#TROYTribe - Alfresco Dining with Clodagh McKenna
There is nothing we love more than an evening in the garden with friends & family, a large glass of Rosé and something delicious to eat. Cue our favourite This Morning chef, cook book author & sustainable farmer, Clodagh McKenna, to share with us her favourite alfresco recipes.
CREAMY SPINACH AND RICOTTA CHICKEN
2 chicken breasts, sliced in two horizontally to make 2 thin fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil
150g baby spinach
5 tablespoons ricotta
Grating of fresh nutmeg
50g fresh panko bread crumbs
50g parmesan, finely grated
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat a griddle pan over a medium heat until hot. Brush the chicken with olive oil, season liberally and grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until nicely charred and just cooked through.
2. Meanwhile melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the spinach and cook until it has just wilted, season with salt and pepper and remove to a plate lined with paper towels.
2. Squeeze as much moisture out of the spinach as possible, then roughly chop it and transfer to a bowl. Add the ricotta, a grating of fresh nutmeg and season liberally to taste. Mix well to combine.
3. Preheat the grill to high. Once the chicken is cooked, place the fillets on a baking tray and divide the spinach and ricotta mix between the fillets. Spread to cover the tops.
4. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and parmesan and grill for 5-6 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the breadcrumbs have toasted.
STRAWBERRY MOUSSE CAKE
For the sponge
100g plain flour
110g caster sugar
½ tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
70g unsalted butter
1 whole egg, 2 egg whites
Splash of whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
110g caster sugar
3 gelatine sheets
100g plain yogurt
200ml double cream
2 egg whites
Strawberries, sliced, for garnish and decoration
1. Preheat the oven to 180c / 160c (fan). Butter an 8-inch round spring cake tin and line with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Using a mixer/ kitchen aid, combine the flour, caster sugar, baking powder, and salt. Then slowly add the cubed butter and mix on a low-medium speed until you reach a breadcrumb consistency. Whisk together the egg whites, whole egg, splash of milk, and vanilla extract and add them to dry ingredients, and continue to mix until you reach a smooth consistency.
3. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes until the cake is set and golden in colour. Remove baking paper from sponge and let cool to room temperature on wire rack. Return the cooled cake back inside cake tin and line sides of tin with baking paper. Place sliced strawberry around the outside. Ready for the mousse.
4. Next make the strawberry mousse, by starting with a strawberry puree. Place the strawberries and 30g of caster sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat, stir so that the sugar is coating the strawberries. Allow the strawberries to cook for about 5 minutes, until they soften. While the strawberries are cooking in a small bowl with 100ml water add 3 gelatine
sheet and leave for 3-5 minutes to soften. Squeeze out any excess water from the gelatine. Place the softened gelatine sheets into the warm strawberries and transfer to a mixer and blend until you have a smooth puree. Set aside to cool completely.
5. While the puree is cooling whisk together the yogurt and remaining 50g sugar and set aside. Whip up the cream to reach a soft peak, then stir in the yogurt mix. Gently fold the cooled strawberry puree through the cream mixture. Whisk up the egg whites until soft peaks form, and fold through the strawberry cream, and then you have the mousse!
6. Spoon the mousse mixture into the cake tin, (on top of the sponge) and refrigerate for 2 hours.
7. Serve on cake stand with fresh strawberries on top as a garnish.
For more recipes from the fabulous Clodagh McKenna check out her brand-new cook book. Inspired by how much time you have in your busy life, it is packed with flavourful, speedy recipes that you can cook from start to finish in 10, 20 or 30 minutes.