Balance December 2017 - 51

S H A R E T H E LOV E

The role of food in Tom's life started
long before his first job in London
working, aged 20, with David Cavalier at
Cavaliers. Growing up in Norfolk, with a
big garden where his mum grew her own
fruit and vegetables, there was a real
focus on family mealtimes. Tom recalls
sitting around the kitchen table sharing
food and making memories which has
inspired his attitude to cooking.
'When it comes to friends and family,
being the perfect host isn't about
fine dining,' he says. 'It's about being
present and enjoying the moment. No
one wants you in the kitchen all night,
feeling stressed.'
So, for those without chef experience,
what are the best dishes if you want to
avoid spending hours at the cooker?
'I usually start with a huge chunk of
meat,' says Tom. 'Often I'll do a onepot dish like a lamb casserole, or on
Sundays, almost always some kind of
roast, with the vegetables in the same
pan. Either a chicken - which I'll brine
the day before and leave out at room
temperature the night before - or a roast
beef or slow roasted pork belly.'

vE Rec i

SEASON'S EATING S

pe s

f e st i

HOMEGROWN MEALS

Sweet
treats
Hosting festive dinner
parties and family gettogethers? Tom Aikens
gives his tips for sharing
life's sweeter moments

T

om Aikens had two Michelin
stars by the age of 26, has
opened five branches of his
restaurant concept Tom's Kitchen across
the UK - plus a sixth in Istanbul - and
is the author of four cookbooks. But the
chef's ethos for home cooking is simple:
tasty, fuss-free comfort food that
brings people together. The recipes he's
sharing with Balance have Christmas
dessert in mind, but what are his
thoughts on general festive hosting.
'I'm very much about keeping it
as simple and clean as possible,' says
Tom. 'Nothing is labour intensive.
Straightforward dishes I can prepare
in advance, that feed a lot of people at
once, using as few pans as possible so
there's not much clearing up.'

BA LA N CE December 2017

His mother's vegetable growing also
gave Tom a good sense of seasonality,
which remains an important influence.
'I'll always base the accompaniments
on whatever vegetables are in season,'
he says. 'Right now, I'll go for parsnips
and carrots, and onions with a bit of
honey, thyme and garlic.'
And if you haven't got time to prepare
in advance, but still want to impress?
'Grab some fresh shellfish,' says Tom.
'I'd do scallops - they don't need a
laborious amount of work. Cook them in
their shells with a little olive oil, thyme
and garlic for a delicious, luxury dish.'
And what about Christmas Day?
'I'll be cooking,' confirms Tom. 'There
will be me, my Mrs, our kids and we're
having loads of other family over - it
will be quite a household. I haven't
decided what yet - most likely a turkey
or goose. We'll see. What's important is
that we'll all enjoy it together.'

51



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Balance December 2017

Balance December 2017 - 1
Balance December 2017 - 2
Balance December 2017 - 3
Balance December 2017 - 4
Balance December 2017 - 5
Balance December 2017 - 6
Balance December 2017 - 7
Balance December 2017 - 8
Balance December 2017 - 9
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Balance December 2017 - 11
Balance December 2017 - 12
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