For people who care about their food

Hopkinson & Bareham’s Prawn Cocktail Recipe

Here’s how to cook Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham’s prawn cocktail recipe, featured in their book The Prawn Cocktail Years (you can read my review here).


  • The heart of one Little Gem lettuce, finely shredded
    [Sorry, no have – I’ll use a bit of French frisée instead]
  • One spring onion, white part only, very finely sliced
    [Oops, no have either – a finely chopped bit of red onion will do instead]
  • 1 heaped tbsp cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and finely diced
    [Life’s too short to de-seed a cucumber – mine goes in seeds an’ all.]
  • 4-5 tbsp of home-made mayonnaise
    [Or you can take it out of a jar. Home-made is nice but I wanna get fed tonight, not tomorrow…]
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
    [Have, no problem – doesn’t every serious cook have Heinz tomato ketchup in their fridge?]
  • 2-3 shakes of Tabasco
    [No have, again, but Wolf sauce is sort of the same.]
  • 1 tsp cognac
    [Have. Hah hah. Gotta have brandy in the kitchen. Seriously, it does make a heck of a difference to some dishes, including the pink gloop you make for a prawn cocktail. If you don’t have any then go and buy some now.]
  • Tiny squeeze of lemon juice
    [Ho hum, no have again. Can’t get lemons very easily. I’ll use lime instead.]
  • 200g cooked, whole, shell-on prawns, peeled (reserve two, unpeeled, for garnish)
    [Now you tell me! Cooked prawns? Mine are uncooked and I took the shells off yesterday. No problem, I’ll get another cookbook out… Actually, that’s a lie. I know how to cook prawns 🙂 ]
  • Paprika
    [Whoop de doo, I have that.]

So here’s me making this recipe with hardly any of the specified ingredients. You can do the same! Recipes are ideas, inspiration! Only an idiot blindly follows instructions and they probably don’t work anyway. Chefs never measure anything. Well, not as far as I know.


1. Use the lettuce to make a “bed” in a sundae glass or similar. [No have. If you’re in the same boat, make the bed on a small plate instead – we’ve got some lovely little scallop shell-shaped ones which are just the job.] Sprinkle over the onion and cucumber, then put the prawns on top.

2. Mix the mayonnaise, TK, Tabasco, cognac and lemon/lime juice together to make the pink gloop, then spoon it over the prawns. Sprinkle over some paprika as a finishing touch.



Easy, eh?

Please also see my photo essay of how to cook a prawn cocktail.

The Prawn Cocktail Years

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

Simon Hopkinson & Lindsey Bareham
Hardback, 256 pages
1997, Macmillan
ISBN 0 333 68460 5
RRP: £20.00

You can read my review of The Prawn Cocktail Years here.

2 Responses to “Hopkinson & Bareham’s Prawn Cocktail Recipe”

  1. Mike the curry fiend

    “Life’s too short to de-seed a cucumber – mine goes in seeds an’ all”

    I’m definitely with you on that. I’ve never been able to see the point in deseeding a cucumber. It’s hardly like you actually notice them when you’re eating them.

  2. Not Delia

    Oops! That’s an ancient posting from when I first started Not Delia. I think I have a better idea of how to do things now – blogging, I mean, not cooking.

    Sure, people learn 5 star stuff at catering college and by being slaves in fancy restaurants, but it can all get a bit silly sometimes.

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