Easter Sunday Lunch

When I took Arabella to hospital to have her wisdom teeth extracted, her scheduled surgery was delayed leaving me with a couple of hours of boredom.  The hospital was down in a ditch so there was no mobile/internet reception and the waiting room was devoid of all reading material except for one magazine.  I quickly snatched it and hurried back to Arabella’s room.

Dangling from the trees

Dangling from the trees

I can’t remember what issue of the Women’s Day it was, but in it was an extract from the new Jamie Oliver cookbook.  The 12-hour slow-roasted shoulder of pork caught my attention and so I photographed the relevant pages and wondered when I would entertain a crowd of enough people to make justice of five kilos of pork.

Jamie's recipe

Jamie’s recipe

The hunters

The hunters

Post surgical procedure, I forgot about the recipe.

Lunch is ready

Lunch is ready

But Easter Sunday lunch was booked in and there would be 15 around the table and I wondered what I would feed them.  That’s when I remembered the shoulder of pork.  Sorted.

Preparing the base for the pork at midnight

Preparing the base for the pork at midnight

On Good Friday Arabella phoned me and asked if we were still having an Easter egg hunt.  I told her that after 22 years of good and faithful service, it was time to retire the Easter Bunny and that I would just get her a couple of eggs and hand them to her on Easter Sunday.  She went into a state of shock.  ‘What do you mean we’re not having an Easter egg hunt?’  I will remind you that Arabella is 20.

Cover in two layers of foil

Cover in two layers of foil

So, the Easter egg hunt lives on.  And on and on.



On Saturday night I prepared the pork then waited until midnight to put it in the oven.  It did feel strange going to bed with the oven on.  Both young adults were still out and I did worry they would walk in through the kitchen, think it was all a big mistake and switch it off for me.

Crackle time

Crackle time

But that didn’t happen and in the morning the kitchen had a beautiful aroma and lunch was looking promising.  It was on with the Easter egg hunt with Archie refusing to get out of bed and Arabella demanding a 10-second head start on the hunt.  ‘I’m disabled’, she cried.  Yes, and 20 years old.

Buffet style lunch

Buffet style lunch

After the hunt that the Easter bunny had made very challenging by hanging some of the ‘eggs’ high up in the trees, it was back inside to get ready for the lunch.  But so much was already done!  I’d made the dessert the day before and the meat was a few hours away from being ready.

Potato and fennel gratin

Potato and fennel gratin

I cleaned the house and set the table and prepared the potato and fennel gratin that went with the pork, and prepared some green vegetables to steam at the last minute.

Vegetables affected by white balance

Vegetables affected by white balance

I took the pork out of the oven at 12md and let it rest for an hour while I cranked up the heat, put the gratin at the bottom of the oven and the rind on a tray on the top shelf to become crackle.  Now…the pork was a little dry but I’m convinced that’s because Jamie said to cover it in two layers of foil.  At midnight I pulled the foil from the roll only to find it was at the end and I had no more.  The shops were shut and all friends were in bed so there was no chance of getting some more.  So my pork barely had a single layer of foil and yet the meat wasn’t too bad; there was just a slight dryness that most didn’t notice.

Vegetables and an out-stretched arm

Vegetables and an out-stretched arm

The gravy was fantastic.  All you have to do is strain the pan juices through a fine sieve, pour into a saucepan over medium-high heat and reduce to desired consistency.  The gravy has a wonderful flavour because of the vegetables, apples, herbs, spices and cider that cook with the pork.

Chocolate and cherry cake

Chocolate and cherry cake

I love this recipe and can’t wait to cook it again.  Of all the ways I’ve enjoyed pork, this would be my favourite.  And I do love recipes where a lot of the preparation is done the day before.

Cake dusted with icing sugar and decorated with Easter eggs

Cake dusted with icing sugar and decorated with Easter eggs

Now…about the images…I have a new camera and it’s been working beautifully.  But on Easter Sunday something went horribly wrong as everything looked dreadfully over-exposed.  I didn’t know what was wrong with it and thought I needed to take the camera back for some urgent repairs.  But then I found that someone (and nobody is owning up), had adjusted the white balance to the worst possible extreme setting so all images have a dreadful pink hue.  Ghastly.  But I thought I’d post the pork recipe anyway however, with the dessert, I’m making the chocolate and cherry cake again and will post with new images.

Lemon cheesecake made by Millie

Millie’s Baked Lemon Cheesecake

5.0 from 3 reviews
Easter Sunday Lunch
Recipe type: Pork Roast
Cuisine: British
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 12-15
A slow-roasted shoulder of pork
  • 1 x 5kg should of pork, bone in, skin removed and reserved
  • olive oil
  • 4 onions
  • 3 eating apples
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh sage (30gms)
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 x 500ml bottle cider
  • 2 tbsns fennel seeds
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 dried chillies (I used 2tspns dried chilli flakes)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 130C.
  2. Peel the onions and cut into wedges with the apples.
  3. Trim and roughly chop the celery. Break the garlic bulb into cloves. Scatter it all in your larges roasting tray with the sage and bay leaves, pour in the cider and add a good splash of water.
  4. Bash the fennel seeds, cloves, dried chillies and 1 heaped teaspoon of salt to a fine dust in a pestle and mortar, then massage all over the pork with a drizzle of oil.
  5. Sit the pork in the tray, cover tightly with a double layer of tin foil and place in the oven.
  6. Roast for 10 to 12 hours or until the meat pulls easily away from the bone, then removed from the oven and cover with a couple of clean tea towels to keep warm.
  7. Increase the oven temperature to 240C (475F).
  8. Toss the reserved pork skin in a little oil and sea salt (you can either leave as one piece or cut into strips), lay it flat on a tray and roast until perfectly golden and crisp but do keep an eye on it.
Dangling from the trees

Dangling from the trees

We had one of the loveliest Easter Sunday lunches ever and I hope you did too.




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  1. Well, recipes arrive in surprising ways! How nice to have the lunch roast cooking while you slept. My granddaughter is just one year older than your Arabella and I remember when she was a young teen and declared no more Easter egg hunts. But I’ve just done one for the little one (6) & it was such fun. We don’t do sugar/chocolate but she had a bliss ball, and some other little presents, & tonight her mum served us homemade dark chocolate made with coconut sugar – delicious.

  2. I feel your pain with camera failures…but we get the idea and it’s still a great post 🙂 20? Is that too old to still want an egg hunt? Never!!!!

  3. Don’t fret too much about your pictures, Charlie as that Chocolate and cherry cake and Lemon Cheesecake still made me wanna lick the screen!
    I retired the egg hunt too – but then another blogger mentioned how she has an egg hunt for the 14-21 clan of kids that come over for Easter and instead of candy, she puts challenges into the eggs – whether it be a physical challenge like pushups etc or a brain teaser – I love that idea so much, I think I’m gonna bring the egg hunt back next year!
    I love Jamie Oliver – I don’t think I’ve ever made something of his I didn’t like! xx

  4. LOL at Arabella! She does look very young in that picture-I thought that it was an old picture of her.

  5. It all looks good, even with the wonky white balance. Our neighbors had an egg hunt for a young relative, and I felt quite jealous. I miss those days. Good for Arabella for staying young at heart! I’m sure Alfie quite enjoyed it too.

  6. How cute and charming that Arabella at 20 still wants an Easter egg hunt so glad to learn you pleased her. I am saving this pork recipe for when I need to feed a crowd thanks for sharing.

  7. Danielle says:

    What a lovely Easter lunch. This pork recipe is definitely a keeper and I am looking forward to the chocolate and cherry cake recipe, even with the wonky white balance it looks scrumptious. We had our family dinner on Good Friday with gazpacho to start and then lovely baked salmon.

  8. Quite right not to make a 12 hour pork recipe that feeds a crowd again just because the white balance is out – but I look forward to the chocolate cake. Looks like a lovely lunch. I remember you did a photo 101 post a while back – would love to hear more about your camera and maybe photo 102 post (or maybe there were a few posts I think it was a while ago)

  9. I say carry on the Easter Egg Hunt as long as you can. With all of my children grown and gone (and two living far away), I miss these traditions.

    The food, as always, looks delicious. And I’m with you in preparing as much food in advance as possible.

  10. This looks so good!
    I wish I could eat pork.

    If you want to try a twist substitute summer savoury for the sage.

  11. Fennel and pork…oh how lovely! Just the spice that I would love to try. Terrific recipe Charlie, and we did have a great easter bruch.

  12. Another gorgeous meal from you!

  13. My nephew is older than Arabella and in a fit of nostalgia, after my mom passed away, I decided to make the sugar cookies that she had made him each year for Christmas while he was growing up. Not only did he eat them but he insisted on the Xmas themed hundreds and thousands be sprinkled on top.

    Gorgeous pork roast. I’ll never have the occasion to make that amount of meat but I’m glad you were able to give it a taste test. Any chance Millie would share that lemon cheesecake recipe? It looks wonderfully bright to this sun deprived Ontarian.

  14. Oh, love the sound of this pork and love the look of that potato and fennel gratin – a beautiful lunch Charlie – love the way you bring the family together.

  15. Sounds like you had a fun Easter! I love that your daughter still wants to do an egg hunt. I would too if anyone would let me. 😉 Can’t wait to hear more about the cake.

  16. Easter egg hunts and Christmas stockings will be there for ever I think. None of the Glams are prepared to give them up. The pork sounds amazing, was it from Jamie’s Comfort Food book? GG

  17. Very impressive indeed, Charlie. Undoubtedly the pork was thoroughly enjoyed – single or double wrap issues aside. And your cakes are sooo creative. I’ll definitely have to remember to copy you next Easter! =) P.s. What a nice mum you are to continue the adventure of Easter egg hunting =)

  18. What a feast! We had a gathering of 5, so no need for 5 kilos of anything! Bill put the kibosh on Easter egg hunts about 3 years ago—but that’s when my baby was 18. They still get candy, though. We had a wonderful Easter, too—thanks for sharing yours!

  19. Call me slow, but I never though of photographing desirable recipes from the magazines in the waiting rooms of doctors and dentists. Brilliant! Also, that cheese cake with the little Lindt bunny looks rather special. Such a big feats – well done.

  20. Charlie, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who still has to stage Easter Egg Hunts for kids who should have been over it a long time ago … it is nice though, that they still love these traditions! I love slow cooked Pork and I have a gorgeous recipe I’ll be sharing on the blog soon x

  21. I can echo your satisfaction re that pork recipe, Charlie! After seeing it on Jamie’s very useful weekly newsletter and then happening upon him prepping it on TV, I did make it for one of the gatherings in the Hall here – it was an unqualified success even without any sides!

  22. So glad your daughter has recovered well and look at the dish that was discovered while sitting in the waiting room. Pork crackling for me is like food porn. Oh my goodness, you just served it out on the table like that I bet there was not a morsel left. (Fighting at the table while they are grabbing at the last piece? ) Wishing you and your family a very happy and bleated holiday.

  23. How funny about the camera! Maybe the Easter Bunny changed the settings to give everything a little candy-colored hue. I also liked to see that you do what I do in waiting rooms ! I always get funny looks from others when I’m using my camera to take photos of interesting recipes or magazine articles. It beats the old days when I tried to think of ways to take the magazines from the waiting rooms and mysteriously bring them home with me! I love the way this pork was cooked and would definitely like to give that a try. And I am glad that 20-year old Arabella loves her Easter egg hunt. There’s something very special about that. 🙂

  24. What a magnificent Easter meal Charlie. Pity about running out of foil and wonder who tinkered with your camera changing the settings.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  25. Charlie, I fear you have many years of egg hunting ahead of you. I’m 31, and this is the first year I didn’t insist on someone else doing one or organise one myself for Mr Bite (who is older yet but indulged me)!! I’m glad you found a use for the 15-person recipe and the pink hues made me smile 🙂

  26. Crackle time sent us shivers…Lipsmackingly good, Charlie!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  27. Today is Greek Easter and my MIL is still having an Easter egg hunt even though we’re all over 20! Some traditions, you just can’t quit. 😛

  28. I’ve never made a Jamie Oliver recipe that failed. I love your pork roast. I also think that as long as the kids want to hunt for eggs, you should hide them. 🙂

  29. You sure know how to feed the big crowd (every time!). The pork sounds wonderful and now it’s my turn to save the recipe! I rarely flip magazines but sometimes you get find gold! 🙂 You are funny – yeah 20 year old can have fun at egg hunt! 😀

  30. Scrumptious Charlie! Love this way of cooking, so easy to do ahead so you’ve got time to socialise on the day. Arabella is so funny, littlej is the same way though and still has to have Easter Bunny and Santa come visit each year. Apparently this must continue until she moves out….. 🙂 xo


  1. […] is the cake I made for our Easter Sunday lunch.  But remember someone ‘tinkered’ with my camera altering the white balance and so the […]

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