There is something lovely about Easter time. Winter is officially over, (even if it is still as cold as hell over in England right now) daffodils – one of my favorite flowers – are in bloom and you can buy armfuls for next to nothing; blossom softens the jagged branches of trees…
(this hopeful sight was taken in Barnes two weeks ago which is rather miraculous given the weather over there, both then and now)…and last of all, lambs. They hop and skip in the fields…and as it turns out, right on to a rather large number of dining tables too, including – this year – ours:
Easter lunch’s leg was courtesy of my lovely neighbour KQ who owns QB Food and who’s a wonderful source of good and good value meat here in Singapore. He supplies most hotels as well as Cold Storage; buy from him direct and get wholesale prices.
Guests were family: my stylish and inspirational cousins John and Robert, both of whom I adore and who sadly, as it’s miles away, now live in the Cayman Islands.
I think it’s important not to think too hard about what Easter is like in England when you are not in the right country to participate. Meltingly hot weather puts paid to any chocolate egg hunts here in Singapore; calling home and hearing the customary bark of dogs at the ring of the telephone, the scrape of chairs on the flagstone floor as the assembled, lunching family on the other side of the world rush to answer the call and speak to you…it’s easy to feel nostalgic.
We got around the chocolate egg hunts this year by hiding those sweets in individual foil sealed wrappers – ant and heat proof – that are always next to the till when you pay for anything in Asia (I secretly love the blackcurrant ones). The cache can then be exchanged for chocolate eggs.
Church wise, an Easter Day service, for our family, is an absolute must. The churches in Singapore are generally, very, very different from the Church of England, Anglican services I am used to. We have finally found one (St Ignatius) which we now go to on Easter and Christmas and, hopefully, sometimes in between too. Service-wise, liturgy-wise and, crucially for me, delivery-wise it is almost the same as C of E*. The only snag is it’s Catholic, and we are not…but that doesn’t seem to matter too much.
Like a lot of people, I did also buy an Easter egg or two. After a brief flirtation with the idea of going to a specialist chocolatier (and spending a fortune) I decided that for our household, Cold Storage was about as sophisticated as it was going to get.
Fortnum & Mason on the other hand, which I always make it my business to pop into when I’m ever in London, have raised the stakes dangerously high in the chocolate egg department this year:
The egg to beat all eggs comes in the form of a milk and white chocolate dovecot, costing a jaw dropping £175 (S$350).
This nest egg will not do much for your nest egg (£200/S$400):
My favourite part about the trip to this British institution** with its Fountain restaurant that my grandmother always took me to whenever I came to see her? Their flamboyant, Marie Antoinette inspired ‘let them eat cake’ Easter time window displays. This theme is, I suppose, a distinct pre-requisite when you are selling extortionately priced Easter eggs:
*C of E stands for Church of England and is entirely different from the acronym ‘COE’ which you live and breathe when you’re buy a car here!
** Harrods may be marketed as a British institution but it’s really for tourists. Proper Brits would choose Fortnum’s over Harrods every day of the week and twice on Sunday.