Outdoor entertaining recipes

Loving the warmer weather, we caught up with Hampshire chef and cookery demonstrator Gee Cartwright and the Cocktail Car's Oliver Gray for some outdoor entertaining inspiration. Here they share some of their favourite al fresco recipes...

Gee's Chicken, Fennel and Orange Traybake Serves 6

Ingredients 3-4 large bulbs fennel (approx. 1kg) 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil Zest and juice of 1 eating orange and juice of 1 lemon (about 100ml of juice) 2 tsp. sea salt 4 tsp. fennel seeds 4 tsp. Dijon mustard 12 chicken thighs with skin and bone still in 1 tbsp. olive oil 4 medium red onions, peeled, cut into thin wedges 12 unpeeled garlic cloves 200ml marsala, madeira or sherry Method • Remove the fronds from the fennel and cut out the core. Cut the bulb into quarters and then each quarter into three. • To make the marinade, place a large freezer bag inside a wide-necked measuring jug or similar, pour in the oil, add the orange zest, juice and lemon juice and spoon in the salt, fennel seeds and mustard. Stir briefly to mix. • Add a quarter of the chicken pieces, followed by a quarter of the fennel pieces, and so on until everything’s been used up. Seal the bag tightly at the top and lie the bag in a big dish. Squelch it about so that you make the small amount of marinade cover everything. It might look like there is very little, but it will be enough. Leave in the fridge overnight or up to 1 day. • Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for 10-12 minutes until they are beginning to soften. Transfer them to a roasting pan (which will fit everything in snugly) and add the unpeeled garlic cloves. Place on a medium heat and add the Marsala. Bring to a simmer, bubble for a few minutes. • Remove the marinating chicken and fennel from the fridge and tip the contents into the roasting tin with the onions. Arrange the chicken pieces so that they are sitting, skin-side up, on top of the fennel. Leave it for 30 minutes or so, to come up to room temperature while you preheat the oven to 200ºC / 400ºF / gas 6. • Drizzle some more olive oil onto the chicken and cook in the roasting oven of the Aga for 50 mins or in the preheated oven for 1 hour, by which time the fennel will be soft, and the chicken cooked through and brown on top. • Put the chicken, fennel, onion and garlic onto a warmed serving plate and put the pan over a medium heat and boil the juices, stirring until it turns syrupy. • Pour the reduced sauce over the chicken and serve immediately. Top Tip • The chicken can be marinated 1 day ahead. Store in fridge until needed.

Gee's Summerdown Mint and Pistachio Chocolate Fridge Cake Makes 24 Bars

Ingredients 300g dark chocolate (72% cocoa) roughly chopped 2 drops Summerdown peppermint oil 100g golden syrup 120g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes Pinch of salt 100g dried cranberries or cherries, soaked in 2 tbsp of rum for 30 minutes 170g digestive biscuits, roughly broken into small pieces 100g pistachios roughly chopped Method • Line a 28cm x 18cm baking tray with greaseproof paper. • Put the chocolate, peppermint oil, golden syrup, the butter and a pinch of salt in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water (without the bowl touching the water) and stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted and all is combined. • Stir the cranberries / cherries and their soaking liquid, the biscuits and about half of the pistachios into the chocolate mixture. Use the bigger bits of the nuts and keep the powdery bits for later. • Stir so that everything is covered in chocolate and pour into the prepared tray. Smooth out the surface and top with the remaining chopped pistachios. • Allow to cool slightly and then cover tightly with cling fil and pop in the fridge for two / three hours until set. Cut into the bars and you should get 24 small bars. Serve cold from the fridge. Top tip Make well ahead, cut up and keep in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve really cold and they will keep well in the fridge for a week and a month in the freezer if they last! I actually love serving them straight from the freezer.
Cocktail Car's Raspberry Cooler
25ml raspberry & peppermint syrup
25ml fresh lime juice
50ml gin
Topped with soda
To make the raspberry & mint syrup, blend 300ml boiling water with 300ml sugar and added 1 punnet raspberries and mint leaves. Leave to cool and strain.
Cocktail Car's classic mojito
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) fresh lime juice
2 heaped teaspoons superfine sugar.
1 cup crushed ice
8 peppermint leaves, plus 5 small sprigs for garnish.
1/4 cup (2 ounces) white rum.
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) club soda.
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