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Digital Subscriptions > delicious. Magazine > Easy Entertaining > Starters


From the cook’s point of view, a great starter is one that looks and tastes like it was a labour of love to make, even if it was a cinch. This inspiring selection of on-the-money appetisers fits that bill nicely. Some are more involved than others, but all will repay you with table-wide plaudits.

Crispy garlic fried prawns with tamarind, chilli and peanuts


• Handful unsalted peanuts

• 12-14 (depending on size) large raw sustainable king prawns, shells on

•Groundnut oil for frying, plus 2 tbsp extra

• 3 garlic cloves, 2 very finely sliced, 1 crushed

• Thumb-size piece fresh ginger, grated

• 1 red bird’s eye chilli, finely sliced

• 2 heaped tbsp tamarind paste (from the world food aisle of supermarkets)

• 1 tbsp fish sauce (also called nam pla)

• ½-¾ tbsp palm sugar (we like Thai Taste), to taste

• Small bunch fresh coriander, leaves roughly chopped

• Zest and juice 1 lime • Good flatbreads to serve (optional)

1. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Tip the peanuts onto a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven, leave to cool, then chop quite finely.

2. Meanwhile, shell the prawns. Pull the heads off, then crack the bodies between the legs. Peel off the shell, leaving the tail intact. Butterfly them if you want to (see tip).

3. Heat 2cm groundnut oil in a small saucepan. Once shimmering, drop in the sliced garlic. It should start to sizzle immediately – try with one piece first to check the heat. Cook the garlic for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden, then quickly remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. The garlic will crisp as it cools and will have a slight bitterness to it. Don’t let it get too dark or it will taste very bitter.

4. Heat a frying pan or wok with the 2 tbsp oil over a medium heat. Once warm, add the crushed garlic, the ginger and chilli, then fry for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the tamarind, fish sauce and palm sugar, then cook for a minute or so. Add the prawns, toss them in the sauce, turn up the heat and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until pink all over and opaque in the centre.

5. When the prawns are cooked, add the coriander and most of the peanuts, then toss together. Let the coriander wilt for a few seconds off the heat, then serve the prawns, scattered with the extra peanuts, crispy garlic and lime zest, with the lime juice squeezed over. Flatbreads are great for mopping up the sauce.

PER SERVING 445kcals, 28.8g fat (5.6g saturated), 29.7g protein, 16.3g carbs (11.4g sugars), 2.3 salt, 0.2g fibre


To butterfly prawns, first shell them, run a sharp knife down the back, pull away and discard the dark thread. Do the same on the underside.

Pea soup with gorgonzola dolce and ham hock



• 1 litre fresh chicken stock

• 650g frozen peas • 50g gorgonzola dolce (see Know-how), plus extra to serve

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About delicious. Magazine

There’s something magical about preparing feasts for friends and family. But what to cook? This collection of brilliant mix and match dishes includes recipes for every occasion, all tested in the delicious. magazine kitchen. Whether you’re cooking a casual supper or three-course feast, these recipes will take the pressure off you and guarantee happy guests with clean plates.