At home with Tom Shepherd

Obviously, hospitality has taken an absolute battering during the pandemic and many restaurants have adapted in order to survive by producing excellent restaurant standard ‘At Home’ boxes.

We’ve tried to support as many as we can since spring and this month it’s former head chef of Adam’s, Tom Shepherd.

Although Tom’s planning to open his own restaurant it’s been delayed due to Covid-19, so in the meantime he’s producing At Home boxes partnered with Sauce Supper Club which has been so successful it will continue into the new year.

One thing we’ve noticed with all the boxes we’ve tried is that concise instructions matter and these were the clearest we’ve had. The starter – confit turkey terrine pressed with pistachios and sage stuffing – literally involved taking it out of the fridge 45 minutes before serving and plating up with all the accompaniments.

Rich, tender and packed with Christmas flavours, the terrine was excellent, cranberry ketchup was punchy and a salad of green beans and crunchy sprouts with a truffle vinaigrette provided a bit of bite and added freshness. Mini loaves warmed through in the oven were the perfect wing man to the terrine, although we’ll admit we swapped the whipped Marmite butter provided for good old Lurpak. Heathens.

Up next was slow cooked rib of beef, smoked potato puree, swede fondant, hispi cabbage with chestnut butter and honey glazed carrot. There was a bit more faffing with this, but not much at all. A quick searing for the beef and root veggies in a pan plus a 10-minute blast in the oven with the cabbage. Sauce on the hob and potato puree in the microwave and voila.

The beef was tender and falling apart, the veggies were tip-top and the sauce was superb. If we’re being picky, the smoked potato puree was so intensely smoky it was a bit much for our taste, but that’s personal. Sticky toffee pudding was an absolute dream. Served with rum soaked raisins, butterscotch sauce and clotted cream ice cream it was seriously melt in the mouth moreish.

No one’s pretending it’s the same as going out, but it is the very next best thing. Apart from the food being superb, it encourages you to wheel out the best china, splash out on a beautiful bottle of wine (or two) and make an effort.