Making Tom Aikens meal kit Finish & Feast
One unexpected bonus of lockdowns was the rise in popularity of ‘restaurant at home’ meal kits, to bring top quality cooking into your home, and these have continued long after lockdowns have (hopefully) become a thing of the past. I’ve already reviewed several home restaurant meals and have been pleasantly surprised by not only how good they were but how much fun it was receiving a parcel full of foodie goodies, with little unexpected tubs and packets to be unwrapped, before a minimum of effort resulted in an impressive meal.
This was certainly the case with my latest restaurant meal kit courtesy of Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens and his Finish & Feast hamper. As an Easter treat, Tom has created a Spring menu which can be ordered for delivery to enjoy over the Easter weekend, and I was fortunate to receive a sneak preview of his Finish & Feast restaurant meal kit to see what is on offer.
Trying out Tom’s restaurant meal kit
The meal arrived on Friday morning in a chilled box and the menus clearly stated which ingredients should be put in the fridge straightaway. By Friday evening I was feeling pleasantly hungry and, after a busy week at work, was looking forward to assembling my three-course meal with the minimum of effort.
Starter – Ricotta, salt-baked and pickled beetroot and Schezwan cucumbers
There was no shortage of ricotta in this dish – a creamy lump of delight which, in retrospect, I should have taken out of the fridge 15 minutes in advance (as suggested by the recipe). However making this dish was a doddle, but still allowed me to channel my inner Masterchef. As instructed, I spooned the ricotta into the centre of a plate, made a well in the cheese for the dressing, arranged the beetroot discs around the cheese as shown in the picture on the front of the recipe, placed a beetroot fondant at either end, sprinkled the cucumber balls and toasted hazelnuts over the ricotta and finished off by pouring the rich, red dressing into the dip I’d made in the ricotta.
The result? A Insta-worthy starter in which the fresh, creaminess of the ricotta was perfectly complemented by the zingy cucumber and concentrated beetroot, with crunch and tastiness supplied by the hazelnuts. An early triumph.
Main course – Luxury beef short rib and stilton cottage pie
After the success of the main course, I was raring to tackle the main dish of the day. Finish & Feast had thoughtfully provided an ovenproof wooden tray in case you didn’t have a suitable one to hand (or couldn’t face washing it up afterwards) and after lining it with greaseproof paper to stop anything falling out of the sides, I filled it with the short rib filling, a solid gloop of meatiness which filled half the tray. I then sprinkled half of the grated stilton and cheddar cheese onto the filling (failing to resist the urge to sample a few chunks of stilton as I did so) and then piped the mashed potatoes onto the top to form a pie.
I say I piped, but in fact this task went to my very useful 10-year old sous chef who is a budding Masterchef himself and was very excited to be cooking such an impressive meal. He then put the chunks of squash onto the roasting tray next to the pie, drizzled them with olive oil and a little salt, and then placed everything in the oven for 25 minutes. With five minutes to go, we added roast garlic to the squash which we later mixed together and added crispy sage to garnish.
The result? A very tasty pie, rich and indulgent and very filling. The squash was a great mixture of crunchy and crumbly and worked well with the sage and garlic. I think it would have been even better with some greens – maybe beans or broccoli – as it was very rich, but another successful course.
Dessert – Apple and vanilla panna cotta
After the indulgence of the first two courses, we barely had room for a third, but this was the easiest to make, so you could have a nice restorative pause before getting stuck in. Preparing this dish was simply taking the lid off the jar, arranging the crumble and piping the apple gel between the crumble pieces (this sounds simple but my amateur technique meant I ended up with swirls rather than dots).
The result? It was creamy, crunchy, sweet, tasty and very indulgent.
And to drink…?
Finish and Feast has paired up with drinks giant Diageo to offer a choice of drinks to start your meal, so you can decide whether you’d prefer a vodka martini, whisky with mint and lemonade or a gin and grapefruit spritz, and there’s the option of a whisky, hazelnut and coffee martini to pair with desert. We were supplied with a couple of Johnnie Walker miniatures and two cans of lemonade, plus the mint garnish, which was much appreciated but it lacked the finesse of the rest of the meal and I would have thought one of those premixed posh cocktail pouches to pour over ice might have been more in keeping with the food.
As with other home hamper options, the Tom Aikens Finish & Feast meal kit was a fun and delicious way to spend and evening, with the unexpected bonus of getting children interested in cooking and preparing restaurant-quality food. As a romantic evening option it also works, as the minimal prep time and effort means one of you isn’t slaving over a hot stove all night. The quality of food was excellent and whether you are planning a special night in or just a break from cooking or ordering takeaway food, then it’s definitely worth checking out.
How to order
Finish & Feast seems to have become MySupperHero so check out their range of recipes.