Category Archives: Christmas… Starters

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food Column with Carol Taylor – #Thanksgiving/#Christmas Traditional Menu

I am rather proud of this menu as it was the first time I put anything like this in print…The beetroot tartare I will be making again as we loved it…I hope you enjoy reading it and find something that you love as well…Thank you, Sally, for reposting this menu…Hugs xxx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I little bit earlier than last year, but with Thanksgiving not until 28th of November, I thought those of you having Turkey for that celebration might enjoy some of the dishes Carol Taylorcreated for this menu.

Traditional Christmas Menu (and some ideas for Thanksgiving)

This menu is a mix of the traditional with a couple of other dishes thrown in…I always like to make at least one new dish every Christmas some I never make again as they were ok..Just not that memorable…You know what I mean don’t you…

Prawn Cocktail

As far back as I can remember Prawn Cocktail has been a must-have for our Christmas starter…..One year I fancied a change and we had a fantastic fresh seafood platter with Oysters, Langoustines everything you could think of and some Thai dips made by the daughter in Law…The only way to eat Oysters. But we also had to…

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Christmas Recipes…Christmas Dinner …the starter?


Well, the tree is up…or trees I should say two to be precise…Now to my Christmas menu every year we have the same well rephrase that we always have Prawn cocktail it is a family tradition plus one other…

I  have tried to have two completely different starters and no one will have it..nope! Nada! Not ever!

One year I fancied a change and we had a fantastic fresh seafood platter with Oysters, Langoustines everything you could think of and some Thai dips made by the daughter in Law… The only way to eat Oysters.

But we also had to have Prawn Cocktail….I think I would get lynched if I didn’t make it and the sauce has evolved over the years.I now add horseradish for that extra bite. Some add Tabasco or Worcestershire sauce but we like it with just horseradish  I use salad cream instead of mayonnaise. Sometimes I mix the two it just depends on how I feel on the day.But as with anything it is personal taste so play with the sauce and find how you like it best.

Prawn Cocktail.

prawn cocktail



  • 500gm of Prawns, peeled.
  • 5 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
  • 5 tbsp Salad Cream.
  • 2-4 tsp hot Horseradish Sauce.
  • Salt and freshly ground Pepper.
  • 3tsp Lemon Juice.
  • Paprika to garnish.

To Serve: Fresh crusty brown bread as an accompaniment.

Shredded Iceberg lettuce.Tomatoes to garnish. Extra prawns for garnish…I leave the tails on these.

Let’s Cook!

Mix tomato ketchup, salad cream together. Add horseradish sauce, lemon juice, salt and black pepper.

At this stage, I taste and adjust the seasoning and add more of whatever I need to…. generally horseradish.

Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

To serve: Put some shredded lettuce in individual serving dishes with cucumber if using. Put a generous serving of the cocktail sauce on top.Sprinkle with Paprika.Garnish the dish with Prawns, A slice of lemon and tomatoes if using.


How about a baked whole camembert cheese served with cheese straws wrapped in bacon???

Now that ticks all the boxes for Moi…

Chicken Liver Pate:



  • 220g/8oz  butter.

  • 4 shallots chopped.

  • 2  cloves, crushed or finely chopped.

  • 450g/1lb chicken Livers, trimmed and cut in half.

  • 1 tbsp Brandy.

  • 1 tsp mustard powder.

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • 1 bay leaf, to garnish.

  • 2-3 fresh cranberries, to garnish.


  1. Melt 110g/4oz of the butter in a pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and fry until softened, but not coloured.
  2. Add the garlic and chicken livers and fry the livers until golden-brown all over and cooked through. Add the brandy and mustard powder and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Place the liver mixture and 55g/2oz of the remaining butter into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Transfer the pâté into a serving ramekin or small dish and decorate with a couple of cranberries and a bay leaf….. I use lime leaves as cannot always get fresh bay leaves.
  5. Melt the remaining 55g/2oz of butter in a clean pan. Skim off the froth and pour the butter over the pâté. Transfer to the fridge to chill, then serve from the ramekin when ready.



How about potato cakes with smoked salmon?

You can either serve it with dill and sour cream or cream cheese and capers or cream cheese with dill and horseradish..lovely!

Potato Cakes with smoked salmon.



  • 3 med potatoes, grated
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp Fennell seeds lightly crushed
  • Good pinch of salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Oil for frying.

Let’s Cook!

Heat the butter in a pan over a medium heat and add the onions cook the onions until they are soft then sprinkle over the brown sugar and cook until tender and golden make sure you stir them we don’t want them burnt, do we?

Put in a  bowl and set to one side.

Grate the potatoes and squeeze dry in a muslin cloth or clean t/towel it is surprising how much water you get out of some potatoes.

Mix the grated potato with all the other ingredients and mix well to combine.

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and take a scoop of potato mix I  use a tbsp then put into the oil and flatten with the back of your spoon I make mine about 3 inches in size but on Christmas may even do slightly smaller…

Fry until golden brown and keep warm in the oven until you have fried all your little cakes…

Serve maybe 2 or 3 per late with some smoked salmon topped with your chosen topping I prefer the cream cheese it has a little more body to it…

Or lastly and what I will probably do this year is some lovely steamed mussels with a chilli dip…

The worst job is the debearding and they can tough little buggers to get out but well worth the effort and no one likes to eat the beard do they? It doesn’t look appetising either.


  • 2lbs fresh mussels scrubbed and debearded.
  • 1tbsp oil
  • 2 shallots sliced
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 3 stalk of lemongrass crushed
  • 3 slices of fresh ginger
  • Zest of half a lime
  • 1 sm chilli sliced
  • A handful of Thai basil.

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oil in a large straight-sided pot and add shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes add the other ingredients except for the mussels and bring to the boil, stirring then lower heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Turn the heat up to medium add mussels and put on the lid cook for 2-3 minutes then stir and cook further 1 minute all the mussels should then be open. Discard any which are not.

Spoon the mussels into individual bowls or one serving bowl and spoon over liquid.

These are lovely served with a spicy chilli dip.


If you want something a little more special then try this instead.


  • 1 stalk of minced lemon grass
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • good 1/4 cup white wine
  • tbsp rice wine vinegar.
  • 2/3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 chillies sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander.
  • tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • tbsp brown sugar
  • 2tsp cornstarch dissolved in a little water.

Let’s Cook!

In a large straight-sided pan bring the chicken stock to the boil. Add wine, vinegar, fish sauce, chilli, sugar, lime leaves, garlic and 1/2 cup of chopped coriander when the sauce is gently boiling add the mussels and stir gently, put on the lid.Cook for 2/3 minutes remove lid and stir and cook for further 1 min any mussels which are still closed remove.

Push mussels to one side and add dissolved cornstarch cook 30 seconds and it should have thickened gently stir in mussels.


Now taste and if too salty add lime juice and if not salty enough add more fish sauce.

Sprinkle with Thai basil.

Serve in a large bowl or individual bowls.

I hope you enjoy these mussels as much as we do…Let me know which ones you prefer with or without the wine???

Well, that’s it for Christmas starters…What is your tried and tested family favourite Christmas starter????

Have fun and don’t get too stressed over Christmas and all the planning I do hope these daily recipes have helped you a little…

Until tomorrow Ciao …