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Easy Christmas starter recipes you can make ahead

by Malou Herkes

published on 15 October 2018

When it comes to starters and desserts, you can make Christmas easier for yourself with impressive, make-ahead dishes. Whether you’re going Nordic with a dill-cured side of salmon, keeping it classic with a traditional prawn cocktail, or seeking a punchy salad to kick off proceedings, this collection of easy Christmas starter recipes will help inspire you. 

Smoked Fish Plate

Mary Berry’s Balsamic Beetroot, Quail’s Egg and Smoked Fish Plate

A sophisticated platter of balsamic beetroot, quail’s egg, and smoked fish, this recipe from Mary Berry can be assembled up to six hours ahead, and dressed before serving.

From the book

Mary Berry

Prawns on Pumpernickel Toast (Pumpernickel toast skagen)

Prawns on Pumpernickel Toast (Pumpernickel toast skagen)

Make it a Scandi-style start to your Christmas meal with Rachel Khoo’s delightfully simple prawns on buttered pumpernickel toast from The Little Swedish Kitchen. It’s the perfect starter to rustle up as your guests arrive. 

Spicy Beetroot, Leek and Walnut Salad

Spicy Beetroot, Leek and Walnut Salad

by Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi

Go big on flavour with Ottolenghi’s spicy beetroot, leek and walnut salad from Jerusalem. This is a vibrant, winter salad with a kick of chilli and a burst of pomegranate to get the taste buds going.

Mary Berry’s Crab and Herb Blinis with Pickled Fennel Herb Salad

Mary Berry’s Crab and Herb Blinis with Pickled Fennel Herb Salad

These beautifully delicate blinis are flavoured with dill and chives and provide a great base for fresh crab, spiked with lemon, horseradish and parsley. Serve with a sharp fennel salad to cut through the richness of the shellfish.

Mary Berry’s Rustic Smoked Trout and Anchovy Pâté

Mary Berry’s Rustic Smoked Trout and Anchovy Pâté

“Quick and easy to prepare, this pâté is delicious served with hot toast and makes a lovely starter”, says Mary of this rustic sharing dish. You can find smoked trout in most supermarkets these days.

Gravlax (Dill-cured Salmon)

Gravlax (Dill-cured Salmon)

Rick Stein’s dill-cured salmon gravlax is deceptively easy to prepare. A cured salmon recipe with a thick crust of dill and peppercorns, this Christmas starter looks incredibly appetising when sliced and served with mustard and horseradish sauce.

Prawn Cocktail

Prawn Cocktail

A Christmas classic, you can’t go wrong with a retro prawn cocktail. With homemade mayonnaise and a dash of cognac, this recipe from Simon Hopkinson . Cooks is an all-time favourite.

Mackerel Pâté

Mackerel Pâté

by Tom Aikens

With hints of horseradish, lemon, paprika and dill, this mackerel paté from Tom Aikens: Easy is particularly good served on toasted sourdough bread. A great starter to make ahead, so you don’t have to rush on the big day. 

Smoked Salmon & Chive Potato Pancakes with Horseradish Cream

Smoked Salmon & Chive Potato Pancakes with Horseradish Cream

These smoked salmon and chive potato pancakes from Simon Hopkinson’s The Good Cook  are served up with horseradish cream for an impressive Christmas Day starter.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

by Tim Hayward

Mary Berry’s French onion soup from Classic combines sweet, caramelised onions with rich and mustardy Gruyère cheese croûtes for a sumptuous soup guaranteed to impress. 

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