Yorkshire's Independent Restaurant Guide

Tom Aiken’s Easy

I love the cover of Tom Aikens new book Tom Aikens Easy, it’s a textured blue and white linen tea towel, though I can’t help thinking Aiken probably doesn’t do much wiping up these days.

He’s the chef of the very smart Michelin starred, Tom Aikens restaurant in Chelsea but who knows, maybe he gets down with the pot wash at his other places, the more relaxed Tom’s Kitchen in Chelsea and at Somerset House.

Tom Aikens Easy is Aiken’s third book full of simple, homely recipes that aren’t in the least bit cheffy. You won’t need a kitchen brigade or a litre of veal stock to make anything in here. Chapters are divided into healthy breakfasts, light bites, fast fixes, weekend cooking, sweet things and leftovers. The only thing lacking is Aiken’s own voice. If he wrote the book himself, it would have been good to hear more from him, but maybe he’s the tormented chef that spends all his time in the kitchen creating.

If so, he’s put together some good looking recipes.  Tempting dishes include  white onion soup with Gruyere croutons, ham and mustard macaroni, chocolate banana bread and fish recipes using sustainable fish like mackerel and mussels, part of his support for the Marine Conservation Society the charity dedicated to saving our seas, (he’s just run the London marathon for them).

The winning recipe though has got to be his terrific Salmon Baked with Juniper and Lemon Thyme, It takes just minutes to prepare and is brilliant. Slice a salmon fillet into four very thin slices – like carpaccio. Sprinkle four pieces of parchment with olive oil, salt and pepper, crushed juniper berries and lemon thyme and place a slice of  salmon on top of each. Scatter with more herbs. Place on a hot tray in a hot oven for 2-3 minutes. A perfect dish for this gorgeous spring weather with new potatoes and a green salad.