Recipes - Starters and Salads

Here will find a wide range of starter-style recipes including soups, bruschetta, terrines and hot/cold plates, all submitted by local residents over the last few years.

If you have a useful addition to make to this blog, please submit your recipes by clicking below.


Apple Cider and Onion Soup

Serves six

  • 75g butter
  • 1kg onions peeled and sliced
  • 2 large leeks, washed and sliced
  • 2 eating apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 150ml cider
  • 1l chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 200g gruyere cheese, grated
  • 2 heaped tbsp chopped chives
  • Grated nutmeg to taste
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large pan, add the onions, leeks and apples and sweat until translucent (10-15 mins), stirring regularly so that things don’t brown or stick. Add the potatoes and stir.

Pour in the cider and boil for a couple of minutes to reduce. Add the stock, bay leaves, seasoning and thyme. Cover and cook for 25 mins until all the veggies are cooked through.

Remove the thyme and bay leaves. Blitz half the soup and mix it in with the lumpy other half which gives a rather clever texture.

Ladle into bowls and add the cheese, chives (optional in my case) and nutmeg to taste.

Asparagus, pea shoots and brown shrimp

Choose asparagus tips, or spears that feel firm and snappy

  • 1 large bunch asparagus spears (500g)
  • 70g washed pea shoots
  • 180g brown shrimp
  • 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5g sea salt
  • juice of half an unwaxed lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

If the asparagus is large, bend near base till it snaps and discard the bottom end. Peel into ribbons from bottom to tip and set aside under a damp cloth.

Mix the salt pepper and oil slowly incorporating the oil until the mixture thickens.

Stick the ribbons in a bowl and fold in the pea shoots doing your best to avoid tangling or it will all come out in a lump when served.

Add the shrimp and dressing and serve.

As easy as it is delicious.

Butternut Squash and Parmesan Soup

Serves 4

  • 100g butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1kg butternut squash, peeled, halved, deseeded and cut into bite-sized cubes. You’ll need about 500g of flesh.
  • 800ml chicken stock
  • 175g grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp truffle oil
  • 200g fresh cep mushrooms, sliced if large
  • 200g vacuum packed packet of fresh chestnuts
  • 10 chopped sage leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sweat the onion until soft in 50g of the butter, in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir occasionally so it dopesn’t stick. (10-15 mins)

Add garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, then stir in the squash. Cover with the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Now simmer for about 30 mins until the squash is soft.

Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and oil. Puree in a blendaer and pass through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan to keep warm.

Fry the mushrooms in the rest of the butter until caramelly brown and then add the chestnuts and cook for a couple more minutes. Stir in most of the sage leaving a bit for decorating. Combine in your serving bowls.

Note: truffle oil is pretty strong and smells of garlic, so you could leave it out. You could also add pancetta. Part-fry this and add the mushrooms too it, and the bacon fat takes the place of some of the butter.

Crab Profiteroles (La Cuisine de Jacqueline)

Makes 8-12

  • 4oz white crab meat (tinned if necessary)
  • 3oz butter
  • 7½oz water
  • 3¾oz strong white flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of cayenne

Cut the butter into cubes and put it with the water into a heavy pan. Heat gently until butter melts, then bring the liquid to a rapid boil. Add the flour straight into the water. Remove from the heat and beat energetically with a wooden spoon, adding the salt. Stand the mixture in a saucepan of cold water for 10 minutes.

Beat the eggs and stir in. When you have a smooth dough, mix in the crabmeat and cayenne.

If you are using a tart tin, put a spoonful of mixture into each, or dollops onto a baking sheet, then put into the oven on Gas Mark 7/425F/225C . Check after 20 minutes and remove when golden brown. Leave to cool, when it will be possible to put in filling, should you wish to.

Crab Soup (La Cuisine de Jacqueline)

You will need to keep and crush the shell to make a broth with fish stock cube or fresh supermarket stock. However, the soup may as readily be made with prawns or scallops.

  • 1 crab (you need 12oz - tinned is fine, but you will need brown and white meat, and you won’t have a shell)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 onion
  • 1oz butter
  • 1 tbsp Pernod
  • 5 fl oz dry white wine
  • 1 clove garlic unpeeled
  • Sprig parsley & thyme
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 pints light fish stock
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground rice
  • Cayenne

Dice the vegetables (except the tomatoes) and sweat them in butter until soft. Crush the crab shell and add the pieces to the vegetables in the pan. Turn up the heat, pour on the Pernod and set alight (the alternatives do not burn). Stir and pour on the wine. Let it bubble while you add the garlic parsley, thyme, roughly chopped tomatoes and fish stock. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes. Now strain the stock through muslin, pressing hard.

Put the brown crab meat and ground rice in the blender with a little stock and blend. Sieve this and stir it into the rest of the stock, simmering for a further five minutes. Flake your white crab meat with a fork and add it to the soup, heat and season with a little cayenne.

Curried Apple Soup for a late autumn lunch (La Cuisine de Jacqueline)

  • 1-2 tsp bought curry paste or 1tsp each coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, ground cloves, turmeric
  • 2lb apples cored and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1½ pts chicken stock
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Bay leaf
  • 8 fl oz plain yoghurt or if you prefer, double cream
  • Fresh coriander
  • Salt & pepper

Add all the ingredients to a pan except the yoghurt and fresh coriander. Bring o the boil and then simmer for 15 mins.. Cool and liquidise.

Add cream/yoghurt with cayenne pepper on top if needed (looks good!). Serve hot or cold sprinkled with chopped fresh coriander and accompanied by good flat bread.

Gin Soaked Salmon (from Kathy Slack at

  • 250g salmon fillet, boneless, skin on
  • 75g fine salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1/2 grapefruit, zested
  • Pinch, lavender
  • 8-10 juniper berries
  • a good slug of really good gin. Obviously I’ve used Cotswolds Dry Gin


Serves 4 as a little taster.

Grind the juniper and lavender in a pestle and mortar. Add the salt, sugar, grapefruit and lime and mix well. Pour in a slug of gin and stir. Do this bit by bit until you achieve a thick sauce – make sure it doesn’t get too thin or it won’t cling to the fish.

Pour the cure over the salmon and wrap tightly in cling film and foil. Leave in the fridge for anywhere between 1 and 3 days – the longer you leave it, the stronger the cure (and the more leathery the salmon, so don’t go beyond 3 days unless you’re feeling particularly Scandinavian).

When ready, remove the wrapping, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. I like to serve it simply sliced and unadorned. However, it is beautiful on blinis with creme fraiche.

Greenhouse Cucumber Soup

I prefer cucumber soup cold in the summer (with home-grown cucumbers) than hot in winter, though it may be enjoyed either way. We seem to produce a glut of cucumbers every year by growing them in the greenhouse and giving every plant an entire watering can full, morning and night.

If you use double cream in the recipe, this gives a silky texture which just oozes quality, but if you prefer a sharper taste, use natural yoghurt. These quantities serve four:

  • 1 cucumber, peeled or unpeeled
  • 1 small onion, 50-60g, peeled and quartered
  • 1 Tbsp fresh dill
  • 30g butter
  • 500g chicken stock
  • 200g potato, peeled, diced and rinsed under running water
  • 100ml double cream

Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and run a teaspoon down the middle to remove the seeds. Chop into small bits and briefly blitz with the onion and dill. Scrape all this into a saucepan with stock, butter and potato, cover and simmer for 10-12mins. Make sure the potato is cooked through.

Now puree all this for 30seconds to a minute, until smooth. Be warned that if the potato is not cooked it will go gluey.

Add cream or yoghurt and mix for a few seconds. Chill for a good while before serving.

Henrik’s Beetroots with garlic crême fraiche

An easy and excellent starter for anyone with a sufficient weakness for garlic.

For four persons:

  • Eight relatively small, recently unearthed beetroots
  • 200 cc of crême fraiche
  • Four cloves of garlic
  • Salt

Peel and chop the garlic. Add to the crême fraiche with a small amount of salt and leave to settle for ½ hour in refrigerator.

Boil the beetroots for 20 minutes. Rinse the root fast under cold water. The hot to cold shock will make the skin slip off very easily when rubbed.

Serve hot with the garlic crême fraiche. A minimal sprinkle of salt may enhance the flavour.

PS: You will easily be caught ”red-handed” during the preparation of this starter if you do not wear gloves while peeling the beetroots.

Jen’s Beetroot soup

  • I litre of beetroot juice
  • 4-5 medium beetroots
  • 1-2 medium onions and butter
  • Block of feta cheese
  • tsp garlic
  • seasoning
  • Creme fraiche
  • Chopped chives and/or spring onions

Boil beetroot until they can be peeled. cut into large cubes and add to the beetroot juice. simmer until beet tender and juice evaporated by a third.

In butter soften the chopped onion until translucent. Add garlic to soften.

Add onion mix and crumbled feta to the beetroot mixture. allow to cool.

Blend till smooth.In batches if necessary.

Season to taste( I use quite a bit of pepper).

Serve with dollop of crème fraiche and chopped chives.

Can be hot or cold.

Marinated Kipper with Onion

  • 1 pkt kipper fillets
  • small onion sliced thinly into rings
  • bay leaf
  • Marinade:
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 level teaspoons sugar
  • black pepper, squeeze of lemon

Slice kippers thinly and arrange in shallow dish over sliced onion and bay leaf. Combine other ingredients and marinate kipper and onion. Leave 24 hours, turning three or four times. Serve on bed of lettuce with buttered brown bread.

Scallops with black pudding, apple and celeriac

Restaurants have become really mean with their scallops. Never more than three these days, with a lettuce leaf, so if you love them, cook them (not overcook them) at home, as many as you like. You’ve only got to read these ingredients to know they go together. This again is from the Sunday Times, and serves four, taking 20 minutes to prepare and 25 to cook.

  • 1 large celeriac, peeled and cubed
  • 150g Bramley apples, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp double cream
  • 12 large scallops, with or without roes (if this is a starter!)
  • 150g good black pudding

Place the celeriac in cold salted water, boil for 15 mins. until soft, drain and allow to sit for five mins. Make the puree by putting the apple, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan with a couple of tbsp of water and cooking on a low heat. Stir occasionally. The apple will turn into a translucent puree after 10-15 mins.

Season and mash the apples, celeriac, butter and cream, which will give a rougher, more interesting texture than blitzing.

Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the scallops fortwo minutes each side, until coloured but not cooked through. Remove from the pan. Add the crumbled black pudding to the pan and fry over a high heat until it starts to crisp.

Serve the scallops on the celeriac and apple mash, scattered with the black pudding.


With a salad including, say, apple, pear and black grapes and some good chunky bread, this is a whole meal.

Seared Tuna

It used to be that food in London’s club land was at the best like school dinners and at the worst like nursery food. But this is no longer the case. These days many clubs have superb chefs and dishes tried there can be copied for home consumption. The following is a recently stolen starter using Tuna.

  • Take a thick tuna steak and cut into strips of roughly equal cross section. Heat a frying pan. Rub the tuna with oil and salt and pepper. Sear for a minute or so on each side. Then put to one side to cool.
  • Make a salad of finely shredded white cabbage, red pepper, and cooked small chopped french beans, some fresh coriander leaves and a couple of chopped mint leaves. Garnish with French dressing. Or any different salad you fancy but see tip (1) below and remember the coriander is essential.
  • To serve cut the tuna into thin slices i.e. so that the slice has a seared rim. Put a few slices on the plate with some soya sauce, some salad to the side and a wedge of lime which can be squeezed over the tuna slices.


  • If you can’t be bothered to make the salad, buy a prepared packet of salad but a crunchy one e.g. containing such things as small cauliflower florets – not a leaf only one.
  • If you want the tuna slices round (not at all necessary - makes no difference to the taste) roll then tightly in cling film and freeze for a while. It is rumoured that the tuna then maintains its circular shape.
  • Do not serve on a piece of slate – that’s too shi-shi – an ordinary circular plate is fine.

Smoked Haddock Chowder

Serves Four as a Main Course

If you go to Millets Farm Shop, you might know the White Hart at Fyfield. Each helps market the other, which is how I came across this recipe:

  • Vegetable Oil
  • Three rashers rindless streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 leeks, white part only, shredded and washed to remove the grit
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced into 1.5cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 litre good quality light chicken stock
  • 1 small tin sweetcorn
  • 2 fillets naturally smoked haddock
  • 4tbsp double cream
  • Snipped chives
  • Salt and pepper

Heat a little oil in a large pan and fry the bacon until crisp

Turn the heat down to medium, then add the butter leeks and red pepper. Cook gently until the leeks are soft.

Add the potatoes and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the flour. Cook the flour gently for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not allow the flour to brown.

Gradually add the chicken stock and sweetcorn and bring to the boil, the nsimmer gently for about ten minutes, until the potatoes are nearly tender.

Skin the smoked haddock fillets, remove the pin bones and cut into bite-sized chunks.

When the potatoes are just tender, add the smoked haddock and cream and increase the heat to nearly boiling. Simmer for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste.




Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until they begin to turn a golden colour and start to puff up and jump about in the pan. Grate the courgette into a pile on a plate and top with the toasted pumpkin seeds. Drizzle over the oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper.


Mary Berry is becoming extremely popular again, following her involvement in the Great British Bake Off. Inevitably, more of her branded products will move off the supermarket shelves, including her vinaigrettes. If you find these too thick and sweet, simply mix half-and-half with your own preferred mixture of oil and vinegar. Her product will go further and there will be much less sugar in what you use.

Moroccan carrot salad

With Christmas out of the way, and everyone sick and tired of coleslaw and feeling a great need for roughage, thoughts turn to salad once more. If you have leftover anything, carrots are a high probability. Cut 400g of carrots into matchsticks and boil until tender but so they still have a bite to them. Add a handful of sultanas to the water for a minute at the end and then drain. In a bowl, combine a splash of olive oil, the juice of an orange, a crushed garlic clove and a teaspoon of cumin, paprika, cinnamon and seasoning. Mix well.

Quicker than Toast Courgette salad

Ingredients (scale up as required)

  • A handful of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 courgette, washed and wiped dry
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar