Recipe: The Best Christmas Starters

Recipe: The Best Christmas Starters
Rachael O Brien
Rachael O Brien

17 Dec 2017

So you've been given the job of the starter for Christmas dinner. 

Well fear not, here's some recipes that should keep you covered. 

Prawn Cocktail


Serves 4

  • 400g cooked atlantic shell-on prawn
  • 4 Little Gem lettuces, washed and trimmed
  • 5 heaped tbsp mayonnaise
  • 5 tbsp tomato chutney
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp creamed horseradish
  • tiny splash Tabasco sauce
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • paprika for dusting
  • 4 tsp snipped chive


  1. Peel all but 4 of the prawns (reserve these for the tops). Break the lettuces into individual leaves, then divide the leaves evenly between 4 small glass bowls.

  2. Sprinkle the prawns over the lettuce and season with black pepper.

  3. Mix the mayonnaise, tomato chutney, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish and Tabasco together. Season to taste with lemon juice and salt and pepper, then spoon sparingly over the prawns. Dust the top with a little paprika and sprinkle with chives. Top with the remaining prawns and serve immediately.

Butternut Squash Soup 

Serves: 4 

  • 25g butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 medium butternut squash - peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes and squash for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
  2. Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth (alternatively, use a hand held stick blender). Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.



  • 4 large Vol Au Vent cases 
  • 20g butter 
  • 1 brown onion, diced 
  • 200g chicken breast fillet, diced 
  • 1 spring onion, chopped 
  • 100g bacon, chopped 
  • 100g mushrooms, chopped (optional)

White Sauce

  • 70g butter 
  • 1/3 cup flour 
  • 2 cups of milk 
  • 50g tasty cheese, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place vol au vent cases on the tray.
  3. Heat vol au vent cases in the oven for 5 minutes
  4. Heat 20g of butter in a large fry pan.
  5. Over a medium heat cook onion for 2-3 minutes until softened.
  6. Increase heat to medium-high and add chicken, spring onion, bacon and mushrooms (if using), cook string occasionally until chicken is cooked.
  7. Meanwhile melt 70g butter in a small bowl in a microwave.
  8. In a separate bowl mix flour, milk and add butter until smooth
  9. Add the mixture to the pan along with the cheese and cook until thickened.
  10. Divide mixture between the vol Au vent cases, sprinkle extra cheese on top if desired, and bake in oven for 15 minutes or until hot.

Chicken Liver Pate


Serves 2

  • 300g of fresh chicken livers
  • 3 tbsp of brandy
  • 250g of butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp of soft thyme leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2 bay leaves to garnish
  • 75ml of clarified butter
  • Spiced Beef


  1. Rinse the livers under cold water and dry with some kitchen paper.
  2. Melt a generous knob of butter over a medium high heat in a non stick frying pan and fry the livers until cooked through.
  3. Pop the cooked liver into a food processor and set aside.Place the pan back over a medium high heat and then deglaze the pan with the brandy. 
  4. Add in the garlic and thyme leaves and allow to simmer for a minute or so.Pour the brandy, thyme and garlic into the food processor and blitz until smooth. Allow to cool.
  5. Add the butter to the food processor and blitz until smooth. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper.
  6. Transfer the pate into 2 jars, place the bay leaves on top and then pour over the clarified butter.
  7. Allow to cool and set and then cover and place in the fridge.
  8. Serves with slices of bread, crackers or toast