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Starter Recipes

Scottish Smoked Salmon with Lemon Dressing

Scotland is famous for its salmon, both fresh and smoked. This type of fish teams well with lemon juice and cream cheese to make canapes, and it can also be used to make sandwiches, quiches, pasta dishes or salads. The term ‘smoked salmon’ refers to wild or farmed fish, hot or cold smoked, and either filet or steaks. The term ‘lox’ is often used to refer to smoked salmon, although lox is salmon which has been cured in a salt and sugar brine or rub. Choose good quality, cold-smoked Scottish smoked salmon for this recipe, or another type of good quality smoked salmon instead from another region.

The following recipe serves the smoked salmon with a simple lemon, olive oil, sugar and black pepper dressing, along with a few capers. Consider some finely sliced onion and salad leaves on top. If you do not want to use onion, snipped chives would also work here. Else just omit both of these if you prefer. This is a light and healthy starter recipe which would go before any kind of meat-based main course.

Smoked salmon provides a range of vitamins as well as minerals like copper, selenium, calcium, zinc, iron, and phosphorus. Adding smoked salmon to a dish also adds a touch of luxury to the plate. Consider this as a starter for Valentine’s Day or another special occasion. It takes just a few minutes to assemble and there is no cooking required. The acidic lemon and salty capers really showcase the delicate smoked salmon flavour. So if you want to experience the exquisite flavour of true Scottish salmon but a fishing expedition is not on the calendar anytime soon, give this recipe a try instead. Continue reading

Elegant Dressed Crab

Think of teatime and what comes to mind – delicate little sandwiches with wafer-thin slices of cucumber? Homemade scones with jam and clotted cream? Fairy cakes (known as cupcakes outside the UK) or various sweet treats? These are all wonderful but there is certainly a place for something savoury to start the afternoon in style. Before you reach for the sweet confections, consider the savoury fare, and what could be a more impressive beginning to a tea party than dressed crab? This recipe combines crab with parsley, egg, breadcrumbs, mustard, and mayonnaise, to showcase the amazing crab taste.

You can use any kind of cooked fresh crab to make this recipe, although Cromer crabs (from Norfolk in England) are especially good because they are small, sweet, and offer plenty of light to dark meat ratio. Else choose a similar, small crab with lots of light meat. Yes, you can buy ready-dressed crab, but making your own offers that spectacular fresh flavour which cannot be replicated in a shop-bought dressed crab.

Head to your nearest fishmonger and ask him to pull the cooked crab apart a bit so you can see it is full of meat. Then twist off the claws and legs. With your thumbs resting against the shell by the tail, pull the shell off the body. Discard the long white parts from the body (known somewhat disturbingly as ‘dead man’s fingers’) and the greyish-white stomach sac behind the mouth. Then you are left with all the yummy bits! This dish is sure to begin your tea party in style. This recipe only serves 2 so double, triple or quadruple as you see fit. Continue reading

Smoked Salmon and Quail Egg Canapes

Canapes are often quick and easy to make, and these are certainly a breeze to put together. We are using baguette bread and topping it with mayonnaise (or aioli which is garlic mayonnaise), smoked salmon, red onion, and fresh dill. You can also add some sundried tomatoes if you want, and perhaps capers too. This is good finger food so keep the pieces small and these can be eaten with the hands. The delicate smoked salmon, little quail eggs and aromatic dill weed go together perfectly while the optional sundried tomatoes add a touch of sweetness and the red onion lends a piquant bite to the canapes, making them well-balanced.

Serve these with a glass of wine as soon as your visitors arrive. They will keep everyone happy until the main meal is served. Our recipes makes 12 servings, so count on one per person if you are serving a full meal shortly afterwards or two if you are only offering canapes and drinks. These are best served as soon as they are made but they will keep in the fridge for an hour if you make them ahead. Use toothpicks to secure them if necessary.

We like to use lightly toasted baguette bread (French stick) for the base, although you could consider melba toast triangles or ciabatta if you prefer. The quail eggs can be swapped for sliced boiled hen eggs but those are less impressive because they are larger and more familiar. The rest of the ingredients are especially chosen to showcase the main ingredients. These look elegant and taste delicious. Continue reading

Toad in the Hole Starter Recipe

This is about as British as you can get, when it comes to starter recipes! Toad in the hole is a dish where sausages are cooked in a Yorkshire pudding batter. We have taken inspiration from that recipe to create these mini toad in the holes. You will need 4 Yorkshire pudding cups to make it, or else just use 4 large muffin cups or similar. The Yorkshire pudding batter is divided between the cups, and then you can add cooked sausages and perhaps some green peas too. Bake them until they are golden brown and crispy, then serve with lashings of brown gravy. They look nice garnished with herb sprigs too.

If you want to serve this as a main dish rather than an appetizer, you might like to add some cooked onion and carrots to the Yorkshire pudding cups, and consider adding sliced beef instead of cocktail sausages. Then serve each person a couple of these with hot, creamy mashed potato. You can get really creative with Yorkshire puddings actually; some people in the UK like to eat them with honey drizzled over them as a snack!

You can use cocktail sausages, frankfurters (chop them if they are the bigger ones) or cooked sausages (any kind) to make this dish, or you could use leftover roasted meat in gravy (or ‘au jus’) or anything else. You could even make vegetarian ones by adding extra veggies and leaving out the sausages. Yorkshire pudding batter is really versatile. You can make it any shape or size, and take your pick from various fillings.

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi, my name is Christine and I would like to welcome you to TeaTime Recipes. Tea has always been a favourite of mine and I adore the tradition of serving this wonderful beverage with all kinds of little snacks both sweet and savoury. Read More