Our best starter recipes

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or planning a three-course feast, you’ll be needing a crowd-pleasing starter to set you and your guests up for an evening of fine food.

There’s no need to stress; we’ve got you covered on the starter front. Be it a colourful Greek mezze platter, a classic ham hock terrine or smoked salmon crostini, our round-up of best ever starters has something in it to please everyone’s palates.

Our best starter recipes

1. Mackerel pâté with quick-pickled radishes and spelt loaf

A timeless, easy-to-make starter which will satisfy whoever’s at the table – what’s not to like? Quick-pickled radish offers a subtle burst of sharpness, while a sprinkling of chopped dill adds extra freshness.

Mackerel pâté with quick-pickled radishes and Hoxton Bakehouse stoneground spelt loaf

2. Flatbread with red lentil pâté

This Moroccan-inspired dish makes a wonderfully fragrant start to the evening, with coriander flatbreads acting as the perfect vehicle for a full-of-flavour red lentil pâté. It’s suitable for vegetarians, too. 

Flatbread with red lentil pâté

3. Smoked salmon crostini

Smoked salmon is a sophisticated party staple, whether it’s served with blinis, sourdough or merely on its own. In this recipe, a simple but effective assembly of ingredients make a stand-out crostini canapé; we promise it’ll go down a treat with guests.

Smoked salmon crostini

4. Pepparrotssås (horseradish sauce) with pickled herring and hot-smoked salmon

This Scandi-style starter has a lot going for it, balancing an oh-so-creamy sauce with hot-smoked salmon, pickled herrings and fiery horseradish. It only takes ten minutes to make, so it’s perfect for when time isn’t on your side.

Pepparrotssås (horseradish sauce) with pickled herring and hot-smoked salmon

5. Cured salmon with crème fraîche and dill

Ever fancied curing your own salmon? Now’s the time. It’s easy to do, adds that extra wow-factor and when paired with crème fraiche and crusty bread, makes a fabulous combination which is sure to set mouths watering.

Cured salmon with crème fraîche and dill

6. Gazpacho with crab meat

Looking for a starter to get taste buds tingling? Take a good look at our version on the classic Spanish soup, perfectly paired with crab meat to add texture and keep things light.

gazpacho with crab meat

7. Three-onion soup with stilton croutons

We’re all for updating classic dishes to make them even more delicious, which is why we’ve added oozing stilton croutons to the tried-and-tested French onion soup. Trust us, it makes it a little bit more decadent and extra-indulgent.

Three-onion soup with stilton croutons

8. Mezze platter

If in doubt, know that a good-quality mezze is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Our more-ish Greek platter embraces a variety of piquant flavours, balancing salty parma ham with herby slices of halloumi, mixed olives and crusty sourdough. Perfect for keeping guests entertained.

Mezze platter

9. Burrata with sticky roasted tomatoes, pine nuts and basil

Here’s a simple, elegant starter teeming with gorgeous summer flavours of oven-roasted tomatoes and fresh, creamy burrata. Finish with a sprinkling of pine nuts and you’ve got one sophisticated starter on your hands.

Burrata with sticky roasted tomatoes, pine nuts and basil

10. Goat’s cheese and red pepper tart

Dinner parties mark a fitting time to impress, which is why you should consider presenting this beautiful goat’s cheese tart to your guests. The delicious blend of creamy goat’s cheese, sweet peppers and crispy pastry speaks for itself, but it’s a pretty good-looking tart, too!

Goat’s cheese and red pepper tart

11. Black sesame tempura asparagus with miso mayo

Asparagus tempura is the starter you didn’t know you needed. Until now. The combination of feather-light tempura batter and salty miso mayonnaise will make a standout dinner party starter; we guarantee guests will go crazy for this one.

Black sesame tempura asparagus with miso mayo

12. Roasted red peppers with basil

Simple but by no means dull, these slow-cooked red peppers – filled with fresh tomatoes, thyme and capers – are baked until soft and sweet then served with fresh basil. It’ll stay in your dinner party repertoire for years to come.

Roasted red peppers with basil

13. Blue cheese and thyme soufflés

A go-to dinner party recipe with a blue cheese twist, why not give this herby soufflé a go for the chance to really impress your guests? They’re not as challenging as you might think!

Blue cheese and thyme soufflés

14. Charcuterie board

A strong contender for the most captivating starter ever, make this beautiful board of British cured meat to tempt both the eye and taste buds with contrasting flavours, textures and colours. It’s too good not to try for yourself.

charcuterie board

15. Ham hock terrine

Donal Skehan’s version of the classic French recipe is easy to prepare in advance, making it a starter which is as reliable as it is impressive. We advise serving with good crusty bread or a bracing green salad.

Donal Skehan’s ham hock terrine

16. Baked camembert with crispy pancetta and sourdough sticks

We can’t imagine many who won’t go crazy for baked camembert, especially one which is oozy, boozy and covered in pancetta. Arguably the most indulgent way to kickstart a dinner party or gathering.

Baked camembert with crispy pancetta and sourdough sticks

17. Crusted beef carpaccio with Parmesan

A cut of fillet, parmesan, rocket, olive oil and dukka spice mix – that’s all you need to make this classy beef carpaccio recipe, a testament to the idea that sometimes, simplicity is key.

Crusted beef carpaccio with Parmesan

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