For the longest time I confused watercress and plain old cress. That the former was far bigger and differently shaped did not help me see my error: I just assumed it was fully grown, deformed cress. When, whilst eating a tendril of the former in amongst other mixed leaves, I was assaulted by an overwhelming pepperiness rather than a cooling cucumbery-ness, I still did not question the relation of the two: I just thought my watercress had been tainted by some foul tasting plant!
Last year (blush) I discovered the truth. Watercress and cress are two entirely different foods. And, now that I know that watercress shouldn’t taste like crispy water, I no longer think it’s digusting. Quite the opposite, in fact! So let’s talk about watercress…
Good news: It can be grown in the UK all year round, meaning I can enjoy a watercress sandwich in January safe in the knowledge it did not need to buy an airline ticket just to come visit me.
Bad news: It’s not easy to grow yourself unless you have a running stream in your garden. Which I don’t.
Good news: It’s chockablock full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (is the latter one of the former?).
Bad news: Lots of people aren’t keen on it. D, for example, spat the following soup out when he tasted it.
Knob of butter
1 tblspn olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
Glass of white wine
600 ml stock (vegetable or chicken)
Gently soften the onion, celery and garlic in the butter and oil.
Add the potatoes and wine and turn up the heat. Cook until the harsh alcohol vapours disappear.
Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft.
Take off the heat. Add the watercress and blend to create a smooth, intensely green soup.
Season and serve with a dollop of yogurt.
This next “recipe” was requested by a few of you earlier in the week. I haven’t written out Cotter’s basic hummus recipe as I imagine many of you will have your own or may find it simpler to buy the hummus.
250g hummus (shop bought or make your own)
Simply whizz the watercress in a blender with a little olive oil until it is a smooth puree.
Stir the watercress puree through the hummus.