The Real Greek Chef shares his top 7 tips for preparing a stress-free Easter feast

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Easter is a special time of celebration for families and friends to come together, enjoy each other’s company and indulge in great food. Growing up in a Greek family, food was always a central part of any family gathering and Easter is no exception. I remember all the amazing dishes that would make it to the dinner table and how special it was to share it all with my loved ones.

When you’re the designated family cook, it can feel daunting to put on the perfect spread for your family and friends, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Over my years of cooking and preparing Greek feasts, I have learnt many tips to help alleviate the stress and have fun with the process, while serving plate-licking dishes.

1. Magirista is an Easter must-have and with slight tweaks can be taken to the next level. My advice is to add the liver 15 minutes before it’s finished cooking. It will make it juicier and softer for a truly enjoyable experience.

2. When serving big groups, work smarter not harder. A lamb on the spit is a mouth-watering crowd-pleaser that serves large numbers with minimal prep time – simply season your lamb well and place it on the spit for cooking. My tip is don’t add salt on the top of the lamb at the start, but only on the inside where the stomach area is. After one hour of cooking, add the salt on the outside of the lamb and marinate it throughout the whole process with lemon and water. I suggest you use a spray bottle for convenience. 

Bread with Tzatziki.

3. Home-made bread is delightful addition to the dinner table, and in this case Tsoureki bread is the perfect choice and beautiful tradition to keep. When making home-made bread, I recommend kneading it twice over and letting it rise twice for the best texture. My little secret to the perfect Tsoureki is to always add mastixa for a delicious aroma and flavour that will leave your guests mesmerised.

4. Kokoretsi is another Easter favourite and whilst it can be a little tricky to make, it’s definitely a dish that wows at gatherings. My tip is to always cut the heart, lungs and kidneys into small chunks when preparing to make your task of fitting it into the lamb or goat intestines a little easier. To avoid spending a lot of time on this, why not offer it as an entrée instead?

5. Keeping it simple is a great way to manage your workload when hosting big gatherings. Don’t overlook some of the basic favourites such as Greek Salad, Tirokafteri and Tzatziki, which make for appetising tables fillers. Using the best ingredients is essential in elevating these dishes to Easter-spread worthy status. Always make sure you are using authentic Greek feta, high-grade olive oil and nice red tomatoes in your salad.

6. Speaking of Tzatziki, you should always be using authentic thick Greek yoghurt for the best texture. A good tip I use is to make it the day before for the best results, which also means one less thing for you to do on the day of hosting.

7. Have fun! The best meals are made with love, not stress. Stick to what you know and do well, selecting dishes that don’t require a lot more prep time to make in large portions. 

The Real Greek Chef restaurant pop-up will be at Crown Melbourne from 28 April to 21 May 2023. Bookings are now open and can be made at https://bit.ly/3MkCJaI.

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