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10 Holiday hors d’oeuvres to serve as Christmas starters

BY Kate Oczypok

17th Dec 2023 Recipes

3 min read

10 Holiday hors d’oeuvres to serve as Christmas starters
These simple holiday hors d'oeuvres are packed with succulent festive flavours, perfect for serving to your Christmas party guests
Celebrate the holiday season with these ten recipes featuring classic British appetisers and starter courses. The following recipes will add to the merriment of the Christmas season, and please even the pickiest of palates.

Homemade sausage rolls

Sausage roll in brown paper
A snack staple in the UK, sausage rolls, are a quick and easy appetiser to make while you sip cocktails before dinner.
This version from Seasons & Suppers are made with store-bought puff pastry. They also can be frozen before or after you bake them, so they can be reheated or baked the day of your Christmas party.

Angels and devils on horseback

Whimsical name aside, this timeless British Victorian food is often served as an hors d’oeuvres or occasionally after dinner snack if you ate early.
British Food: A History has a recipe for both angels and devils on horseback. Angels on horseback are oysters wrapped in bacon and grilled, while the devil version is a tea-soaked prune made the same way.
Oddly enough, long ago oysters were a food the poor would eat regularly, unlike today where they are considered a delicacy.

Cucumber canapes

Cucumber sandwiches
Finger sandwiches are a staple of teatime, and these cucumber finger sandwiches don’t disappoint. You can make them festive too, with red and green garnishes.
Best of all, if you have unexpected company pop over for the holiday season, these can be made in 30 minutes or less.

Haggis bon bons

While Scottish in origin, these tasty bits are often enjoyed before holiday meals. These fried and breaded balls are best served with a whiskey dipping sauce for a tasty and savoury treat.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, this recipe tastes just as good with non-meat varieties. 

Mackerel paté with pickled cucumber

This yummy paté with pickled cucumber makes around six servings and takes less than 45 minutes to make (however, the longer the pickle flavour sits in the vinegar mix, the more its taste intensifies).
It’s great served on crispy sourdough slices with a strong cocktail like a gin and tonic.

Yorkshire pudding

A cross between a soufflé and a cheese puff, this utter indulgence is the perfect holiday treat.
While it is traditionally made in a pan, the pudding can also be made in a muffin tin or popover pan. Doing smaller versions like this can allow for guests to enjoy a heavier appetiser during a holiday cocktail party.

English prawn cocktail

Prawn cocktail hors d'oeuvre
Prawn cocktail are a lovely and easy holiday appetiser. Prawns can be easily poached and made with a mouthwatering mayonnaise-based sauce with hot sauce, cayenne pepper, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce.
Avocado is often thrown in too. Prawn cocktail is often served with buttered bread. 

Beef wellington bites

Woman slicing beef wellington on plate
Add a bit of retro flair to your holiday get-togethers with beef wellington bites.
Did you know beef wellington was created to celebrate the Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, and his victory at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815? He was given his title after defeating Napoleon Bonaparte and he later became Prime Minister.
Anyway, the beef pieces wrapped in puff pastry are flavourful and rich enough to keep your guests satisfied as they enjoy conversations around your Christmas tree. They’re delicious with a horseradish sauce, or perhaps an aioli. 

Potato leek soup

Serve bowls of this savory soup if you’re planning a holiday dinner party, or a smaller version if you’re sticking to cocktails only. It’s warm and comforting and adding in some bacon and chives adds that extra bit of flair that your guests will adore.

Pigs in blankets

While other parts of the world wrap this appetiser in a pastry, the UK wraps theirs in bacon. Small, quite thin chipolata sausages are wrapped in a slice of bacon and roasted in the oven.
In Scotland, this hors d’oeuvre is often called “kilted soldiers.”
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