice is always to buy the best salmon you can from the most sustainable producers.

Serves 2

YOU NEED:

  • 50g salted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 x 200g salmon portions
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ shallot, diced
  • ½ garlic clove, sliced
  • A few sprigs of fresh tarragon
  • 2 large new potatoes, cooked and diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 200g fresh mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp Tabasco sauce
  • Juice of ½ lemon

METHOD: Heat a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat until hot, then add half the butter and the oil. As soon as the butter has melted and is foaming, place the salmon into the pan, skin-side down, and season well.

Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip over and cook for a further 2 minutes. Lift off and place on to a warm plate.

Pour away most of the fat from the pan, then place the pan back on the heat and add the remaining butter. Stir in the shallot, garlic and tarragon and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, mussels, capers, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Season well and stir until well combined. Pop a lid on and cook for 2 minutes until all the mussels have opened (discard any that are still shut).

To finish, squeeze over the lemon juice, spoon into bowls and top with the salmon.

JAMES’S TIP: Fresh mussels need to be alive before you cook them. To prepare, pull off the stringy beards, knock off any barnacles and give the shells a scrub in fresh water. Throw away ones with broken shells or any that don’t close tightly when you tap them.

James Martin’s Roast chicken with gnocchi

This is a great combination with roast chicken, tarragon and parsley

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This is a great combination with roast chicken, tarragon and parsley

POTATOES are, of course, the key to good gnocchi and I always use King Edward. Gnocchi are easy to make and you can even freeze them then cook from frozen. This is a great combination with roast chicken, tarragon and parsley. Serve with a nice glass of English white wine and it doesn’t get much better.

Serves 6

YOU NEED:

  • 1 large corn-fed chicken
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 25g salted butter
  • For the gnocchi
  • 4 large floury potatoes
  • 75g ‘00’ flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 25g parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
  • Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Small bunch of tarragon, chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 50g salted butter, for frying

METHOD: The night before you are going to cook this, brine the chicken. Put the chicken into a large deep bowl and cover with cold water. Add a small handful of salt to the water and pop the bowl in the fridge overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Lift the chicken out of its soaking brine, pat dry with kitchen paper and put into a roasting tin. Smother in the butter, season well and roast for 1 hour.

Prick the potato skins with the tip of a sharp knife and place in the oven to bake at the same time. After an hour, remove the potatoes and set aside to cool a little.

Check the chicken is cooked by piercing the thigh with a sharp knife. If the juices run clear, it is ready. If still pink, return to the oven and keep checking at 10-minute intervals.

Once cooked, cover with foil and rest for 20 minutes.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half, scoop out the flesh and put it through a potato ricer. To make the gnocchi, mix the riced potato, flour, egg yolk, parmesan and herbs together in a large bowl. Season and mix again. Bring the mixture together with your hands to make a dough.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured, clean work surface into a sausage around 2cm thick, then cut the dough into 2cm pieces.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Use a slotted spoon to carefully lower the gnocchi into the pan. Cook on a rolling boil and as soon as they float to the top, they are ready. Lift out with a slotted spoon to drain the water and set aside until all the gnocchi are cooked.

Heat the butter in a large frying pan. Once melted, fry the cooked gnocchi for 1-2 minutes until golden.

To serve, carve the chicken into portions and serve with the gnocchi, sprinkled with a few tarragon leaves and with some extra parmesan grated on top.

James Martin’s Stuffed porchetta

This dish involves unique cheese and pork

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This dish involves unique cheese and porkCredit: Peter Cassidy

DURING filming for Islands To Highlands on ITV, Michelin-starred chef Paul Ainsworth revealed one of his favourite cheeses is the local Dorset Blue Vinny from Woodbridge Farm. I went to Purbeck on his advice to visit one of the best pork producers I’ve ever found in the South. There I saw the famous hairy Mangalitza pigs, which translates as “pig of lard”. This dish combines that cheese and pork and it tastes so good.

Serves 10

YOU NEED:

  • 3kg boned pork middle loin, skin scored
  • For the stuffing
  • 300g Dorset Blue Vinny cheese, crumbled
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 2 English apples, grated
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

  • Chutneys and pickles
  • Watercress (optional)

METHOD: Preheat the oven to 240C/fan 220C/gas 9.

Put all the ingredients for the stuffing in a large bowl, seasoning well at the end.

Mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Lay the pork on a board and unroll it skin-side down. Using a sharp knife and starting at one end, carefully cut the meat in half horizontally, working almost to the very end so that it is still attached on one side.

Open out the length of the meat so that you have a very long rectangle. Spoon the stuffing over the entire surface of the meat and smooth over so that it sits in an even layer.

Starting from the end with no skin attached, roll the meat up tightly along its length to enclose the filling.

Secure with string that has been cut at least 5 times the length of the joint.

Make a noose in the end of the string, loop it around the pork, then pull the string through the noose and pull it tight.

Continue to work down the joint, wrapping the string around the underside of the joint and back around to meet the string at the top, then feeding the string over and under the string at the top, pulling it taught each time. Tie it at the end to secure.

Place the stuffed pork on to a rack set in a roasting tray and roast for 30 minutes.

After this time, turn the oven down to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1 and roast for another 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and let cool. Transfer to a large plate and chill in the fridge overnight.

When you are ready to serve, take the porchetta out of the fridge and leave for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.

Cut off the string, slice and serve with chutneys, pickles and a handful of watercress, if you like.

Mary Berry’s Celebration trifle

A favourite that Mary Berry makes year after year

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A favourite that Mary Berry makes year after year

THIS is the trifle I make year after year and all the family love it. Be sure to whisk the egg mixture quickly when pouring in the cream and milk. This cools the mix and makes a smooth custard base. It is important, too, to let the custard thicken gently over simmering heat.

Serves 6

YOU NEED:

  • For the trifle custard
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 450ml full-fat milk
  • 150ml double cream
  • For the trifle
  • 6 trifle sponges
  • ½ jar of raspberry jam
  • 1 x 400g tin of pears,
  • pears sliced and juice reserved
  • 4 tbsp sherry
  • 250g raspberries
  • 150ml double cream,
  • lightly whipped
  • 25g flaked almonds, lightly toasted

METHOD: You will need a shallow trifle dish with a capacity of about 1.5 litres.

For the custard, measure the caster sugar, cornflour, egg yolks and vanilla extract into a mixing bowl and whisk together.

Warm the milk and cream in a saucepan until just simmering.

Pour the hot milk and cream into the egg mixture and whisk quickly until smooth. Rinse out the saucepan, then pour the mixture through a sieve into the clean pan.

Heat over a medium heat, whisking all the time until the custard has thickened.

Be careful not to let it boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the custard into a bowl. Cover with cling film and leave the custard to cool, then place it in the fridge to chill. Slice the trifle sponges in half, spread them with jam and sandwich together.

Arrange them over the base of the dish. You might need to trim the sponges to make them fit.

Spoon over 6 tbsp of the pear juice and the sherry. Press the sponges down with the back of a spoon to encourage them to absorb all the liquid – add a little more pear juice if necessary.

Scatter the sliced pears and half the raspberries over the sponges, then pour over the cold custard. Put the trifle in the fridge to set for a few hours or overnight.

When you are ready to serve, spoon blobs of cream on top of the custard, decorate with the rest of the raspberries and sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Prepare ahead: Can be made up to 8 hours ahead.

Mary Berry’s Rustic apple tart

A simple but tasty treat for your Easter meal

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A simple but tasty treat for your Easter meal

UNFUSSY, simple, comforting and delicious, this tart can be made in moments.

Serves 6

YOU NEED:

  • 350g Bramley apples, peeled and diced
  • 100g caster sugar
  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • 500g block of all-butter puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Braeburn apples, skin on, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam

METHOD: You will need a large baking sheet lined with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.

Put the Bramley apples, caster sugar and 1 tbsp of water into a saucepan and stir over the heat for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved.

Cover the pan with a lid and simmer gently for about 10 minutes until the apples are soft. Increase the heat and cook to drive off any excess liquid, then mash the apples to a smooth purée. Leave to cool.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll the pastry out to a circle roughly 25cm (10in) in diameter.

Transfer to the baking sheet and brush the border of the circle with beaten egg. Fold in the edges and twist. To do this, push down on the edge of the pastry with your finger and twist the pastry over. Spread the apple purée in the middle of the circle. Arrange the sliced apples around the edge of the tart and a few in the middle.

Sprinkle with the demerara sugar and brush the pastry with more beaten egg. Bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes until well risen and lightly golden on top and brown and crisp underneath.

Melt the apricot jam in a saucepan until runny. Brush the tart with the glaze and serve with crème fraîche.

Prepare ahead: Can be assembled up to the addition of the apple purée up to 4 hours ahead. Arrange the sliced apples on top just before cooking.

Recipes from James Martin’s Islands To Highlands: 80 Fantastic Recipes From Around The British Isles (Quadrille, £25)

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Recipes from James Martin’s Islands To Highlands: 80 Fantastic Recipes From Around The British Isles (Quadrille, £25)Credit: Peter Cassidy
Holly Willoughby talks over James Martin in bizarre This Morning segment

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