Easter Weekend Easy Bites

You have your Easter Sunday feast all planned, but what about the rest of the long weekend? Chef Ross Birkin from ANEW Hotel Hilton Pietermaritzburg shares some scrumptious dishes for you to try at home.


Roast Butternut, Toasted Pumpkin Seed & Danish Feta Salad

Serves 1


  • 1 half butternut, cut into evenly sized squares
  • 80g toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 80g chickpeas, drained and ready
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 red pepper
  • 100g baby spinach leaves, cleaned and washed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 6 blocks Danish feta cheese, cut into evenly sized squares
  • 20g micro herbs (for example, basil, parsley, thyme or rocket)
  • 50ml balsamic vinegar (optional)



  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Peel the skin off the butternut and cut it into evenly shaped chunks, approximately 4cm in diameter.
  3. Coat and rub the butternut with salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil.
  4. Place the butternut in a tray, cover it with tin foil, and bake in the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until it’s soft all the way through.
  5. While the butternut is baking, rub the pumpkin seeds and chickpeas with smoked paprika, along with a hint of salt and pepper. In a large frying pan, drizzle a touch of olive oil and pan-fry the pumpkin seeds and chickpeas until evenly toasted.
  6. Remove the seeds from the red pepper, cut it into evenly sized strips, and set aside.
  7. Once the butternut is cooked through, remove the tin foil, and allow it to completely cool. When the butternut is cooled down, you can start assembling your salad.
  8. Begin by lightly mixing baby spinach and red peppers with a hint of olive oil, salt and pepper.
  9. Place the baby spinach and red peppers in your salad bowl, then add the roasted butternut cubes on top of the leaves. Top with the blocks of Danish feta.
  10. Sprinkle the toasted chickpeas and pumpkin seeds over the butternut. Lastly, add and spread the micro herbs across the salad and finish off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar (optional).


Crumbed Chicken Wings

Serves 2


  • 4L water
  • 6 chicken wings
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g fresh thyme
  • 5 potatoes (for fries)
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 4 large eggs
  • 300g panko breadcrumbs
  • 20g cake flour
  • 1 lemon



  1. Begin by bringing a pot of water (approximately 4L) to a boil. Season the water with salt, pepper and fresh thyme.
  2. While the water is heating up, halve the wings, removing the wingtips with the back of your knife. Add the wings to the boiling water and cook for about 12 minutes. Once done, remove the wings and let them cool.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into finger-sized pieces and boil them in water until they are soft. Set the boiled potatoes aside.
  4. As the wings cool, heat up the frying oil in a pot to around 170°С.
  5. Crack and whisk the eggs. Place panko breadcrumbs in one bowl, flour in another, and the whisked eggs in a separate bowl. Take each wing, coat it in flour, then egg wash, and finally in the panko breadcrumbs. Set the coated wings on a paper towel. Once all the wings are coated, add them to the hot oil and fry for about six to eight minutes or until they turn golden brown.
  6. Simultaneously, add the hand-cut fries to the deep-frying oil and cook until they are golden brown and lightly fluffy.
  7. Cut a lemon into wedges, removing any seeds. Serve the fries and lemon wedges alongside the panko-crumbed wings. Enjoy!


The Best South African Braaibroodjie 

Makes 2 braaiboodjies


  • 4 slices whole wheat bread
  • 4 tsp fruit chutney
  • 80g red onion, sliced
  • 8 tomato slices
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp mixed dried Italian herbs
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp salted butter

Equipment Needed

  • Open flame grill or braai
  • Griddle basket to hold braaibroodjies



  1. Start by slicing your tomato evenly and set it aside.
  2. Peel the outer skins off the onions completely, then slice the onions into small, even slices and set them aside.
  3. Take your whole wheat bread and spread the chutney evenly on each slice.
  4. Lay four slices of tomatoes on two slices of bread, then add the red onions.
  5. Lightly sprinkle salt and Italian herbs over the onions and tomato slices. Place slices of cheese on top of the tomatoes and onions.
  6. Lightly coat the outside of your bread with butter.
  7. Close the sandwiches in a griddle basket and begin to toast them over a light flame, continuously turning the bread to prevent it from burning too quickly.
  8. Once your bread is evenly toasted, and the cheese has begun to melt, remove it from the griddle.
  9. Slice the sandwiches in half and serve. Enjoy your delicious creation!


Chocolate Brownies

Makes 1 batch


  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup butter, softened (do not melt completely – it’s best to leave it in a cool dry spot the day before)
  • 2 eggs, whole
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup nuts chopped (your choice – we normally use toasted mixed nuts)
  • 200g chopped chocolate (any type of baking chocolate)



  1. Preheat oven to 185°C.
  2. Grease a square 8cm x 8cm pan.
  3. Sift flour with the sugar, salt and cocoa into a mixing bowl, and set aside.
  4. Add butter, eggs and vanilla.
  5. Use a spoon and beat 100 strokes per minute for three minutes by hand or two minutes on medium speed with a mixer with a paddle attachment.
  6. Stir in nuts and chopped chocolate until evenly mixed through.
  7. Pour into the pan and spread out evenly.
  8. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes.
  9. Cool and then cut into your desired shapes and sizes. Enjoy!


Special Thanks

A huge thank you to ANEW Hotel Hilton and Chef Ross Birkin for sharing some delicious recipes with us for this edition.