Making Easter eggs

Treasure hunt ideas: hide chocky eggs or pile up in "nests".

Years ago I went to lunch in Yorkshire with a woman in her 50s who must have been on the verge of a nervous breakdown. What’s the evidence? Well, she had invited loads of her daughters’ (all childless) 20 something mates for an Easter sunday lunch. Beside every plate (except her own) were three huge chocolate Easter eggs. It was obviously symbolic – 3 eggs etc – but also so sad that not one of us had thought of her. And shouldn’t she have practised her family Easter traditions before?

And then there was all that packaging to deal with – an extra dustbin bag… doubt Yorkshire had doorstep recycling back then.

Just in case Granny Fiona goes on an excess egg overdrive this Easter (hopefully unlikely) I’ve tried to establish some chocolate ground rules. This Easter our gang of four will all choose just one commercially-made egg (hopefully Fair Trade unless I’ve left it too late). I reckon eating a whole chocolate egg in one go will provide the ubiquitous sicky feeling for one day, and that’s enough. 

Granny however needs a more subtle approach, so Lola, Nell and I have just blown six of our hen Jay’s pretty pale eggs. Then we will paint the eggs, making one of the holes a little bigger so we can push in rolled up paper clues as to where Granny will have to look in order to find a nest of chocolate eggs. Actually these are going to be homemade truffles (my next task today and a complete labour of joy as it involves scraping a pan of melted chocolate!).

The real pleasure of this treasure hunt is that Granny will have to

PUt the blown eggs into a box, paint later.

smash the eggs in order to get the clues… I love this idea and borrowed it from Nature’s Playground: activities, crafts and games to encourage children to get outdoors by Fiona Danks & Jo Schofield (Frances Lincoln). Their clever tip is to number the eggs so the clues don’t get too muddled up.

It’s been fun making decorated eggs this spring, but if anyone has other ideas that mix eggs, chocolate and treasure hunts do share. Here’s some ideas to help you have a go (more like this in my book Homemade Kids; thrifty, creative and eco-friendly tips when it comes out in July 2010).

How to blow eggs
1 My kids prefer them to be washed (especially if they’ve come from your own or a friends’ hens).

2 Stab hard at the thin end with an awl (a skewer works too but because it’s so long little children often end up hurting their hands).

3 Turn the egg upside down at once and hold over a bowl so the yolk and white can drip out. Thank you gravity.

4 To speed things up either make the bottom hole a bit larger; or also stab the other end of the egg (the top now) with your awl and blow out the contents.

What to do with the blown egg contents
1 Add milk and chopped oregano/parsley then scramble

2 Get baking (cakes, scones etc)

3 Add to breadcrumbs and other tasty oddments then shape into veggie sausages or rissoles

4 Bulk up with milk or cream, flavour with cinamom or grated nutmeg and then pour over slices of bread and butter (and raisins) into an oven proof dish – there you go, bread and butter pudding.

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