IMG_5605When I was a little girl, Easter was something I looked forward to. Often staying at my grandparents house in the hills, in La Granja, my mother and grandma will make Roscas de Pascua, a sort of braided brioche with surprises and we would get chocolate Easter eggs. Bunnies were also quite a feature. For a couple of years at least, there lived in the pile of hardwood logs used to light the bakery’s oven, a family of rabbits. Not wild rabbits, but rabbits that had managed to escape from a domestic setting and lived hidden in this enormous wooden labyrinth , with it seem, nothing else to do, but breed. There were hundreds, and I am not exaggerating. With my siblings and cousins, We would spend hours and hours trying to catch bunnies, and we succeeded most of the time. Nothing better than to hold a lovely baby bunny, soft and docile. Sometimes we took two or three with us back to the city where we kept them in boxes and fed them carrots and then we returned them back to their family at the weekend. I remember that letting them go gave me as much joy as catching them. When I look back at my childhood in the countryside, I get a real sense of having been time, no clocks, no rushing, slow hours of trying to find things to do, how to entertain ourselves, and it was creative and exciting.
One of my favourite things as a child, because I always loved food, was to visit Doña Graciela, a friend of the family from Poland who lived in the most romantic house and always fasted for lent. She cooked a lot too, building up a feast for Easter Sunday. I still remember her beautiful table, her pristine tablecloth, the tiny vases with flowers and plates of cakes and biscuits she had baked with her own eggs, with poppy seeds from her garden. I would walk around that table and soak up the laborious effort, admire the aesthetics, delight in the taste of her love.
This year we organised an Easter Monday extravaganza with friends at Plaster Pitts. The house is still being renovated but Hugo and I put back the old dining room together so that I could set the sweets table. We went to the farmers market where I was happy to come across the lady from York who grows organic flowers that I sometimes buy in Alligator. She had the most spectacular tulips, and I bought three bunches. So different from the ones you buy in the shops, this were bigger and so magnificent in both strength and colour. I picked some cow parsley from the garden and sweet honesty from home.  I think I was trying to re create Doña Graciela’s table, but I was not fasting and I only cooked two enormous trays of brownies, one with raspberries and the other with salted caramel and meringue, but everyone brought sweets and cakes and the table began to fill up with the most delicious things. Apple cake, german rhubarb cake, small cakes topped with exotic berries, tiny easter eggs, cookies, chocolate gateaux.
It was lovely to watch the kids and grown up’s faces as they approached the table, and as soon as we gave the green light for pudding time, it wasn’t long before there were only crumbs left on the cake stands.