Food & Drink

Recipes for Easter: Niall McKenna’s chicken cacciatore and traditional Victoria sponge

Impress your guests this Easter as Niall McKenna shows you how to make a rustic chicken cacciatore and a traditional Victoria sponge

Niall McKenna’s chicken cacciatore
Niall McKenna’s chicken cacciatore

In preparation for Easter, this week we have two fantastic courses to elevate your Sunday lunch. Instead of traditional roast chicken, use the chicken to create a chicken cacciatore, a succulent, rustic one-pot dish that is easy to prepare and bursting with flavour.

If you are having guests around for Easter and want to impress them with an after-dinner treat, this next recipe is perfect to enjoy with a cup of tea. My traditional Victoria sponge recipe is guaranteed to be so much better than shop bought bakes. The light and fluffy sponge filled with homemade jam, cream and fresh berries is a true delight.

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Chicken Cacciatore
Niall McKenna’s chicken cacciatore
Niall McKenna’s chicken cacciatore
  • 1/2 chicken, boned
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 200g plum tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper, finely sliced
  • 30ml red wine vinegar
  • 60ml red wine
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 20g capers
  • Basil to taste
  • Divide the chicken into four, you should have two pieces of leg and two pieces of breast.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan and brown of the chicken. Once the chicken has been browned, deglaze the pan with the red wine vinegar and reduce by half before adding the red wine and again reducing by half.
  • Add the garlic and further reduce the sauce by half.
  • Add in the onions and tomatoes and cook the stew until the sauce is thick.
  • Finish with capers and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Victoria Sponge
Niall McKenna’s  traditional Victoria sponge
Niall McKenna’s traditional Victoria sponge
  • 125g butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1-2 tsp of milk
  • 2 eggs

For the filling:

  • 280ml double cream
  • 250g fresh strawberries
  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  • Extra caster sugar for dusting.
  • To start, heat the oven to 180C. In a bowl beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, add in the eggs, the flour, baking powder and milk and mix until it forms a smooth mix. The mix should have a good consistency.
  • Next, get two round 20cm baking tins, line with grease proof paper and divide the mix evenly between. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. To check if cooked, use a skewer and place in middle of mix, if comes out clean, it’s cooked. Take the sponges out of oven and place on wire baking trays to cool.
  • To make the filling place 6 tablespoons of water in a pot with the caster sugar and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once dissolved, leave to simmer for one more minute. Take half of the fresh berries and cut into halve. Place the berries in the caster sugar mix, boiling again for a couple of minutes. Once this has a jam consistency, take it off the heat.
  • When the sponge is cool, whip the double cream. Place the jam onto the sponge, then add the whipped cream on top with the remaining berries. Place the second sponge on top and lightly dust with caster sugar.