Italian EASTER brunch COCKTAIL invite

Treating your guests to a simple menu that is both inviting and unpretentious.
Some traditional along selected store-bought side dishes embraced us after an inviting cocktail.

This was last year's simple get together when I had suddenly found out that...
Easter brunch was going to take place at my table.
I'm still trying to remember how this had happened...no matter...it was an appreciated success.
Knowing for sure that I could not forego our traditional savoury 'Pastiera' and ham...
I quickly got to work on a simple to set Easter brunch.

I also got going on what dessert was going to treat our sweet tooth...
and decided that my ORANGE spice ALMOND flourless cake was the ticket.
Subtle sweetness extracted from Navel oranges...
found their way into a distinctive flourless almond cake.

Not only could I get a dessert out of this recipe...
I also retained the idea of making my favourite Brunch cocktail from:

 Grand Marnier Orange compote syrup.

(American and Metric measures)

. 6 large Navel oranges, peeled, segmented
. 1/2 cup (110g) brown sugar, packed
. 1/4 cup (60ml) water
. 1/4 cup (60ml) Grand Marnier liquor*
Other Orange-flavoured liquors: Orange Brandy, Marie Brizard-Orange Curacao or Triple Sec.

PREPARATION:  (make it a day ahead)
1. In a medium saucepan, cook down the oranges along with the sugar and water on MEDIUM-HIGH heat. As soon as a boil has surfaced, lower the heat to a very light simmer (one notch above the low setting).   Place the lid onto the saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes.  Afterwards, uncover pot to add the liquor, stir and leave uncovered for another 15 minutes. 
2. Afterwards, turn the heat off and leave it cool for another 30 minutes.
3. Prepare a sieve lined with cheesecloth in order to strain the orange pulp compote.  Make sure all liquid syrup is strained.  This usually takes about 15 minutes.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
Note: the leftover, strained orange pieces can either be used into the ORANGE spice ALMOND flourless cake or other desserts of your choice.  This mix also freezes very well for later use.

 Break out the water bubbly and blend it with this tantalizing, spirited....
 syrup to create an appetite opening beverage.
Orange Grand Marnier Mimosa style cocktail
(using the strained syrup from the orange compote mix)

For a crunchy snack to accompany your inviting cocktail...
roasted (savoury-sweet) flavoured almonds were offered.

Onto the Easter Brunch table:

Marinated oyster mushrooms
Marinated artichoke hearts
black olives (variety of choice)

Fresh Mozzarella or Bocconcini platter
Seasoned with a drizzle of extra virgin Olive oil, sea salt, marjoram.  Fresh basil leaf garnish.

Other Cheese dedicated platter... 
with a side of sliced Italian rustic bread:

strong, aged cheddar
Torta mascarpone
(a blend of Gorgonzola an Mascarpone)

Main dishes :  
Pastiera and Ham

Egg noodle ham savoury torte
Sweet baked ham 

' Pastiera Salata Napoletana di Pasqua
con dolce Prosciutto Cotto '

cooked Ham 
(either basted or sliced plain with a few orange slices for decorative garnish)

Here's wishing all who celebrate Easter...
a wonderful union with your loved ones. 

Whether your table is elaborate or not...
warm hugs and great conversation will always be remembered above all.

Flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at:  foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SWEET creations.
Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.

OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.