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Killer bunnies & Mini Egg Espresso Martinis: A culture guide for Easter Monday

- Anca Ulea

Easter Monday is here and the Euronews Culture team has some tailored recommenda­tions if you find yourself with some spare time.

Here's our selection of the ideal book, series, film and tasty recipes. And if you're in the mood for music and more Easter-related content, check out our ideal Easter playlist, with dives into songs featuring the word 'Jesus', as well as the way Europeans have been celebratin­g the holiday in weird and wonderful ways.

Don't say we don't spoil you.

What to Read: "The Year of the Hare" by Arto Paasilinna

Sure, a hare is not an Easter bunny… But continuing on with our theme of bunny-adjacent books from last year, this classic tale of a jaded journalist who blows up his life and takes off into the Finnish wilderness with a wild hare in tow is the perfect read for your Easter Monday. It’s simple and charming - and it’s short enough to finish in one sitting.

Follow the misadventu­res of Kaarlo Vatanen, a journalist who is tired of his job, tired of his life and tired of his unhappy marriage. He finally musters the courage to leave everything behind after he encounters this hare, and the two start a new nomadic life together. Along the way, Vatanen meets a motley crew of different characters, from a conspiracy theorist living in a remote cabin to a religious fanatic who wants to sacrifice the hare.

It’s also a crash course in a very particular type of Finnish humour, from one of Finland’s most successful novelists. Give it a try this Easter holiday and, who knows, you might be inspired to make a big life change of your own.

Springtime is all about change, after all. AU

What to Watch (TV Series): The Second Coming (2003)

In 2005, Welsh writer Russell T Davies cast Christophe­r Eccleston as the magnetic central figure in a masterpiec­e TV show about a quasi-messianic figure. That show was of course ‘Doctor Who’, which Davies successful­ly rebooted after 16 years off air - and has returned to helm again, this time with Ncuti Gatwa in the leading role.

But two years before ‘Doctor Who’, Davies made another masterpiec­e, again with Eccleston as the lead. Riding a wave of critical success from his groundbrea­king show ‘ Queer as Folk’, Davies penned a two-part serial on how the world would react if someone claimed they were the second coming of Jesus Christ. And what if that man was also from the north of England?

‘The Second Coming’ isn’t a retelling of the Easter story but an entirely new chapter, localised in the early 21st century in Manchester. Eccleston stars as Steven Baxter, a down-to-Earth bloke going about his quotidian life when one day he disappears for 40 days and 40 nights. Sound familiar?

When Baxter resurfaces, he’s utterly convinced that he’s the son of God. Baxter quickly manages to bring the entire nation to a standstill as he convinces large swathes of the public that he is both the messiah and that a third testament - this time written by the people - is on the way.

The most interestin­g thing about ‘The Second Coming’ is the moments it takes to allow for doubt. When characters like Fiona Morris (Annabelle Apsion) question Baxter’s lack of miraculous powers up to the ambiguous ending that leaves you questionin­g whether anything could ever be changed by a deity walking among us. Although the show does go somewhat literal, with a Devil character (Mark Benton) possessing individual­s throughout.

Still, Davies’ musing on faith in modern life combined with Eccleston’s rough charm make this one of the most enduringly captivatin­g watches. Despite the pairing’s legendary status in British TV history, it’s a shame it’s so hard to find these days, though it is still available on DVD from Amazon. JW

What to Watch (Film): Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

I know what you’re thinking - you’ve seen it before, it’s played out by this point... But hear me out.

There are three things that my mum will never understand about me. 1) My obsession for tshirts, especially ones purchased at gigs or festivals; 2) How I've been able to listen to Tom Waits all these years and never get sick of his raspy delivery; and 3) How I find Monty Python funny.

As a Frenchwoma­n, she did not grow up on The Beatles of Comedy, and just can’t quite get with the sheer absurdity of it all. However, I did grow up on Monty Python. The Flying Circus show, the films, the compilatio­n albums... The lot. And while Monty

Python’s Life of Brian is usually the satirical classic of choice for Easter, as it follows a Jewish man named Brian Cohen who gets mistaken for the Messiah, my recommenda­tion to you on this Easter Monday is to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail. If only for one glorious Easter-related moment that had me laughing so hard as a child I used to fear a little wee might come out, and which still has me in stitches as a semi-functionin­g adult with full bladder control.

It’s not the issue of the migrating coconuts, the Black Knight who refuses to acknowledg­e defeat, or the booming voice of God bemoaning that every time he tries to speak to someone it’s “‘Sorry this’ and ‘Forgive me that’ and ‘ I’m not worthy’...” All hilarious, but not a patch on the moment the knights tred towards the Cave of Caerbannog, which is guarded by a monster. Tim the Enchanter paints a verbal picture of a terrible beast that has killed everyone who has tried to enter the cave. He warns them: "...For death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth!" We then see a rabbit emerge from the cave. A terrific sight gag, which only gets better, as it’s not just any bunny... It’s the Rabbit of Caerbannog, who suddenly leaps towards a knight’s neck and bites it clean through, decapitati­ng him almost instantly.

This was and remains the peak of comedy for me. There was something about the way it was so clearly played by a real fluffy mammal for the hopping around bones bit, only to be replaced for the killing scenes with a cheap puppet reflecting the film’s mere £200,000 budget. It’s the way the killer bunny moved, defying all laws of physics and zipping straight for the jugular. It’s the unexpected gore.

There are a lot of excellent cinematic bunnies out there. Bugs Bunny, Roger Rabbit, the Watership Down lot, Frank from Donnie Darko, David Lynch’s Rabbits, the one Glenn Close boils in Fatal Aattractio­n... But whenever I think of rabbits, there’s only one who gets the top spot: the one with “a vicious streak a mile wide” according to… Tim. And whenever I think of Easter, it’s Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones’ absurdist classic.

Granted, it’s become such a hallowed film that it borders on cliché nowadays; but if you can look past all the “Great British Institutio­n” and “Makes you proud to be an Englishman” nonsense, you may end up laughing just as hard as seven-year-old me - or adult me who simply cannot let an Easter pass without paying tribute. So, now that you’ve indulged in all the chocolatey goodness - Lettuce pray. DM

What to Bake (and Eat): Tsoureki

Deliciousl­y sweet tsoureki is a Greek brioche-esque braided bread traditiona­lly eaten at Easter (which this year in Greece is celebrated on 5 May). It can be covered in chocolate or stuffed with decadent fillings like chestnut, but these are the ingredient­s for a simpler loaf, centering on the unique, traditiona­l flavours of mastic and mahlab.

Here are the ingredient­s you’ll need for a large loaf:

500g of strong white (bread) flour 60g softened butter 7g fastaction yeast 70g caster sugar 10g salt 150ml milk 150ml water A pinch of mastic powder A pinch of mahlab (sometimes called mahlepi) ( Add cinnamon for a warm additional flavour, and sultanas for extra sweetness and texture!) Grated zest of 1 orange 1 egg for glazing

Enjoy! EM

What to Drink: Mini Egg Espresso Martini

It’s a bank holiday, so why not indulge your sweet tooth and love for boozy treats with this delicious Mini Egg Espresso Martini recipe? It's the perfect combinatio­n of creamy chocolatey goodness and cocktail bliss, all rolled into one. And the best part is, it's very quick and easy to make! Ingredient­s (Makes 2 cocktails):

70g of mini chocolate eggs 50g of chocolate for the rim (whatever variety you prefer) 4 tablespoon­s Irish cream liqueur Shot of espresso coffee Shot of vodka (or two if you're feeling extra naughty) 75ml of chocolate milk (Alternativ­ely, use cold coffee brew if you prefer a stronger coffee flavour) Handful of ice cubes Method:

Begin by rimming your martini glasses with melted chocolate and crushed mini eggs, then pop them in the freezer to set while you prepare the rest. In a blender, crush the remaining mini eggs until they form a crumbly texture. Now, in a cocktail shaker, combine the blended mini eggs, Irish cream liqueur, espresso coffee, vodka, chocolate milk, and ice cubes. Shake the mixture with as much sass as you can muster until smooth and cold. Strain the cocktail into the eagerly-awaiting rimmed martini glasses.

Voila! Time to sip, savour and enjoy. TF

 ?? ?? Killer bunnies & Mini Egg Espresso Martinis: A culture guide for Easter Monday
Killer bunnies & Mini Egg Espresso Martinis: A culture guide for Easter Monday

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