Tom Aikens Recipes for Country Life

* Tom Aikens on sustainable fish

* Tom Aikens’ perfect Christmas lunch

* Tom Aikens’ perfect picnic recipes

* Tom Aikens’ barbeque recipes

* Tom Aikens’ Coronation chicken recipe

* Tom Aikens’ recipe for roast venison

* Tom Aikens’ recipe for sea-trout

* Tom Aikens’ recipe for roast lamb

* Tom Aikens’ ideas for sunday roasts

* Tom Aikens’ recipe for perfect fish and chips

* Tom Aikens’ recipe for perfect fish pie

* Tom Aikens’ recipes for perfect birthday party food

* Tom Aikens’ recipe for spicy chicken wings

Chilled cucumber and yoghurt soup

For the base of the soup
8 cucumbers, peeled and diced
1/2 small bunch of mint wrapped in cheesecloth
2 shallots peeled and sliced
1 leek, trimmed, using the white part only
40g butter
11/2 litres of vegetable stock
100ml double cream
Sweat off the shallots and leeks in the butter with no colour, then add the cucumber and the stock, and cook until soft. Purée and place in the fridge to chill.

For the vegetable stock
2 sticks celery, washed and sliced
1 onion, peeled and cut in half and sliced thinly
1 leek, split in half, washed and sliced
1/2 fennel bulb, cut in half and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into half/quarters and sliced
1 garlic clove sliced
1 bay leaf
3 star anise
12 whole black peppercorns
16 pink pepper corns
4 thyme sprigs
Few sprigs each of parsley, tarragon, and chervil
1 lemon zest
Juice of half lemon
4g coarse sea salt
150ml white wine
Water just to cover
Put all the ingredients into a pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn off heat and leave to cool. Strain through a fine sieve.

To finish the soup
2 cucumbers peeled, trimmed and cut into a small 1/2cm dice
2 cucumbers with the skin left on and grated on a box grater going around the seeds in the centre, so they don’t get grated
8 cucumbers peeled and placed in the blender, puréed and passed through a fine sieve
750ml plain low-fat yoghurt
11/2 litres of vegetable stock
75ml lemon juice
2tbsp of sugar
3g salt
10 turns of fresh milled black pepper
1 green chilli pepper deseeded and finely chopped
10 sprigs of mint finely chopped (add this to order to the soup so it doesn’t go black)
Add the above to the base of the soup and serve, garnished with a sprig of mint.

Crème brulée

The recipe below is a simple recipe that can be done the day before and it’s great to use soft summer fruits, such as raspberries, blackberries, strawberries.

Serves 6–8
750g double cream
250g milk
8 yolk
150g sugar
3 vanilla pods split and scraped
Little vanilla essence
400g soft fruits

METHOD
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla pods until pale, then add the milk and cream and whisk well. Leave for a day to infuse and whisk a couple of times in the fridge. Pass through a fine sieve onto the berries in an ovenproof dish (in small, round, flat, individual dishes, approx 8cm wide and 1cm deep, it’ll serve 6–8. For a large dish, approx 14 cm wide and 2 cm deep, the whole mix will serve 8). The mix shouldn’t be more than 1in deep. Put dish into the oven at 90˚C and cook for about 50–60 minutes—you’ll be able to tell it’s cooked when it has a slight wobble in the middle. Leave it to cool for 10 minutes, then chill in the fridge for two hours to firm up. You can either eat it instantly or sprinkle on plenty of caster sugar and caramelise it with a blowtorch.