This is a nice simple starter that can be made the day, or a few days, before and just brought out of the fridge an hour or so before to soften up.
Morecambe Bay on the Lancashire coast is the home of shrimping and many commercial potted shrimps you buy will come from there. Ask your fishmonger in advance to order you some peeled brown shrimps, or crevettes grises as they're called in France, because it will take you the best part of day to peel enough for a family of four. They will be expensive but well worth it. If you can't find these, peeled prawns from a tub will do the job, as they have a good flavour, too.
180g unsalted butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
A good pinch of ground mace or nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 small bay leaf
1tsp anchovy essence or paste
210g peeled brown shrimps
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 lemons, halved
Good quality brown bread
Melt the butter in a pan, add the lemon juice, mace, cayenne pepper, bay leaf and anchovy essence and simmer on a low heat for 2 minutes to infuse the spices. Remove from the heat and cool the mixture until it is just warm.
Add the shrimps and stir well, then season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Put the mixture into the fridge and stir every so often. When the butter starts to set, fill 4 ramekins with the mixture or spoon it onto plates.
If you are not serving them that day, return the ramekins to the fridge and cover with clingfilm. It's important not to serve the shrimps straight from the fridge as the butter will be too hard to spread nicely on to the toast, and won't taste as good.
Serve on or with hot buttered toast and lemon halves. Reuse content