#TROYTribe - Alfresco Dining with Bella Philippi

For the second installment of our Alfresco Series, Bella Philippi, AKA @whatsforsupperbella shares with us her favourite alfresco recipes for the ultimate bank holiday feast.

Serves 4

Potato Gratin with Lemon, Thyme and Courgette

This is an easy gratin full of summer flavours and colours, making good use of courgettes which are growing in abundance in the UK at the moment. Make in advance and then use as a foundation for your next Al Fresco meal, serve with a plate of local charcuterie for everyone to help themselves too, a bowl of olives and a big crisp green salad.

Ingredients

4 good sized potatoes (I used Maris
Piper)

2 courgettes

200ml good quality chicken or vegetable stock

100ml single cream

4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only, the woody stalk discarded

1 Lemon, zested

A small knob of butter

Method

Thinly slice the potatoes (don’t worry about peeling them) and the courgettes. Layer them up in an ovenproof dish, with the stock, cream, thyme leaves and the zest of the lemon, added intermittently as you build up the layers. Top with a few small knobs of butter. Bake for approx 1hr30 minutes at 200C or the top right of an Aga, until the potatoes are cooked through and crispy on the top. You may need to cover with foil if the top potatoes get too crispy before the bottom ones have cooked!

Serves 6

Nectarine, Tarragon and Tomato Salad with Mozzarella 

Fresh and colourful this is the perfect salad to serve alongside barbecued fish or meat, eaten in late summer sunshine in the garden. Sweet juicy nectarines that dribble down your chin pair beautifully with ripe tomatoes, fresh tarragon, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Mozzarella is optional but not absolutely necessary.

Ingredients

3 ripe nectarines

4 to 6 tomatoes 

A handful of fresh tarragon

2 to 3 balls of buffalo
mozzarella 

Extra virgin olive oil 

Balsamic vinegar 

Method

Cut the nectarines and tomatoes as you wish, scatter them on a serving plate, tear up the mozzarella if you are using it, sprinkle with a generous amount of freshly chopped tarragon and a good drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

LEMON & RICOTTA CAKE

This is a classic Italian Ricotta cake that when made in a loaf tin is ideal for picnics. The cake has a dense almost brioche type texture that is made super moist and slightly savoury by the addition of Ricotta, it slices well and is easy to hand around and eat outside, making it perfect picnic food. 

INGREDIENTS

175g butter, at room temperature

360g caster sugar

425g ricotta

3 eggs, at room temperature

2 unwaxed lemons, zest and juice

1 and a half teaspoons baking powder

A generous pinch of salt

360g plain flour

 7x9 inch loaf tin (or 9
inch round cake tin) the base lined with baking parchment

METHOD

Preheat oven temperature to 180C.

Mix together the butter and sugar, then add the ricotta and beat or whisk for 5 minutes until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, continuing to beat well, then add the zest and juice of the lemons. Gently stir in the salt, flour and baking powder, not overmixing at this stage. Pour into a lined cake/loaf tin and bake at 180C (or the bottom right of an Aga) for approx 50 mins, until if you stick a knife into the middle it comes out clean, with no uncooked cake mixture. Dust with icing sugar and serve alongside seasonal fruit, such as raspberries, apricots or figs.

NOTE: Store in the fridge (and it is even better cold, I think!).

Bella's Pick

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