Starter recipes

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Starter Recipe = Fish Cocktail with Tarragon Mayonnaise

800-900 g firm white fish
1 litre water
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, sliced
small bunch parsley
few peppercorns
1/2 onion, sliced
5 ml salt
2 sprigs fresh thyme
25 ml lemon juice
2 egg yolks
25 ml tarragon vinegar
5 ml dried tarragon
2 ml salt
250 ml oil
75 ml thick sour cream
25 ml chopped chives
15 ml capers, drained and chopped

Bring all ingredients, from water to lemon juice, to the boil and then simmer, covered, for O minutes. Put fish into large aucepan, pour over boiling bouillon, bring back to the boil, then cover and simmer very gently until just cooked through. Leave to cool in liquid.
Make mayonnaise in advance and chill to develop flavours. Put egg yolks, tarragon vinegar, tarragon, salt and 25 ml oil into a blender and blend well. With motor running, slowly pour in the remaining oil. Scoop mayonnaise into a bowl and add cream, chives and capers.
Drain fish thoroughly remove any skin and bones, flake, then moisten with mayonnaise. Serve in cocktail glasses or in halved avocados.

Starter Recipe = Stuffed Mushrooms Gruyère

4-6 large brown mushrooms
4 spring onions, chopped
100 ml fine fresh wholewheat breadcrumbs
14 fresh rosemary needles, finely chopped
2 ml Worcester sauce
30 ml thick mayonnaise
salt and milled black pepper
grated Gruyère cheese
50 g butter
1 small clove garlic, crushed

Remove mushroom stems and Scoop out a little of the centre of each cap. Chop stems and centres tinely and mix with spring onions, breadcrumbs, rosemary, worcester sauce, mayonnaise and a pinch salt. Oil a large baking sheet and arrange mushrooms, hollows up. Season with salt and milled pepper. Top with stuffing mixture and sprinkle with Gruyère cheese and paprika. Combine butter and garlic and put a pat on top of each mushroom. Bake at 180 oC for 20 minutes, then serve with a spoon of the juices over each mushroom, and buttered wholewheat bread.

Starter Recipe = Chicken Liver Pâté

100 g butter
2 ml dried thyme
2 ml dried marjoram
1 onion, chopped
500 g chicken livers
2 ml salt
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ml ground nutmeg
25 ml brandy
50 ml sweet sherry
clarified butter

In a large saucepan melt butter with thyme and marjoram. Fry onion until softened then add washed, trimmed and sliced chicken livers. Don’t overcook. When just done, smelling nicely and the gravy beginning to look like gravy. Cool slightly then spoon into container of blender.
Add remaining ingredients, except clarified butter, and blend until smooth. Pot and pour a little clarified butter over. Mixture will be very soft, but firms up in fridge. Chill overnight. Serve with bread, toast fingers or Melba toast. Makes about 500 ml.

To clarify butter
Cut butter into dice and allow to melt over low heat without browning, skimming off any surface scum. Remove and allow to stand - the yellow liquid which rises to the top is the clarified butter. Cool and strain over pâté.

Starter Recipe = Anchovy and Green Bean Salad

6—8 anchovy fillets
200 g green beans
1/2 large red pepper
1/2 medium onion
2 medium tomatoes
1/4 English cucumber
1 x 200 g can tuna in oil
black olives
hard-boiled eggs (optional)
50 ml olive oil
15 ml tarragon vinegar
1 ml each salt and paprika
1 large clove garlic, crushed
5 ml capers, chopped
pinch sugar
25 ml chopped parsley
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Soak anchovies in milk. Trim and slice beans, seed and dice red pepper, and boil together until just tender. Slice onion into rings and skin and slice tomatoes. Pare and slice cucumber very thinly. Drain and flake tuna.
In a flattish bowl layer the beans, red pepper, tuna, onion, tomato slices and cucumber to cover the entire top.
Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together with a fork. Pour over salad. Top with drained anchovies, olives and hard-boiled eggs, if using. Cover and chill. Serve with hot French bread.

Starter Recipe = Green Salad with Pears and Ricotta Balls

300 g ricotta cheese
125 ml grated Cheddar cheese
1-2 spring onions, chopped
1 ml onion salt
pinch celery salt
few drops Tabasco sauce
2 ml French mustard
2 ml Worcester sauce
few sprigs parsley
finely chopped toasted nuts

75 ml vegetable oil
25 ml olive oil
1 small clove garlic, crushed
25 ml lemon juice
1 ml dry mustard
1 ml salt

2 medium pears
250 g broccoli
I butter lettuce
1 avocado

To make the ricotta balls, put all the ingredients, except nuts, into a processor fitted with the grinding blade. Process until thick and creamy and mixture forms a ball. Spoon into small dish and chill several hours.
Put ingredients for dressing into large wooden salad bowl, and mix with a fork until creamy.
Peel and core pears and cut into eighths. Add to dressing, toss well and then cover and allow to stand for up to 2 hours.
Steam and chop broccoli. Just before serving, shred butter lettuce coarsly, and dice avocado. Add broccoli, lettuce and avocado to pears and toss well. Scoop out large teaspoons of chilled ricotta mixture and roll into 18—24 balls. Roll each ball in chopped nuts and place on top of salad.