The Small Treats of Easter
Easter is coming – a joyful feast with lots of symbolism. Some Easter symbols are actually much older than the Christian high feast celebrating the resurrection of Christ. They stand for the abundance in life after a long winter - visible in colored eggs, chocolate Easter rabbits, and flowering tree branches. Typical Easter treats include homemade cakes in lamb shapes, for instance. Here are some ideas for the Easter holidays.
Spring-color your life and enjoy fresh narcissus, tulips or willow catkins. Bunches of branches and spring flowers come in handy. And they are now at sale at flower shops, on markets and even in supermarkets.
Egg colors are available at every supermarket or drugstore. There are pills to be dissolved in vinegar or liquid colors for “shakers” or even gel pens and stickers allowing for the design of very individual eggs. Boil white eggs hard (important for conservation) and put them immediately into their color bath. When taking them out, wipe them with a tissue soaked in oil to make them shine, while still hot. Stored in your refrigerator, the eggs await their breakfast challenge: The egg battle requires two combatants. First round: One egg is held upright, the other one upside down. Now the upper egg knocks the one below. Second round: broader sides of the eggs facing each other. Winner of the first round is up. In the third round (only if both eggs have an undamaged side) the winner of round two is up again. Traditional fun game for the whole family!
Traditional Meals – It’s ‘Asparagus Season’ in the Rhineland
The traditional Easter meal in many families is lamb. However, Easter also marks the beginning of the ‘asparagus season’ in and around Bonn. The best asparagus in the region comes from Bornheim and, together with young potatoes and sweet butter, is a delight many have been waiting for all winter long!
It is worthwhile getting real good, fresh, regional asparagus, even if it is a bit more expensive. Good asparagus is thick and juicy. Peel your asparagus properly the day before you cook your meal. Don’t be shy to cut off a bit more of the skin – you will be able to use it for a delicious soup, so nothing will be wasted. Cut approx. 2 cm at the ends. Wrap the peeled asparagus in a wet kitchen towel and store it in your fridge.
Cook small potatoes in their skin. If you fancy long asparagus, get a very big or one of the special tall pots. Set water to boil, add a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of sweet butter. Boil the asparagus for approx. 10 minutes (try with a fork .. it should be a bit crunchy yet. While the asparagus is cooking, smoothly melt butter in a pot or pan.
Serve bundles of asparagus – five thick ones make a fine meal – with potatoes and the liquid butter. For non-vegetarians, add raw or cooked ham, a chicken breast or a slice of grilled salmon, or even a slice of lamb. Vegetarians might fancy adding some roasted seeds or cheese croutons. Parsley always comes in handy.
This is just the traditional Rhenish way of eating asparagus or ‘Spargel’. Today, asparagus is roasted, served au gratin and prepared in manifold variations. Find yours and enjoy!
Note: If you want to use the asparagus peelings and cut offs for a soup, wash them and cook them in a pot for 30 Minutes. Use only the broth, not the peelings and cut offs, to replace vegetable broth or chicken broth. Traditional, spicy, vegan? Sure you find your favorite recipe for great asparagus soup with one click on the internet with search words like ‘Traditional German Asparagus Soup’ or simply ‘Asparagus Soup’.
In the afternoon, you might fancy an Easter lamb cake or a carrot cake. There are hundreds of varieties in traditional, vegetarian, vegan and even gluten-free around.