Looking for inspiration during Easter? Look no further. Euronews Culture has selected the ideal book, film, series and recipe to make sure your holy weekend is brimming with recommendations.
Easter Weekend is here and Euronews Culture have some tailored recommendations if you find yourself with some spare time during these holy holidays.
Here's our selection of the ideal book, series, film and tasty recipe for Easter. And if you're in the mood for music, check out our ideal Easter playlist, with dives into songs featuring the word 'Jesus'.
Don't say we don't spoil you.
What to read: “Bunny” by Mona Awad
The Easter theme ends with the name on this one, but if you’re looking for a wild ride to take this long weekend, “Bunny” is the book for you. Think Heathers meets Hereditary with a touch of Stephen King.
It begins with a scholarship student at a prestigious American University, Samantha Mackey, who besides her above-average height and brilliant yet strange writing, is fairly ordinary. She’s been struggling with writer’s block, which is a problem because her master’s programme is all about creative, often nauseatingly experimental writing.
Samantha has no friends at school, and loathes the clique of women in her writers’ workshop who represent everything she’s not – wealthy, picture-perfect, saccharine sweet. They eat miniature food, actively seek frozen yoghurt, wear cutesy dresses and call each other “bunny”. Samantha’s only friend Ava, a caustic art school drop-out, calls them the “bonobos”.
After excluding her for months, the bunnies invite Samantha to join them for a private “smut salon” and she gets swallowed up into their hive mind. This is where the book really begins, as Samantha starts to lose grip on reality. Her hatred for the bunnies hasn’t abated, despite her inability to say what she really feels. She is horrified by the disturbing experiments they let her in on, but also plagued by her loneliness without them.
I won’t get into any spoilers, but there’s enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes and the ending is *chef’s kiss*. It’s also a quick read, so you should make it to the end before the real world rears its ugly head again on Tuesday. So hop to it, bunnies! Anca Ulea
What to watch (Series): 'School of Chocolate'
If you're looking for a show to binge watch and satisfy your sweet tooth this Easter, look no further than 'School of Chocolate'.
This Netflix series is like a chocolatey version of 'Masterchef' or 'The Great British Baking Show'.
Hosted by the incredibly deadpan but equally talented Swiss-French chocolate master, Amaury Guichon, 'School of Chocolate' pits eight contestants against each other in a series of mind-bogglingly intricate chocolate challenges. All are vying for the grand prize of $50,000.
In the first episode, Guichon challenges the contestants to create a chocolate-based pastry that's an illusion. His example? A giant chocolatey pencil that actually writes on paper. Very impressive stuff. In a later episode, the contestants are given 16 hours to design a chocolate showpiece that hangs from the ceiling. See for yourself:
Not only are the challenges on 'School of Chocolate' extremely creative and unique, but the wholesome nature of the show truly sets it apart from other reality shows. Whereas contestants are constantly yelling and sabotaging each other on other shows, 'School of Chocolate' is a refreshing break from all that drama. There's no over the top swearing or huge egos running amok. Instead, the focus is on the contestants learning and improving their skills under the guidance of the calm and collected Guichon.
While there might be the occasional snide remark from one of the contestants (ahem, Melissa), overall the atmosphere is positive and supportive, and it’s satisfying to see the gradual progression of their skills throughout the series.
Don't get me wrong though, I'm not saying that watching Gordon Ramsay rip into some poor, hapless chef and reduce them to tears isn't TV gold. But sometimes, you just need a show that's a little less intense. And 'School of Chocolate' fits the bill perfectly. Theo Farrant
What to watch (Film): 'The Prince of Egypt'
My Easter film recommendation couldn’t be anything other than the DreamWorks 1998 classic The Prince of Egypt.
"It’s got nothing to do with Easter," I hear you say.
Fact check time, kids. Jesus was celebrating the Jewish festival of Passover, which celebrates the Exodus story, when he was crucified. That means, if Jesus was still alive today, The Prince of Egypt would probably be His Easter watch.
And what a watch it is. The animation is stunning. Each render of the Ancient Egyptian Empire is a lovingly drawn tableau and the depiction of the plagues is second to none. Speaking of which, let's discuss the songs, specifically the opening number ‘Deliver Us’, which gets my vote for single most epic opener to a musical in human history.
The voice cast is better than a Wes Anderson movie. Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfieffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Steve Martin and Martin Short in one movie. Say no more.
Finally, compared to other biblical musicals like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, the storyline of The Prince of Egypt is vastly better owing to it using by far the most emotionally engaging part of the Old Testament. Best Easter film? Best film ever, more like. Jonny Walfisz
What to eat: Hot cross buns
Hot cross buns have been around for ages, dating back to the 6th century AD in Greece. These Eastertime delights are traditionally eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of the Christian season of Lent. The buns themselves represent the death of Jesus - with the cross on top representing his crucifixion, the orange peel reflecting the bitterness of his time on the cross and the spices signifying those used to embalm him.
Over the years, bakers and sellers have put various twists onto the delicious sweet treat - among the most "out there" are chilli and cheese, tomato and oregano and Vegemite - but it’s hard to beat the original version.
Here is Euronews Culture's preferred recipe for a guaranteed top notch hot cross bun this Easter weekend…
Ingredients (makes 12)
- 225ml milk
- 50g butter, diced
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice
- Oil for greasing
- 150g seedless raisins
- 75g mixed peel
- For the crosses and glaze
- 100g plain flour
- 2 tablespoons shredless orange marmalade, for glazing
Put the 225ml milk in a small pan and gently heat until it comes to the boil.
Stir the 50g diced butter into the hot milk until melted. Leave to cool for 5 mins, then stir in the 2 beaten eggs.
Sift the 500g of strong white bread flour, 50g of caster sugar, 7g of fast-action dried yeast, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of mixed spice into a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt and stir.
When mixed together, make a well in the centre, then slowly pour in the milk mixture from the pan, stirring until you have a slightly sticky dough.
Next, tip the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 10 mins, or until it’s soft and shiny.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover it with a cloth. Put the bowl in a warm place for about an hour to prove. You’ll know it’s ready when the dough has doubled in size. Then lunch the dough to knock out any air bubbles. Flatten it slightly, then scatter the 150g raisins and 75g of mixed peel into the centre and fold it into the mix.
On a floured surface knead the dough for another 5 minutes. When done, roll it into a ball, flatten it slightly and divide the dough into 12 equal sized pieces, shaping each into a smooth ball.
Transfer the 12 pieces onto a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper, leaving a 5 centimetre gap between each one. Cover the tray with a cloth and leave to prove for 20 mins.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to gas mark 6 or 200°C (180°C fan) for a regular oven.
Mix 100g of plain flour with 6 tbsp water until you have a thick paste. Spoon the paste into a piping bag with a 5mm round nozzle. Gently pipe a cross onto each bun.
Bake the buns for 20 minutes, or until they’ve turned golden and their bases sound hollow when they’re tapped. When cooked, leave the buns to cool down a little on their baking tray. While they’re cooling, heat 2 tablespoons of shredless orange marmalade in a small pan until you have a runny glaze. When it’s made, dip a pastry brush in the glaze and brush it over the visible surface of each bun.
You can then dig in! Hot cross buns are equally delicious warm from the oven, toasted, cold and adding a little butter can only improve them - bon appetit! Saskia O'Donoghue