Tag: Easter egg hunt

10 fun facts for Easter

It’s that time of year again when chocolate eggs fill the shelves, bunnies come out from hiding and Creme Eggs take over the world – yes, you guessed it, it’s Easter!

 

Every year the world goes crazy for pretty much anything egg shaped and covered in chocolate but what’s all the fuss about? We’ve rounded up our favourite fun facts to let you know exactly why we love Easter!

 

  • Over 90 million chocolate eggs are sold in the UK each year.
  • The tallest chocolate egg was made in Italy in 2011 and measured 10.39 metres in height and weighed a whopping 7,200kg – wow!
  • The world’s most popular egg-shaped chocolate is a Cadbury’s Creme Egg. The Cadbury’s factory produces up to 1.5 million eggs every day!

 

 

  • The largest chocolate rabbit was made in South Africa in 2010 by artist Harry Johnson. The rabbit measured over 12 feet tall and weighed 3 tons – now that’s a big bunny!
  • The crackled pattern on the chocolate eggs, also known as the ‘crocodile finish’, was created in the early years of chocolate making in Germany to break up the smooth surface of the egg to cover up any imperfections.
  • Eggs are associated with Easter because they represent the symbol of new life along with chicks which represent new beginning and rabbits which represent fertility. It’s thought that eggs have been given as a gift to celebrate the spring for more than 2,000 years.

 

  • The largest Easter egg hunt consisted of 501,000 eggs that were searched for by 9,753 children and their parents in Florida, 2007. This mass event caused chaos as kids scrambled to get as many eggs as possible in the Florida heat – madness!
  • From October to Easter, Thorntons produce 4.7 million individual chocolate eggs as well as 1.7 million chocolate Easter models using their special Easter egg spinning machines. It takes 1.3 million kg of chocolate to create these tasty treats – that’s a lot of choc!

 

  • One of the most expensive Easter eggs on offer was made from diamonds
    called the Diamond Stella Egg (2006) which was worth a whopping £50,000 –
    now that’s an expensive egg!
  • When it comes to eating a chocolate bunny, 76% of people go for the ears
    first, 5% bite off the feet first and 4% eat the tail first – we’re
    definitely ear eaters first! How about you? Tell us in our comments box below!

 

Where to next?

– Classic Easter recipes

– Easter recipes for kids

– Easter cakes and bakes

 

Easter

I decided to go perfectly nuts about Easter this year. I don’t know why. I think maybe it’s because this winter was so long and hard – as winter always is when you have small children. I remember asking next-eldest sister what the hell you do in winter with toddlers and she said “You pray for bedtime.”

Anyway, so Easter to me has been a sort of beacon of sunshine. Everything would surely, I thought, have cheered up by the beginning of April. And then we had the coldest March since the the last ice age, or whatever. And people kept on saying “Three more weeks of blizzards, three more weeks of arctic winds” and I became more and more grimly determined that my Easter egg hunt and lunch, held today on Bank Holiday Monday, was going to be the Easteriest Easter celebration anyone had ever seen.

So I invited round eight people and three children, giving us 10 adults and four kids in total. Mad. MAD! Then I went on Amazon and Ocado and bought about £1,000 worth of decorations, saved packing straw for my quail’s egg display, sent my husband on a scourge of North London for the last available branches of cherry blossom, painted eggs, mass-purchased daffodils and ordered legs of lamb the size of Caribbean non-extradition islands.

And it actually went okay. I mean, it was chaos and the mess and noise was quite, quite indescribable, but the lamb was nice. It was boned, butterflied, stuffed and rolled and I have included the recipe at the bottom, but you will have to wade through my smug series of photographs first. Ha ha!

Easter tree decoration

Quail’s eggs with saved packing straw decoration and celery salt. You can make your own celery salt by baking celery leaves for 10 mins in a hot oven and then crushing the dry leaves with sea salt. Or you can just buy it.

The lamb – in the chaos I forgot to take a photo until it was mostly gone 🙁

I had millions of these foil windmills in the garden and they looked fucking brilliant

Ok guys so everything I find is mine and everything you find is mine and anything left unattended is also mine

For the lamb:

You need a boned and butterflied leg of lamb from a butcher. I got mine from Frank Godfrey in Highbury – don’t even ASK me how much it fucking cost I’m still trying to get over it. Okay it was £50!!!!!

Our lamb was 2.5kg.

You also need some string to tie it up.

For the stuffing:

1 tbsp capers
3 garlic cloves
6 anchovies
1 bunch parsley
some olive oil
2 tsp mustard
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 220

1 Chop all the stuffing ingredients together, loosen with some olive oil.

2 Spread the lamb with the mixture and then tie it up the best way you can see how.

3 Improvise some kind of roasting rack to lay the lamb on and then pour three large wineglasses of water into the tin. This does two things 1) stops the fat from burning in the pan and turning your kitchen in to a smokehouse and 2) makes a gravy, should you want one.

4 Put the lamb in the oven for 30 mins at 220 and then for 1 hr at 180. It rested for about 30 mins. My husband thinks that this was overdone, but I thought it was great.

To cut down as much as possible on stress, I made alongside this couscous and tzatziki, just so that it didn’t really matter when things were ready, it could all hang about for 20 mins this side or that of eating. If you are doing a lot of veg with a roast, this isn’t possible and it can all get quite panicky. Not that I didn’t have, by the way, a massive freak-out at 9am anyway where I nearly screamed at my husband but managed not to.

So happy Easter! This is all of course no bloody use to you now as it’s all over, but you can come back and have a look next year. 

Chocolate nests for Easter

I don’t know why this photo has come out blue

It occured to me the other day that I might be a tiny bit of a control freak. I arrived at this conclusion while thinking the other morning about why is it that I hate being pregnant quite so much.

Because I suspect I hate being pregnant an uncommon amount – I think I hate it and find it more onerous and tedious than other people do. I think I hate it out of proportion to its actual discomforts and indignities.

And I think that I am this way because if you are inclined towards control freakery, pregnancy is like a worst nightmare: your body runs off in all directions like an errant toddler and does all sorts of things you would never allow in real life: it gets fat, it won’t sleep, it twitches and jumps about at all hours of the day and night, it becomes tearful and exhausted for no reason, it is forgetful and irritable and slow and late. It does things that a control freak simply cannot laugh off or feel philosophical about.

I was initially rather pleased and smug at this self-diagnosis. Control freakery implies to me a level of organisation and “sortedness” that, as a control freak, I find wildly appealing. But control freaks aren’t always successful. My friend the writer Olivia Glazebrook, (her excellent novel The Trouble With Alice is available on Amazon), once said to me “so you’re a perfectionist?” and I laughed and said “I can’t be a perfectionist- my house is a mess”. And then she laughed (we were quite pissed) and said “You can be a perfectionist without having a perfect life.”

I didn’t really understand at the time, but what she meant was that seeking to control things, or to be perfect, is a psychosis, a sort of madness: and like the lunatic who likes to believe that he is St Jerome, (but isn’t and will never be), just because you seek control and perfection, doesn’t mean you get it.

It is the action of planning to control or seeking the illusion of control that control freaks need – not neccessarily the end result. It’s why I stockpile butter and cleaning products and toiletries: buying and storing them is to me more important a ritual than the actual fact of them being there. And it’s why although the last time I was pregnant I planned my hospital maternity bag down to the last can of facial spritzer, I failed to execute it in time and was left post-partum with no clean underwear, no nursing bra and no hairband. And no, needless to say, facial spritzer. I remembered the iPad, though.

Control freaks are often some of the most ineffectual people there are. Not to get too self-important about it, but Gordon Brown was a famous control freak and couldn’t get anything done. We are like dogs chasing our tails. It’s really quite sad.

All this self-knowledge doesn’t stop me from trying. Making lists, hoarding, planning, doing everything in advance: it’s soothing. It soothes me in the place of a repeat prescription of benzos.

But I have let go of certain things. For example, when Kitty is ill, which she is now. She has come down with a thing she had last year, which involves a high fever, red sticky eyes, luminous magenta cheeks, a stupendous amount of neon snot, resistance to infant analgesics and a lot of midnight wailing.

This would have traumatised me beyond belief this time last year, so insanely uptight am I about nothing getting in the way of my sleep. In fact, recalling Kitty’s selfsame infection last year, I am staggered, in hindsight, at how mean I was about her having to stay in her cot, even though she was weeping and holding her arms out to me and saying “Mummmmeeee”. My own mother, not a control freak in any way, was appalled by this. “Why don’t you just tuck her up in bed next to you?” she said. My mother never, ever comments on my parenting – she only ever says “Kitty looks well” or “that’s a nasty cough” – so she must have been shocked.

I didn’t want to put Kitty in bed with me because I was crazy (DESPITE THERAPY) and I thought that if you have a baby or toddler in bed with you even once even for half an hour, they will be in bed with you until they are 25.

But I was wrong. I had Kitty in bed with me for three nights when she was ill last year, I didn’t feel nearly as bad as I thought I would, and the minute she was better she went gladly back into her own bed and slept like she always had. It made me understand that there is just no room for absolutism when it comes to children. You have to be flexible. When they are very ill or very scared it’s different. There are exceptions.

So now when Kitty is unwell we all three of us just knock about all night, drifting from one bed to another, in and out of rooms, my husband and I silently handing our hot, weeping child to each other as some shared internal timer tells us that a shift has come to an end, giving each other the odd pat on the shoulder. It’s fine, we’re fine. She’ll get better at some point. Sleeplessness will age us, yes, but it won’t kill us.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t ample opportunity for benign control freakery in my life, like my passion for accessorising Kitty’s experience of national holidays.

Kitty has been talking, for a while, about an Easter egg hunt, as this is a thing she has seen on Peppa Pig. Having children gives you a new perspective on the winter: cold wet weather is so particularly ghastly when you have a toddler that you feel as ravingly joyous at its conclusion as ancient farmers on Welsh hillsides must have done 200 years ago.

And Easter really means winter is over – so this year, we are going to go nuts. I am going to have an Easter table centrepiece (fashioned from blossom twigs and hung with decorated eggs and festooned with ribbons) roast lamb on whatever day you’re supposed to have it and the most glorious Easter egg hunt you’ve ever seen.

And these chocolate nests, a forgotten thing from my childhood that I saw in a book. I do love Mini Eggs – with their dusty, pastel speckled shells they really do look like little wild birds eggs, don’t they? Or am I just a credulous townie?

Anyway, you don’t need a recipe. Just melt some milk chocolate in a bowl over warm water, then sprinkle in cornflakes, turn the flakes in the chocolate until covered (add a handful of raisins for extra pizzazz) then decant into fairy paper cases and dot with mini eggs.

If I can just get myself together to actually do all this and not miss the whole of Easter because I am too busy planning Kitty’s amazing bucket and spade summer holiday, we’ll be laughing.

 

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