Hampshire is famous for it's chalk streams & watercress beds. For years I've been buying watercress from West Lea Farm Shop where the watercress grows literally next to the shop. It's now changed hands & is being run by a lovely lady called Rachel whom I had the pleasure of meeting this week whilst visiting to buy watercress to make these recipes. Not only is watercress delicious it's also highly nutritious and contains more calcium than milk! The soup & scones are really simple to make so I've included images of the beautiful watercress beds instead of the making process.
4 bunches watercress (approx 300 g) washed & chopped
2 large onions, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 ltr chicken or vegetable stock (ideally fresh but stock cubes are fine)
150 ml double cream
Pinch Cayenne pepper
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Add the olive oil to a large saucepan and when hot add the chopped onions & cook over a medium heat until soft. Add the watercress, stock & Cayenne & cook gently for 12-15 minutes until, stirring occasionally (at this point the soup looks rather unappealing but fear not, it will get better!). Add the cream, & salt & pepper to taste. Blitz in a blender until all the bits of leaf disappear & the soup is a beautiful green. Keep warm until needed or chill & serve later. If you make a bigger batch the soup freezes really well.
Cheese & Watercress Scones
These scones are super quick to make & are the perfect accompanyment to the soup. Knock up a batch while the soup is cooking & you have a perfect supper in no time at all.
400 g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
250 g grated Cheddar cheese
50 g watercress, washed & chopped
250 ml milk (sufficient to make a soft dough)
1 egg, beaten
100 g Parmesan, grated
Add all of the dry ingredients to a bowl & mix briefly. Add the milk and stir to form a wetish dough. Transfer the dough to a floured surface, knead briefly to form a soft dough. Flatten the dough to form a round approx 2.5 cm thick. Dredge a cutter of whatever size you prefer your scones (I like them small so used a 1 1/2 " cutter) & cut the scones. Brush each with the beaten egg & sprinkle with the grated Parmesan before placing on a baking sheet. Cook for 15-20 minutes at 180 C until the scones are risen and golden brown