Seeing as it was a holy day where I wholly wanted to be eating chocolate eggs and hot cross buns, I decided to give myself a helping hand in the kitchen.
I'd love to say I glamorously 'called in the caterers', but the budget didn't stretch that far so I took inspiration from some Delia/Nigella Express-style cheats instead.
The buffet-style menu featured the following dishes (which contained the following 'cheat' ingredients):
- Puff pastry tarts topped with balsamic red onions, goats' cheese and fresh thyme, and tomato, mozzarella and basil leaves. I used ready-to-roll puff pastry. No one makes their own puff pastry. Not even Gordon Ramsay
- Sticky chicken drumsticks roasted in a marinade which included a packet of the new Schwartz Shotz spice mix
- Classic potato salad. No cheats involved except - like Nigella - I used kitchen scissors to snip fresh chives into the mayonnaise. On second thoughts, it was shop-bought mayo too
- Red cabbage, carrot and walnut coleslaw in honey and mustard dressing, courtesy of English Provender Company
- Tomato, basil and pinenut salad. Completely cheat free. I even sliced the tomatoes
- Mixed leaf salad, from a cellophane bag. And bread from Marks and Sparks
- Sainsburys hot cross bun bread and butter pudding, in the style of Jamie Oliver's TV advert. Yes, I used ready-made custard from the chiller. And I buttered the buns, before marmalading them, for extra decadence
- Mixed berry pavlova. Homemade and decorated by the boy to stunning effect
- Easter chocolate muffins made from a chocolate bread mix from Saxon Chocolates and then topped with a nest of buttery chocolate ganache (hand-beaten, I hasten to add) and Cadbury Mini Eggs.
What's your favourite cheat ingredient? Let me know.....