Our clever Marketing Manager, Sarah, and creative Marketing Coordinator, Iona, have some great ideas for jollying up the Easter lunch table – brilliant, yet ludicrously simple (just the way we like our ideas!). If you’ve little people on school holidays, dyeing your own eggs could become a long-term project!
IONA’S EASTER BUNNY NAPKINS
Iona’s sister is an interior designer and taught her how to fold napkins into cute Easter bunny ears. For each napkin you’ll also need a length of string or ribbon, and a chocolate or hard-boiled egg to put in the middle. See below for how to naturally dye your own hard-boiled eggs.
You can use square cloth or paper napkins for these. If you’re using cloth, iron them first – nobody wants creased bunny ears! Striped napkins look particularly cute, or you could use a different colour for every diner.
Fold one corner of the napkin to the opposite corner to make a triangle. Starting at the point of the triangle, roll the napkin up firmly so that it looks like a rope.
Bend the napkin ‘rope’ evenly in half (you want the ‘ears’ to be the same length) so that it turns into a long, thin U shape.
Nestle the egg in the base of the U shape. Use your twine or ribbon to tie the two sides of the napkin together just above the egg to make ears. Voila! That’s all it takes to put an Easter bunny on your table!
SARAH’S DECORATIVE EASTER EGGS
Sarah grew up in Germany and her mum’s Easter tradition was to decorate eggs with natural vegetable dyes and pretty leaves. It’s a great alternative to painting eggs and very easy. Who would’ve ever thought vegetable skins could be put to such good use! Experiment with other vegetables and let us know what colours you come up with.
You will need:
Eggs (white eggs are best here)
A pair of pale coloured nylon tights
Scissors and string or elastic bands
Small flowers or leaves (flat-leaf parsley leaves work brilliantly!)
Vegetables for making the dye – brown onions, red onions, cabbage, beetroot
There are a couple of methods for dyeing eggs. The hot water method is quick, but only works with onions, which will colour your eggs orange or pink (if you use red onions). The cold water soaking method takes longer, but you can use onions, cabbage (for amazing light blue eggs!) or beetroot (red eggs).
Save 6–8 onion skins from your week’s cooking (this project is great for waste!). Or make caramelised onions or French onion soup for dinner and save the skins! Put the onion skins in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 15 minutes (don’t let the water boil away) until the onion skins have coloured the water deep orange (or pink, if you’re using red onions). Keep simmering until you like the colour – the stronger the better. Strain away the skins and keep the water in the pan.
Press a small petal or decorative leaf onto the side of each egg. Very tightly wrap the egg in the stocking and then cut the stocking to size, so that you can tie it securely at the back with string or a rubber band. The leaf should be held securely in place at the front under the nylon stocking.
Add the eggs to the pan of coloured water and simmer gently for 8–10 minutes. Lift out the eggs with a slotted spoon and plunge them into a bowl of cold water so they stop cooking. Leave to cool.
For the cold water soaking method, make your vegetable water in the same way, using onion skins, chopped cabbage or beetroot. Then strain and let the coloured water cool. Hard-boil your eggs in clean water for 10 minutes first, then put them in the cold dye water and leave for around 18 hours.
Carefully remove the string and the stocking, gently rub off the leaf and dry the egg with kitchen towel. Once dry, you can wipe your egg with a little olive oil on kitchen towel to make it really shiny.
Eggstraordinarily clever and beautiful!