Christmas lunch with punch

Stuff the turkey and predictable Christmas pud! How about a hot prawn cocktail to wow your guests this year - and that’s just for starters! OP sales chief and wannabe chef Chris Birkett shares his recipes for an alternative menu in the run-up to the Big Day, and it’s a cracker!

LAST UPDATED: 25 Nov, 2015 @ 17:27

chris-recipeARE you brave enough to turn your back on the traditional trappings of Christmas?

By that I mean kicking the turkey into touch, along with the cranberry sauce, the Brussels sprouts (who likes them anyway?) and, of course, the peas. After all, no one said it was the season of peas and goodwill …

In fact, turkey isn’t always the star of Christmas dinner on the cosmopolitan Costa del Sol, where the Scandinavians often prefer duck while the Spanish favour seafood.

So in the first of a three-part series I’ll be bringing you my favourite recipes for a three-course festive feast with a difference, featuring fresh local ingredients – all tried and tested in my own kitchen and officially approved by friends and relations, por supuesto!

If that sounds appealing, first peel your prawns. King prawns of course, in deference to the magi (we can’t forget Christmas entirely). They star in a seasonal starter that’s hot, spicy and not your average prawn cocktail … but I guarantee you won’t have to fish for compliments!

Hot ‘n’ spicy prawn cocktail


• 500g raw king prawns, peeled
• 2 Romaine lettuces, separate leaves
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• Spring onions, washed and chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
• Fresh basil
• 2 tbsp tomato puree
• Cherry tomatoes
• 1 tsp sweet paprika
• 1 measure of brandy or sherry
• Chilli flakes to taste
• Double cream
• Salt and pepper


Heat oil in a large frying pan on a medium setting and add paprika, chilli flakes and crushed garlic. Cook for one minute, then add spring onions and cook until softened.

Stir in the tomato puree, add the alcohol and a small amount of water to create a sauce.

Drop in the king prawns and cook until pink, add salt and pepper to taste, then take off the heat to rest.

On a side plate place three lettuce leaves filled with four or five cherry tomatoes, halved.

Place a generous amount of prawns and sauce over each leaf and sprinkle with basil leaves. Serve with warm crusty bread and enjoy!

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