Retro Prawn Cocktail

A short while ago we celebrated Mother’s Day in the UK. For some strange reason we celebrate on a completely different day from the rest of the world. Never mind, it’s still a great opportunity to get together, eat, drink and laugh.


We decided to go for a bit of a retro menu, a throwback to decades past, and enjoyed prawn cocktail, steak and chips and treacle tart with clotted cream and ice cream. Perfect! Because it was such a simple menu, and Big Man was on barbecue duty with the steaks, I had the luxury of time to play with ingredients and to make things a little different.

For the prawn cocktail I made a layered and pretty dish with a cucumber and ginger jelly,  avocado mousse and, of course, a spicy Marie Rose sauce. Sometimes it’s fun to have an eye on the future whilst nodding to the past.

Ingredients (to serve 6 in 6 glass tumblers or serving dishes)

  • 1 sachet of gelatine
  • 1 cucumber peeled
  • A teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
  • A few leaves of fresh mint
  • Salt & Pepper


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of cream cheese
  • Salt & Pepper
  • A small iceberg lettuce finely shredded
  • 2-3 cups of small cooked prawns (portion sizes are up to you!)
  • 18-24 large cooked prawns


  • 4 tablespoons of home made or good quality mayonnaise
  • 1 generous tablespoon of tomato ketchup
  • A few shakes each of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco
  • Salt and pepper
  • Smoked pimentón


Blend the cucumber, ginger and mint and drain, you only need the juice. Dissolve the gelatine according to the instructions and leave to cool slightly. Add to the cucumber juice, season lightly and add enough water to make up to 600ml. Divide the jelly between the 6 serving dishes and leave to set.


Blend the peeled avocados with the cream cheese and a little seasoning and either spoon or pipe over the cucumber jelly.

Add a layer of shredded lettuce. Mix the ingredients for the sauce together and adjust the seasoning to taste. Mix in the small prawns and divide between the serving dishes over the lettuce. Finally decorate with the larger prawns and if you’re feeling really adventurous, dust with a little smoked pimentón.


Pour yourself a glass of your favourite dry white wine and enjoy a little moment back in time.



36 thoughts on “Retro Prawn Cocktail

  1. Fantastic and you did them with a new twist!
    There’s a an excellent old school restaurant in St. John’s Wood that does classic 70s cuisine called Oslo Court. The set lunch is £36 and dinner £47. Set up in 1982, it’s a family run business and the proprietor is Spanish. They do hungry man portions too!

  2. I’m all for retro with a twist! Love the addition of the cucumber/ginger jelly and the creamy avocado mousse. All flavours that work beautifully with prawns… the dry white included! 🙂

  3. Ooo, still LOVE a good prawn cocktail and yours is absolutely gorgeous Tanya. The rest of the menus sounds equally as scrumptious.
    Have a beautiful day. I’m off to my Pete in Kenya for 3 weeks tomorrow. Can’t wait.
    🙂 Mandy xoxo

  4. Your Prawn Cocktail might be retro by origin, but it has a very modern look to me. Fantastic!
    I’m in charge of appies at an upcoming Easter luncheon and this recipe just jumped to the top of my list of possible candidates.

  5. This sounds divine! I am thinking of doing a retro trifle with some modern twists so will take inspiration from your jelly layer here. I have never made a marie rose sauce but as we have so much smoked paprika I should give it a go. BTW, I made your cake, with a few twists – it was delicious.

  6. You have updated The Managements favourite starter – it now looks very appealing. The overcooked steak he used to order as a main is still disgusting though!

    1. My mum also likes her meat cremated, but as it was Mother’s Day…we obliged! Doing it on the BBQ worked out well as we all had exactly what we wanted 😀

  7. Love this idea. I really like shrimp, but I find the usual sauce that comes with shrimp cocktail here in the States (ketchup mixed with horseradish) too sharp for my taste. This lovely green sauce, on the other hand…

  8. I just had to stop by when I saw this Shrimp Cocktail! What a marvelous idea and it has to be the fanciest shrimp cocktail I’ve ever seen! You were right to switch up the sauce! Fabulous!!


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